The failure that helped make Lincoln president
[by Earl Blacklock] Robert Todd Lincoln was a witness to some of the most momentous moments of American history. As Secretary of War under President James A. Garfield, he witnessed Garfield’s assassination at the hands of Charles Guiteau. He was Minister to the Court of St. James (U.S. Ambassador to Britain) under President Benjamin Harrison. He succeeded George Pullman as the President of the Pullman Palace Car Company in 1898 and, at the invitation of President William McKinley, he was at the Pan-American Exposition in Buffalo when McKinley was gunned down by Leon Czolgosz. Despite his lifetime of achievement, however, it was his record of failure which was, perhaps, his greatest contribution to history. Robert Todd Lincoln was the first son of Abraham and Mary Lincoln, and the only one to reach adulthood.