Does the Next Century Find Us a Great Nation?

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An engraving of James A. Garfield's assassination, published in Frank Leslie's Illustrated Newspaper.

An engraving of James A. Garfield’s assassination, published in Frank Leslie’s Illustrated Newspaper.

American Minute from William J. Federer

One bullet grazed his elbow, but a second lodged in the back of President James Garfield, who, on JULY 2, 1881, was shot as he waited in a Washington, D.C., train station by Charles Guiteau, a member of a polygamist-type communist cult.

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Garfield had only been in office four months.

Though not wounded seriously, unsterile medical practices caused him to die two months later.

A distinguished Civil War major general, James Garfield had been a college president and a preacher for the Disciples of Christ.

Woodrow Wilcox

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In his Inaugural Address, March 4, 1881, President James Garfield stated:

“Let our people find a new meaning in the divine oracle which declares that ‘a little child shall lead them,’ for our own little children will soon control the destinies of the Republic.”

President Garfield continued:

“Our children will not be divided…concerning our controversies. They will surely bless their fathers and their fathers’ God that the Union was preserved, that slavery was overthrown, and that both races were made equal before the law.”

Earlier, as U.S. Congressman chairing the Committee on Appropriations, James Garfield stated July 4, 1876:

“If the next century does not find us a great nation…it will be because those who represent the…morality of the nation do not aid in controlling the political forces.”


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William J. Federer is a nationally recognized author, speaker, and president of Amerisearch, Inc, which is dedicated to researching our American heritage. The American Minute radio feature looks back at events in American history on the dates they occurred, is broadcast daily across the country and read by thousands on the internet.
William J. Federer
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