A Republican party political leader of the nineteenth century, who served as president in 1881. After only a few months in office, he was assassinated by a man who had been angered by not having received a public job under the spoils system. Garfield's assassination gave momentum to the drive to abandon the spoils system.
The New Dictionary of Cultural Literacy, Third Edition Copyright © 2005 by Houghton Mifflin Harcourt Publishing Company. Published by Houghton Mifflin Harcourt Publishing Company. All rights reserved.