Murder of a President is the story of James Garfield, one of the most extraordinary men ever elected president, and his assassination by a deluded madman named Charles Guiteau. The story follows Garfield's unprecedented rise to power, his shooting only four months into his presidency, and its bizarre and heartbreaking aftermath. The two-hour film is based on Candice Millard's bestselling and Edgar Award-winning Destiny of the Republic.
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In 1880, the “surprise” presidential nomination of Ohioan James A. Garfield by the Republicans resulted in a campaign that, unlike any before it, regularly brought citizens and the candidate face-to-face. It was conducted on the front porch of Garfield's home.
Prior to 1880, it was considered undignified for anyone to actively seek the presidency. Nominees did not travel from state to state or city to city to tell voters that they had the solutions for the country's problems. Expected to emulate the example of George Washington, they were to remain above the fray. The sitting president, Rutherford B. Hayes, spoke to this tradition when he advised Garfield to "sit cross-legged and look wise until after the election."