In 1862, Garfield was elected to Congress to represent Ohio’s 19th district, although he was able to continue his involvement on the battlefields for a time since Congress didn’t actually meet until 1863. When he did recommence his political career, it was as a radical Republican. These radicals were in favor of treating the Confederate rebels harshly and felt that Lincoln was too soft in his attitude towards them.
Finally, America’s incredibly destructive Civil War came to an end in 1865, with the Union undisputed victors. The union victory spelled the end of slavery, and some four million slaves were freed at a stroke. Now came the period of Reconstruction, and Garfield gradually softened his hard-line attitude towards the defeated secessionist states.