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President James A. Garfield (Photo: Library of Congress)

President James A. Garfield died on September 19, 1881, and Chester A. Arthur was inaugurated the 21st president of the United States on September 20. On July 2, 1881, less than four months after his inauguration, President Garfield was shot by disgruntled office-seeker Charles Guiteau at a Washington, D.C., railway station. Garfield lived out the summer with a fractured spine and seemed to be gaining strength until he caught a chill and died on September 19. Guiteau was apprehended at the time of the shooting and, in spite of an insanity defense, was convicted of murder. On June 30, 1882, the assassin was hanged in a Washington jail.