The Trial of Charles Guiteau: An Account

9 Pages Posted: 22 Oct 2007

See all articles by Douglas Linder

Douglas Linder

University of Missouri at Kansas City - School of Law

Date Written: 2007


A sense of having been wronged, together with a warped idea of political duty, brought Charles Julius Guiteau to the Baltimore and Potomac Station in Washington on July 2, 1881. On that same Saturday morning, President James Abram Garfield strode into the station to catch the 9:30 A.M. limited express, which was to take him to the commencement ceremonies of his alma mater, Williams College - and from there, Garfield planned to head off on a much-awaited vacation. He never made the 9:30. Within seconds of entering the station, Garfield was felled by two of Guiteau's bullets, the opening act in what be a drama that included rising and then falling hopes for the President's recovery, the most celebrated insanity trial of the century, and finally civil service reform that backers hoped might discourage future disappointed patronage seekers from taking revengeful actions.

Keywords: Famous Trials, Trial, Guiteau, Garfield, President Garfield, Insanity, Patronage

JEL Classification: K10, K40, K41, K42

Suggested Citation

Linder, Douglas, The Trial of Charles Guiteau: An Account (2007). Available at SSRN: or

Douglas Linder (Contact Author)

University of Missouri at Kansas City - School of Law ( email )

5100 Rockhill Road
Kansas City, MO 64110-2499
United States

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