Tuesday, August 17, 2004

Chester A. Arthur

Chester A. Arthur This is a biography of American President Chester Arthur.

From the site:

Chester Alan Arthur ( October 5 , 1830 – November 18 , 1886) was the twentieth Vice President ( 1881 ), and the twenty-first ( 1881 - 1885 ) President of the United States .

Arthur became President when James Garfield was assassinated. Before being chosen as Vice President, he had been collector of customs for the port of New York . As such, he was assumed to be benefiting from bribes and corruption. Hence many were surprised when he became an advocate of civil service reform and presided over the passage of the Pendleton Act .

Arthur was born in Fairfield, Franklin County, Vermont ¹ on October 5 , 1829 . He attended the public schools and was graduated from Union College , Schenectady, New York , in 1848 . He became principal of an academy in North Pownal, Vt. in 1851 . He studied law, was admitted to the bar in 1854 , and commenced practice in New York City . He took an active part in the reorganization of the State militia.

During the Civil War , Arthur served as acting quartermaster general of the State in 1861 . He was later commissioned as inspector general, and appointed quartermaster general with the rank of brigadier general, and served until 1862 . He resumed the practice of law in New York City, and was appointed by President Ulysses Grant as collector of the port of New York 1871 - 1878 .

Honorable in his personal life and his public career, Arthur nevertheless was a firm believer in the spoils system when it was coming under vehement attack from reformers. He insisted upon honest administration of the Customs House, but staffed it with more employees than it needed, retaining them for their merit as party workers rather than as Government officials.

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