Cabinet

615 – Rutherford B Hayes on Extreme Partisanship in the Wake of President Garfield’s Assassination

“One of lessons [of the assassination of James A Garfield], perhaps its most important lesson, is the folly, the wickedness, and the danger of the extreme and bitter partisanship which so largely prevails in our country. This partisan bitterness is greatly aggravated by that system of appointments and removals which deals with public offices as rewards for services rendered to political parties or to party leaders. Hence crowds of importunate place-hunters of whose dregs [Charles J] Guiteau[, Garfield’s assassin] is the type. The required reform will be accomplished whenever the people imperatively demand it, not only of their Executive, but also of their Legislative Officers. With it, the class to which the assassin belongs will lose their occupation, and the temptation to try “to administer government by assassination” will be taken away.”

–Rutherford B Hayes, 19th President of the United States of America
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