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A Fatal Decision

June 3, 2014

President Garfield was the head of a divided Republican party.  He owed his nomination to the Half-Breeds who stopped Grant from getting a third term, but the Stalwarts who had supported Grant at the Convention then worked hard for Garfield’s election in the fall campaign.  Garfield owed something to each faction, but each faction thought Garfield owed them everything.

The Stalwarts were not happy when Garfield appointed James G. Blaine to be Secretary of State.  Blaine was not happy when Garfield reappointed five Conkling men to offices they had held since the Grant administration.  When Garfield appointed William H. Robertson as the next Collector of Customs at the Port of New York, Grant wrote Garfield a letter of disapproval.  When Garfield didn’t back down, New York Senators Conkling and Platt resigned in protest.  When the New York legislature refused to reinstate them, the battle was over.

Meanwhile, a deluded man who had briefly met the President during an office-seeking interview made a fatal decision.

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