Definition of Garfield, James Abram
- (1831–81), 20th president of the US March-September 1881. He fought for the Union during the Civil War, resigning his command to enter Congress as a Republican. He served in the US House of Representatives 1863–80. Although his presidency was shortened by an assassin, his battle against corruption succeeded in breaking the stronghold of New York senator Roscoe Conkling (1829–88) over the New York Customs House—the US’s principal port of entry.