James Abram Garfield was the 20th President of the United States, serving from March 4, 1881, until his assassination later that year. Garfield had served nine terms in the House of Representatives, and had been elected to the Senate before his candidacy for the White House, though he declined the Senate seat once he was elected president. He is the only sitting House member to be elected president.
Garfield was raised by his widowed mother in humble circumstances on an Ohio farm. He worked at various jobs, including on a canal boat, in his youth. Beginning at age 17, he attended several Ohio schools, then studied at Williams College in Williamstown, Massachusetts, graduating in 1856. A year later, Garfield entered politics as a Republican. He married Lucretia Rudolph in 1858, and served as a member of the Ohio State Senate. Garfield opposed Confederate secession, served as a major general in the Union Army during the American Civil War, and fought in the battles of Middle Creek, Shiloh, and Chickamauga. He was first elected to Congress in 1862 to represent Ohio's 19th District.