Wednesday, July 6, 2011

Teacher, Soldier, President: The Life of James Garfield

James Abram Garfield was born in a log cabin in Orange Township, Ohio on November 19, 1831.  He has Welsh ancestor, When James was 17 months old his father fight the fire that burn their house after the fire his father became sick and his father, Abram Garfield, died. He was raised with the efforts of his mother Eliza Ballou, uncle, and sisters.  While in Orange Township, Garfield attended Orange City Schools.  After that he went to work in canal boat. Then he went to study at the Western Reserve Eclectic Institute in Hiram, Ohio.  Then he went to study at Williams College located in Williamstown, Massachusetts. There he is a famous speaker and he love debating.  He was an outstanding well rounded student who graduated in 1856 and he also get to make the speech on graduation day. 
James Garfield spent a short time preaching at Franklin Circle Christian Church, and then he want to taught at Eclectic Institute.  He taught classical languages and was made the principal from 1857 until 1860.  He married Lucretia Rudolph in 1858, and they had seven children. His children name is Eliza Arabella Garfield, Harry Augustus Garfield, James Rudolph Garfield, Mary Garfield, Irvin M. Garfield, Abram Garfield, and Edward Garfield.  Garfield decided not to remain in academic life and ended up studying law.
During the Civil War Garfield enlisted in the Union Army and was appointed to command the 42nd Ohio Volunteer Infantry. Garfield led a successful battle at Jenny's Creek in 1862. Because of his victory he was promoted to Brigadier General and served under Gen. Buell at the Battle of Shiloh and latter the Siege of Corinth. Poor health caused him to return to inactive status until the spring of 1863, when he returned to battlefield action as Chief of Staff for General Williams S. Rosecrans commander of the Army of the Cumberland. During his return to the battlefield he ran for the Congress, on the urging of then President Lincoln. In 1863, while still actively fighting in the field he was elected to the US House of Representatives from Ohio. After 2 more battles he returned to Ohio and began his political career.
Garfield served in the United States House of Representatives.  He remained a Republican throughout his career. In January 1880, Garfield was elected to the U.S. Senate. And in May of that year he won the Republican nomination for president at the Chicago convention, and he defeated his Democratic opponent in the fall of that year.
Garfield was inaugurated as President of the United States on March 4, 1881. He led a strong assault on graft and exposed corruption along several mail routes. Garfield's Secretary of State also planned the first pan-American conference. On July 2, 1881, Garfield was shot by Charles J. Guiteau in a Washington railroad station.  One of the bullets hit the president's arm, but the other bullet was lodged into his spine and was unable to be found.  A metal detector was devised by Alexander Graham Bell to find the bullet, but it malfunctioned due to the metal bed Garfield was lying on.  Garfield became more ill over the next few weeks because of infection, and his heart became weakened.  He was bedridden and had extreme pains and fevers.  He was moved to the Jersey shore on September 6 with the hope that it would help him to aid his recovery. 
Garfield died on September 19, 1881. He died two months before his fifty birthdays and there had been eighty days between his shooting and his death. Guiteau was sentenced to death and was executed by being hung on June 30, 1882 in Washington, D.C. Garfield's assassination leads to the passage of the Pendleton Civil Service Reform Act on January 16, 1883.
There are many things which made James A. Garfield a very good leader. There are also many leadership principles that we can learn from James leadership. Garfield willing to stand up for the right things and he is not afraid to go against those who have power. Garfield's brief presidency proved effective and popular. He is a good leader because even after he died his work still continue and prosper. Also, his death motivates the reform of government. Many people think that if he stayed in office more he would help make a better country. Garfield is good leader he is a peaceful leader he also likes to make peace. For instance, when he was working in the canal and his canal boat crews want to fight with the crews of other canal boat Garfield refused to fight. Consequently his crews don’t like him and they think he is a coward but he doesn’t care. He also likes to make friend and make peace for his state. As a senator of Ohio, which during that time is a northern state, James invited the southern state such as Kentucky and Tennessee to come to meeting with the Ohio and he want them to be friend and make peace and prevent the Southern from succeeding. Also, he devote him self to work for the public when he was the Colonel he stay up and study hard to plan and fight he also be a good leader by making friend with his soldier. James cares about his soldier when he was in Kentucky and the soldier camp was flooded he went to look if any of his soldier need help. In his political career James is effective leader because he believed that leader must not ask to be leader but leader must be ask to lead. Thus, James never nominate himself or ask to be leader most of the time he was ask to run for the republican party. And this idea made him became one of the effective leaders. James A. Garfield also has another good leadership quality that is learn from mistake that he made, he loose his running to be general and that teach him and he learn not to make mistake again. This example taught us to learn from mistake that we made. Last, James learns to sympathize with the different opinion, even James stand against slavery but he did not support the idea of Civil War and he also doesn’t hate the southerner. We must learn from him and learn to look at our belief from different perspective. And we will be a good leader as James A. Garfield had been.
            There are many good example and mistakes to learn from the life of James A. Garfield. Many things in James Garfield life also influence me and other people. James A Garfield was born in a log cabin and he was not born a noble but he work hard and he work his way up to be the president of the United States; his life influence me and many people to work hard and his life also inspire us to work our way up in life and not to look at what we are. The life of James A. Garfield influenced me to work hard and it reminded me that if I work hard I could become successful like James Garfield. His life also influenced me to study hard. James Garfield loves to read and he loves to learn many things, he stayed up late studying many nights. This influenced me to study hard and it influenced me to sacrifice my time in studying.  His life also showed me that if I study hard I could achieve my goal. James Garfield stands up against powerful people and he did not scare of them. By looking at his life it influenced me to learn to stand up for what is right and it help me not to fear the crowd because I know that even if I was the only person who is doing the right thing and everyone else is doing the wrong thing, I still know that God is with me. The life and example of James A. Garfield has influenced me so much and I had learned many things from his life. I can learn to be a good leader by looking at his life.

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