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Murder of a President | Clip

Lucretia Garfield

The death of their three-year-old daughter and Garfield's affair in New York threatened to tear Lucretia and James apart. But the future First Lady's steadfastness and unwavering moral compass showed Garfield how to be a better man.


Narrator: James and Lucretia were consumed with grief when their eldest daughter Trot died at the age of three. Their marriage all but ended soon afterward, when James had an affair with a woman in New York. He came home overwhelmed with guilt, and confessed his infidelity to Lucretia.

Mary Lintern, Garfield National Historic Site: She tells him to confront this woman and to tell her face to face that it's over. But later she responds almost sympathetically.

Candice Millard, Author, Destiny of the Republic: He thought at the time, "I don't know if she can ever really love me again." But he began to realize how strong she was. And from that time on, they were deeply, deeply in love.

Kathryn Allamong Jacob, Historian: She had an unwavering moral compass, which Garfield admired and learned from and respected her for. She had the ability to draw out the best in him and to draw him out of his self-absorption, to be a better man.

James Garfield (Shuler Hensley, audio): We no longer love because we ought to, but because we do. Were I free to choose out of all the world the sharer of my heart and home and life, I would fly to you and ask you to be mine as you are.

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