Chester Alan Arthur: The American Presidents Series

Born in Vermont. Raised in New York. Mediocre student. Strong antislavery beliefs. Became a lawyer. 
 
Very much a people person, which led to much of his success. Friend of Roscoe Conkling. Assigned Commissioner of ports in NY. Important position at the time. And very lucrative. 
 
Panic of 1873 lead to the end of moiety system. Hayes made civil service reform the leading cause of his presidency.  Hayes replaced Arthur as part of his reform campaign. 
 
Arthur picked as president primarily because of his likability and his alliance with Conkling and the Stalwarts. Arthur remains loyal to Conkling during Garfield’s/Blaine’s successful scheme to appoint non-Stalwarts to cabinet positions. Led to a break between Garfield and Arthur. 
 
Arthur was really into modernizing the White House. Liked fine clothes, carriages etc…  He was the Jackline Kennedy of his time. 
 
Vetoed the Anti-Chinese Immigration Bill. Signed the second one, knowing his veto would be overturned. 
 
Popular book at the time. Henry George’s Progress and Poverty. 
 
Republicans were crushed in the elections of 1882. During the duck session when they still had a majority, Arthur decided to push Pendleton’s civil service bill. Wanted to be seen as party of reform. Passed and Arthur signed. 
 
Died from problems related to Bell’s Palsey; kidney disease. Was a big eater/drinker,  which probably caused the  issues.  
 
Remember as an “ok” president – not terrible, certainly not  great. Did  better than expected considering. 
 
 

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