Tuesday, March 29, 2005

Who Shot Garfield?

Who Shot Garfield? Biography of Garfield's assassin, Charles Guiteau, from History House.

From the site:

Shortly after his inauguration in 1881, President James A. Garfield was assassinated by one mildly loopy Charles Julius Guiteau. Guiteau joins the splendiferous ranks of political assassins in this country with the distinction of not only being mildly deranged but exceedingly depraved to boot. Guiteau's father beat his son recklessly and accused him of wanting "things beyond your earnings," and "having been guilty of things that were criminal according to human as well as divine laws."

As one might expect, Charles Guiteau left home at the age of 16 in 1857. Two years later, in a brief shining moment, he inherited $1,000 from his grandfather. Eager to make something of himself, he ventured to the newly-founded University of Michigan at Ann Arbor, where he promptly flunked the entrance exams. Hoping to eventually attend the University, he took remedial classes while his father sent him Oneida Community literature.

The Oneida Community was among the flurry of religious revivals in the late 1800s. Its founder, John Humphrey Noyes, was a personal friend of Guiteau's father, and firmly believed that Christ's Second Coming occurred in A.D. 70. Noyes also felt that monogamy was against Church doctrine, and he spent much of his time playing sexual musical chairs with the followers.

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