Today in 1881, President Garfield died as the result of being shot at close range by an assassin. It took him nearly three months to die.
On July 2, after months of increasing agitation and several aborted attempts to shoot the President with a pearl-handled pistol, Charles Guiteau finally mortally wounded the President as he waited for a train in a mostly deserted waiting room. Guiteau was taken into custody as he left the station.
The bullet hit Garfield in his right side just above his waist, four inches from his spine. Although he could still move, he complained of pain in his legs and feet. After having his wound prodded by three doctors in less than an hour, Garfield was taken back to the White House in an ambulance. A group of policeman accompanied the carriage and lifted the wheels when they came to potholes in the room.
But Garfield’s ordeal was only just beginning. He was seen by Dr. D. W. Bliss, who also retained two surgeons who had been at Lincoln’s death, Surgeon General J. K. Barnes and Dr. Woodward, neither of whom had spent any recent time as physicians. Woodward even admitted at an early meeting that he knew nothing about gunshot wounds.
The most pressing problem was the location of the bullet, which the doctors believed had struck the liver and … [ Read all ]
It had not yet been 24 hours since President Ronald Reagan was wounded in an assassination attempt—wounds far more serious than the public was told at the time.
But on the morning of March 31, 1981, the three men he relied on most in these early days of his administration came to see him in his room at George Washington University Hospital, about six blocks from the White House.
Chief of Staff James A. Baker, Deputy Chief Michael Deaver, and Counselor Edwin Meese brought with them some urgent business—a piece of legislation that had to be signed. And it had to be signed that day.
It had passed both houses of Congress and, like all bills sent from Congress to the President, bore the signatures of the Speaker of the House, then Democrat Thomas P. O’Neill, Jr., and the President Pro Tempore of the Senate, then Republican Strom Thurmond.
The legislation would block an increase in dairy price supports that, without Reagan’s signature on this legislation, would go into effect the next day, April 1, 1981, boosting price supports and costing the government hundreds of millions of dollars. Reagan’s budget makers argued that the mounting costs of the dairy program could run into the billions of dollars.
The President needed to sign this bill that day. He did, right on his breakfast tray. His clear, … [ Read all ]
Posted by Jim on March 31, 2011, under - Presidents, Uncategorized.
Tags: assassination, Edwin Meese, George Washington University Hospital, James Baker, March 1981, Michael Deaver, Ronald Reagan, Strom Thurmond, Thomas P. O’Neill Jr., Tip O'Neill
When Ronald Reagan survived the attempt on his life on March 30, 1981, and went on to serve two full four-year terms, he broke what some people call “the year-ending-in-zero” curse.
It goes like this: Every President elected in a year ending in zero since 1840 had died in office.
William Henry Harrison, elected in 1840, died after one month in office of pneumonia; he also was our shortest serving President. On his inauguration day, then on March 4, he gave a two-hour speech without hat or topcoat, then rode through the streets of Washington. He was succeeded by John Tyler. (Remember Tippecanoe and Tyler too!)
Abraham Lincoln, elected in 1860, was assassinated a month into his second term, on April 12, 1865, by John Wilkes Booth. He was succeeded by Andrew Johnson.
James A. Garfield, elected in 1880, was assassinated in 1881 after only 199 days in office, succeeded by Chester A. Arthur. William McKinley, elected in 1896 and reelected in 1900, was mortally wounded in September 1901 and died eight days later, succeeded by Theodore Roosevelt.
Warren G. Harding, elected in 1920, died in 1923 of a heart attack and was succeeded by Calvin Coolidge. Franklin D. Roosevelt, elected to his third term in 1940, died early in his fourth term in April 1945 and was succeeded by Harry S. Truman.
And John … [ Read all ]
Posted by Jim on March 30, 2011, under - Presidents, Myth or History.
Tags: abraham lincoln, andrew johnson, assassination, Calvin Coolidge, Chester A. Arthur, death, Franklin D. Roosevelt, George W. Bush, Harry S. Truman, James A. Garfield, John F. Kennedy, John Tyler, John Wilkes Booth, Lyndon B. Johnson, millard fillmore, Presidents, Ronald Reagan, Theodore Roosevelt, Warren G. Harding, William Henry Harrison, William McKinley, year-ending-in-zero curse, Zachary Taylor