James Garfield (1831-81) was sworn in as the 20th U.S. president in March 1881 and died in September of that same year from an assassin’s bullet, making his tenure in office the second-shortest in U.S. presidential history, after William Henry Harrison (1773-1841). Born in an Ohio log cabin, Garfield was a self-made man who became a school president in his mid-20s. During the U.S. Civil War (1861-65), he fought for the Union and rose to the rank of major general. Garfield, a Republican, went on to represent his home state in the U.S. House of Representatives, where he served from 1863 to 1881. In 1880, a divided Republican Party chose Garfield as its dark horse presidential nominee. After winning the general election, his brief time in office was marked by political wrangling. In July 1881, Garfield was shot by a disgruntled constituent and died less than three months later.