Gilded Age Timeline


Presidential Election

March 4, 1881

James A. Garfield won the Presidential election becoming The United States 20th President.

Garfield picks Cabinet Members

March 5, 1881

James G. Blaine: Secretary of State, Robert Lincoln: Secretary of War, William Windom: Secretary of Treasury

Garfield Removes

March 23, 1881

Garfield removes E. A. Meritt from the collectorship of the New York Customhouse after Conkling feels assured that the President would not make any such changes. Garfield then sends W. H. Robertson's name to the Senate as his replacement, intensifying the struggle between Garfield and Conkling.

Democratic Filibuster

May 4, 1881

A Democratic filibuster, which ties up the Senate beginning March 23, ends when Garfield agrees to remove certain appointments. The end of the filibuster allows Garfield to push for Robertson's confirmation to the New York Custom House.


May 16, 1881

New York senators Roscoe Conkling and Tom Platt resign to protest Garfield's removal of New York nominees to secure Robertson's confirmation.

Clara Barton

May 21, 1881

Clara Barton organizes the American Association of the Red Cross, modeled after the International Red Cross, in Washington, D.C. Barton serves as the organization's volunteer president until 1904.

Charles J. Guiteau

July 2, 1881

Charles Guiteau, a mentally unstable Stalwart attorney who had been denied a consular post, shoots Garfield in a Washington railroad station. "I am a Stalwart," Guiteau proclaims. "Arthur is now President of the United States."

Death of Garfield

September 19, 1881 - June 30, 1882

James Garfield dies from blood poisoning and complications after surgeons search endlessly to find the lost bullet in his back, lodged in his pancreas. Vice President Chester A. Arthur becomes the twenty-first President of the United States. The assassin, Guiteau was hanged on June 30th, 1882