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From Canal Boy to President by Horatio Alger

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From Canal Boy to President by Horatio Alger

The Boyhood and Manhood of James A. Garfield


ILLUSTRATED -   The life of James A. Garfield is recounted in this fictionalized biography from his youth in upstate New York to his brief presidency and tragic assassination. Aka: A Boy's Life of Garfield.  From Canal Boy to President is a biography of America’s twentieth president, James Garfield. At an early age, James Garfield is eager to pursue a life at sea. However, he is thwarted in his attempts by his mother who persuades him to travel to Cleveland and obtain employment. When this proves to be an unsuccessful endeavor, Garfield seeks out his uncle, a sea captain. Garfield stops just short of heading to sea and is hired as a canal boy. Unfortunately, he becomes ill with fever and ague. Concerned for her son’s health, his mother decides to send Garfield to school. Here beings the exciting path to his Presidential position, which took time, friends, and intelligence.

paperback book

As the last of the log cabin Presidents, James A. Garfield attacked political corruption and won back for the Presidency a measure of prestige it had lost during the Reconstruction period.

He was born in Cuyahoga County, Ohio, in 1831. Fatherless at two, he later drove canal boat teams, somehow earning enough money for an education. He was graduated from Williams College in Massachusetts in 1856, and he returned to the Western Reserve Eclectic Institute (later Hiram College) in Ohio as a classics professor. Within a year he was made its president.

Garfield was elected to the Ohio Senate in 1859 as a Republican. During the secession crisis, he advocated coercing the seceding states back into the Union.

In 1862, when Union military victories had been few, he successfully led a brigade at Middle Creek, Kentucky, against Confederate troops. At 31, Garfield became a brigadier general, two years later a major general of volunteers.

Meanwhile, in 1862, Ohioans elected him to Congress. President Lincoln persuaded him to resign his commission: It was easier to find major generals than to obtain effective Republicans for Congress. Garfield repeatedly won re-election for 18 years, and became the leading Republican in the House.

At the 1880 Republican Convention, Garfield failed to win the Presidential nomination for his friend John Sherman. Finally, on the 36th ballot, Garfield himself became the "dark horse" nominee.

By a margin of only 10,000 popular votes, Garfield defeated the Democratic nominee, Gen. Winfield Scott Hancock.


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