Throughout the story, readers will see the lives of those who impacted Garfield life, and how Garfield impacted America, even after death. President James Garfield did not have much as a young boy, but with his mothers insistence, school was the most important thing for him to focus on. Garfield was very educated but instead of choosing academics after college, he chose politics and war. After involvement in a two wars while also dabbling in politics, Garfield was nominated by the Republican Party to run for President of the Unites States.
At first Garfield did not want to be in the running, but since that is what America voted for he fought for the presidency, and worn, defeating Democrat Winfield Hancock. Throughout his presidency Garfield was very trusting and kind. So kind he never thought that one of his “office seekers” would ever try to kill him. His name is Charles Gateau, he spent most of his days in and out of the White House waiting room sending Garfield notes. Gateau believed he was going to make it someday big in politics. He also believed he was the reason Garfield was president. Gateau’s life was based on politics, especially President Garfield.
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After being up at the White House so many times Gateau started to hear many issues going on; with his knowledge he spoke to Secretary Blaine about the Paris consulship. Blaine had enough, he told Gateau to never to speak to him again and that pushed Gateau over the edge. Right away he sent President Garfield a warning letter about firing Blaine, but Garfield had no reason to. Republican Senator Conklin and Garfield never really got along, especially on many political issues, and once the senator announced his resignation; Gateau believed that God wanted him to kill President Garfield.
He believed the President was a threat to the Republican Party and therefore had to die. After nearly a month of stalking the president and carrying around a gun, nearly pulling the trigger multiple mimes, Gateau finally attacked. Two shots rang out, one narrowly missing, the other hitting the President in the back. Fortunately the gunshot did not kill the well liked Garfield. However, he did die as a result of this assassination attempt. There are two men that were mostly responsible for the death of President Garfield. The two men, Dry. D. Bliss and Dry.
Smith Townsend although trained medical doctors, did not believe in the revolutionary idea of germs and or sanitize the equipment they used. Dry. Townsend was first on the scene and with the President on the dirty, germ invested floor of the train taxation, put his unsanctioned fingers into the Presidents wound in search for the bullet. Realizing the President needed to be moved from the crowded station, they moved him to an empty room. Once Dry. Bliss was introduced it seemed nothing mattered but getting the bullet out, which would later on lead to the President’s death.
Without anything to ease Garfield pain, Bliss stuck a long unsanctioned probe in the bullet hole. When Bliss could not locate the bullet we bent the unsanctioned probe and stuck it back in. He never found the bullet, but for sure started an infection. Bliss wanted to find the bullet so ad he even let upcoming inventor Alexander Bell try his invention, the induction balance, on the President. It was unsuccessful. Throughout the rest of his days Garfield dealt with severe pain and the sense he was dying. After a while of being ill Garfield decided he wanted to go see the sea and went to New Jersey.
Bliss thought it would do him good and released him to go. Once reaching Labeler, a couple days went by enjoying the view, when all of a sudden Garfield could not breathe. Bliss ran in, but could do nothing, he listened to President Garfield slowly fade away. The doctors were never rover guilty in the death of President Garfield. Gateau on the other hand was hanged for his attack and the eventual death of the President. As a result of the death of President Garfield, many political and medical reforms took place.
With the help of the new President, President Arthur passed a very important political reform, the Pendleton Civil service Reform Act was passed. This act ‘transformed government appointments from what the men like Conklin and Gateau believed them to be- gifts given at the pleasure of powerful officials to those who had been most useful to them- into positions on on the basis of merit” (289). This Reform Act was at first denied but after Garfield death the Act was accepted and quickly enforced. With President Garfield death a major medical reform came into play in America.
It was the use on sanitized utensils’ when working with the seriously ill. Americans finally started to realize how devastating germs can be to the human body. Alexander Bell trying to help the President also had a positive impact as he finally got his invention to start working, which helped a lot during the war. Garfield death was tragic and devastating to America, but resulted in many beneficial reforms. The “Destiny of the Republic: A Tale of Madness, Medicine, and the Murder of the President’, makes a deep impact on readers.