James A. Garfield
When James A. Garfield was attacked on July 2, 1881, the nation was shocked, enraged, and captivated. President for just four months, Garfield was shot by Charles Guiteau as he was about to board a train at the Baltimore & Potomac Railroad Station in Washington, D.C. Severely wounded, Garfield lingered until September 19.
An unsuccessful lawyer, evangelist, and insurance salesman, Guiteau believed Garfield owed him a patronage position in the diplomatic corps, and that the president's political decisions threatened to destroy the Republican Party. Guiteau was convicted of murder and hanged on June 30, 1882. In 1883 Congress passed the Pendleton Act; it sought to reform civil service and limit the number of patronage seekers like Charles Guiteau.