Front Matter The Vikings Find New Lands The Faith of Columbus The Sea of Darkness Columbus Returned in Triumph How America Was Named England in the New World France in Florida French Colony in Florida Spaniards Drive Out French French Avenge Countrymen Sir Humphrey Gilbert Sir Walter Raleigh Captain John Smith More Captain John Smith How the Colony Was Saved Pocahontas over the Seas How the Redmen Fought A Duel with Tyranny Coming of the Cavaliers Bacon's Rebellion Knights of Golden Horseshoe The Pilgrim Fathers Founding of Massachusetts Story of Harry Vane Story of Anne Hutchinson Founding of Harvard Quakers in New England Maine and New Hampshire Founding of Connecticut Founding of New Haven Hunt for the Regicides King Philip's War Charter of Connecticut The Witches of Salem The Founding of Maryland New Amsterdam German Rule in New York Pirates! Founding of New Jersey Founding of Pennsylvania Franklin in Philadelphia Founding of the Carolinas Indians in the Carolinas Founding of Georgia Mississippi is Discovered King William's War The Mississippi Bubble A Terrible Disaster End of French Rule in America The Rebellion of Pontiac The Boston Tea-Party Paul Revere's Ride The Battle of Bunker Hill The War in Canada The Birth of a Great Nation Trenton and Princeton Bennington and Oriskany Bemis Heights, Saratoga Brandywine—Germantown War on the Sea The Battle of Monmouth The Story of a Great Crime A Turning Point Washington in War and Peace How Adams Kept the Peace How Territory Was Doubled How the Door Was Opened A Man Who Would be King The Shooting Star War with Great Britain Monroe's Famous Doctrine The Tariff of Abominations "Liberty and Union" The Hero of Tippecanoe Florida Becomes a State How Much Land Was Added The Finding of Gold Union or Disunion The Underground Railroad Story of "Bleeding Kansas" Story of the Mormons The First Shots Bull Run to Fort Donelson Battle between Ironclads The Battle of Shiloh The Slaves Are Made Free Death of Stonewall Jackson The Battle of Gettysburg Grant's Campaign Sherman's March to the Sea The End of the War The President is Impeached A Peaceful Victory Hayes—Garfield—Arthur Cleveland—Harrison McKinley—Sudden Death Roosevelt—Taft Troubles with Mexico The Great War

This Country of Ours - H. E. Marshall


In 1877 Rutherford B. Hayes became President. Ever since the Civil War a great part of the South had been in constant turmoil. Soldiers were still stationed in the capitals of the various states, and the carpet-bag government still continued. But Hayes wished to put an end to this. So he got the principal white people in the South to promise that they would help to keep law and order. Then he withdrew all the troops. Without their aid the carpet-bag government could not stand, and the white men of the South once more began to rule in the South.

President Hayes also tried to lessen the evil of the "spoils system." In this he met a good deal of opposition. But the system of passing examinations was begun for some posts.

After the troublous times that had gone before this was a time of peace, in which for the first time since the War North and South seemed once more united.

In 1881 James Garfield became President. Like other Presidents before him, his boyhood had been one of poverty and hard work. But from doing odd labouring jobs, or tending barge horses on the Ohio Canal, he had gradually worked upwards. He had been barge-boy, farmer, carpenter, school teacher, lawyer and soldier, having in the Civil War reached the rank of general. At thirty-two he entered Congress, and there soon made his mark.

Now he had become President, and as soon as he took up his office he was besieged by office seekers. They thronged his house, they stopped him in the street, buttonholed him in railway carriages. They flattered, coaxed, threatened, and made his life a burden.

But in spite of all this worrying the new President determined to do what he could to end the "spoils system," and appoint people only for the sake of the public good. Accordingly he made many enemies.

Among the many office-seekers whom the President was forced to disappoint was a weak-minded, bad young man named Guiteau. Garfield saw plainly that he was quite unfit to fill any government post, and he refused to employ him. Thereupon Guiteau's heart was filled with hate against the President. He brooded over his wrongs till his hate became madness, and in this madness he determined to kill his enemy.

Since he took up office the President had been hard at work. Now in July he determined to take a short holiday in New England, and visit Mrs. Garfield, who had been ill, and had gone away for a change of air.

On Saturday, the 2nd of July, the morning on which he was going to set out, he awoke in excellent spirits. Before he got up one of his sons came into his room. The boy took a flying leap over his father's bed.

"There," he said with a laugh, "you are the President of the United States, but you can't do that."

"Can't I?" said the President.

And he got up and did it.

In the same good spirits he drove to the station.

As he walked along the platform a man with an evil look on his face followed him. Suddenly a pistol shot was heard, and a bullet passed through the President's sleeve, and did no harm. It was quickly followed, however, by a second, which hit the President full in the back, and he fell to the ground. The President was sorely wounded, but not killed. A mattress was quickly brought, and he was gently carried to the White House.

Then a message was sent to Mrs. Garfield, telling her what had happened, and bidding her come home. She and her daughter had been happily awaiting the President's coming to them. Now everything was changed, and in sorrow and haste they went to him.

For nearly three months President Garfield lingered on. At times he seemed much stronger, and those who loved him believed he would recover. But by degrees their hopes faded, and in September he died.

Once again the sorrowing nation followed their President to the grave, and once again the Vice-President took office as President.

The new President was named Chester A. Arthur, and on taking office he was less known to the country than any President before him. He came to office in a time of peace and prosperity, and although nothing very exciting happened during his presidency he showed himself both wise and patriotic.

The best thing to remember him for is his fight against the "spoils system." Ever since Grant had been President men who loved their country, and wanted to see it well served, had fought for civil service reform.

Garfield's sad death made many people who had not thought of it before see that the "spoils system" was bad. For it had been a disappointed seeker of spoils who killed him. So at last in 1883 a law was passed which provided that certain appointments should be made by competitive examinations, and not given haphazard. At first this law only applied to a few classes of appointments. But by degrees its scope was enlarged until now nearly all civil service appointments are made through examinations.