During some months young Garfield served as bowsman, deck-hand and driver of a canal boat.
When the "cotton states" seceded, Garfield appeared as a warm supporter of vigorous.
In 1876 Garfield for the eighth time was chosen to represent his district; and afterwards as one of the two representatives of the Republicans in the House, he was a member of the Electoral Commission which decided the dispute regarding the presidential election of 1876.
Blaine was made a senator from Maine, the leadership of the House of Representatives passed to Garfield, and he became the Republican candidate for speaker.
Hayes, the new president, having chosen John Sherman to be his secretary of the treasury, an effort was made to send Garfield to the United States Senate in Sherman's place.