Chester A. Arthur | Biography, Presidency, Accomplishments & Facts

What is Chester A. Arthur most known for?

Chester Arthur is best known for becoming president when James Garfield was shot dead by an assassin. He was elected vice president for political reasons, but many were shocked when he became president.

President Chester A. Arthur Overview:

Served as President 1881-1885
Vice President none
Party Republican
Age at inauguration 51
Born October 5, 1829 in Fairfield, Vermont
Died November 18, 1886 in New York, New York
Married Ellen Lewis Herndon Arthur
Children Chester, Ellen
Nickname Elegant Arthur

Biography of Chester A. Arthur:

Growing Up of Chester A. Arthur

Chester was born in Fairfield, Vermont. His father was an Irish immigrant and worked as a preacher. Chester’s family moved frequently during his childhood as his father moved from church to church. This was common among preachers of the time.

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A brilliant student, Chester graduated from Union College in New York in 1848. After that, I studied law and worked as a teacher. In 1854 he passed the bar exam and became a lawyer.

The Abolitionist

Arthur was a strong abolitionist. This meant that he wanted to free the slaves and end slavery in the United States. As an attorney, he handled a high-profile case representing an African-American woman named Lizzie Jennings. Lizzie had been told not to ride the tram because she was black. He won a lawsuit, and a new law was passed in New York that would not allow discrimination on public transportation.

Before Chester A. Arthur Became President

In the 1850s Arthur became involved in politics. Although he did not run for election, he was heavily involved in the Republican political party.

During the Civil War, he served for the first time as a quartermaster in the New York Army. Afterwards, he became a tax collector for the Port of New York City. As a toll collector, he continued the tradition of building a strong political base by awarding contracts to his supporters.

Vice President

Arthur was nominated Vice President by the Republican Party. He received this nomination primarily for political reasons and a favor for Senator Roscoe Conkling, a powerful friend of Arthur’s. Arthur had never held an elected office before. He was unsettled by his inexperience, and some expected nothing to happen to President Garfield.

Chester A. Arthur’s Presidency

Unfortunately, many people’s worst fears came true when President Garfield was assassinated shortly after taking office. Inexperienced Arthur is now President of the United States. He will have to learn it on the job.

Some events and accomplishments of Arthur’s presidency:

The Pendleton Act – This act created the Civil Service Commission and helped recruit people to government jobs based on merit rather than political endorsement. Positions should be filled based on test results. This was a big change for Arthur, who had long been caught up in the “booty” system of politics where his friends got the best jobs. It was the right thing to do, but he angered many of his former friends and political allies by supporting the law.

United States Navy – Arthur worked to fund additional ships for the United States Navy, which had been in decline for many years.

Indian – He worked to increase funding for education in India. He also made an error of deeding Indian lands, which President Cleveland later corrected.

Overall, Arthur has done a very good job as president. Most historians place him somewhere in the middle of U.S. presidents.

How did Chester A. Arthur die?

Before Arthur stepped down from his presidency, he learned he had a fatal kidney disease. Perhaps this is why he did not run for a second term. He died of kidney disease less than two years later.

Interesting Facts About Chester A. Arthur

Some argued that Arthur was born in Ireland or Canada and was not a US citizen.

Arthur liked to be stylish and he would change his clothes throughout the day to suit every occasion. This earned him the nickname “Elegant Arthur”.

He reportedly owned over 80 pairs of pants. He liked to stay up late and walk around Washington, D.C. Sometimes I can’t go for a walk until 2:00 or 3:00 in the morning.

One of his favorite hobbies was fishing and he was an excellent fisherman.

Arthur wanted to renovate the White House when he became president. He auctioned many valuable items that had been in the White House since the days of President John Adams.