But the shot didn’t kill Garfield. The drama of what happened subsequently is a powerful story of a nation in turmoil. The unhinged assassin’s half-delivered strike shattered the fragile national mood of a country so recently fractured by civil war, and left the wounded president as the object of a bitter behind-the-scenes struggle for power—over his administration, over the nation’s future, and, hauntingly, over his medical care. A team of physicians administered shockingly archaic treatments, to disastrous effect. As his condition worsened, Garfield received help: Alexander Graham Bell, the inventor of the telephone, worked around the clock to invent a new device capable of finding the bullet.
James A Garfield was elected president as a Republican in 1880 and assassinated in 1881. American Civil War lasted from the bombardment of Fort Sumter in 1861 to the surrender of the Confederacy in 1865. Alexander Graham Bell's work in the development of the telephone led to the creation of the Bell Telephone System of nationally interconnected phone networks. In the election of 1880, Republicans retained the control of the White House that they established during the Civil War.