RSS
Today in history: July 2
In 1881, President James Garfield was shot
An illustration of President James Garfield, 20th president of the United States, being assassinated at Baltimore Station, Ohio.
An illustration of President James Garfield, 20th president of the United States, being assassinated at Baltimore Station, Ohio. Hulton Archive/Getty Images

July 2, 1881: President James Garfield was shot as he prepared to board a train in Washington; he died 79 days later. Garfield, the second of four presidents to be assassinated, was succeeded by Vice President Chester Arthur. Assassin Charles Guiteau was hanged. Garfield had been in office just 79 days when he died.

Speaking of presidential assassinations, Robert Todd Lincoln, the president's son, was at the scene of three of them: his father's in 1865, Garfield's in 1881, and William McKinley's in 1901. Another coincidence: Robert Todd Lincoln's life was once saved by Edwin Booth, older brother of his father's assassin, John Wilkes Booth.

July 2, 1964: President Johnson signed what is arguably the most important piece of legislation of the 20th century — the Civil Rights Act. The Civil Rights Act outlawed racial and sexual discrimination, unequal voting requirements, and discrimination in the workplace and public facilities.

Quote of the Day
"If government is to serve any purpose it is to do for others what they are unable to do for themselves." —Lyndon Johnson

More from West Wing Reports...

* The Senate passed immigration reform, but it's still dysfunctional

* What will the House do on immigration?

* Coal's fight for relevancy

EDITORS' PICKS

THE WEEK'S AUDIOPHILE PODCASTS: LISTEN SMARTER

Subscribe to the Week