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James Garfield

Study Guide

Section Ten: The Presidency

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Study Questions

Why did Garfield push for civil service reform?

Garfield understood that as America grew it needed a larger and stronger government, which required the hiring of effective and competent people. He wanted to end the spoils system that rewarded loyal supporters with government jobs, even though they were often completely unqualified to do the work required by the position.

How did Garfield's assassination further civil service reform?

After Garfield's death at the hands of a disaffected and deranged office seeker, people realized that the patronage problem had gotten out of control. Popular opinion now held that the President of the United States had more important things to do than simply make appointments to lucrative government jobs.

How did Garfield's never-ending search for knowledge help advance his career?

Garfield was always learning. He studied law before entering politics and military strategy before entering the military. It made him successful and extremely effective at everything he did.

Essay Topics

What influence did Garfield's religion have on his political life?

Why did Garfield believe in "hard money?"

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