Chester Alan Arthur
Served 1881-1885 (became President upon the death of Garfield)

Chester Alan Arthur was born October 5, 1829, in Fairfield, Vermont.

Arthur married Ellen Herndon October 25, 1859, and together, they had three children. Mrs. Arthur died a year before Arthur became President; later, at the White House, his sister acted and performed the duties of First Lady.

Next PageArthur made a name for himself as the lawyer who defended a black woman named Lizzie Jennings who was thrown off a streetcar in Brooklyn. He won the case and public transportation in New York became desegregated for all people.

As James Garfield‘s Vice President, Arthur became President on September 19, 1881, when Garfield died ten weeks after being shot. Both Garfield and Arthur were Republicans.

Known as “The Gentleman’s Boss” as President, Arthur forged a reputation for being honest and fair and worked to abolish cronyism within the government. He support civil service reform, and in 1883, the Pendleton Act was signed into law and government jobs were no longer handed out as favors.

Arthur had a flamboyant style and loved to throw parties. He loved to hunt and fish and wore stylish clothes and entertained lavishly at the White House, with dinners often lasting more than three hours.

One of Arthur’s last public ceremonies was the dedication of the Washington Monument on February 21, 1885. The day before he left office, he sent a note to the Senate asking that former President Grant be restored to the retired list of the Army with full pay as a general.

After his Presidency, Arthur returned to New York and returned to practicing law. He died November 18, 1886, in his New York townhouse, only 57 years old.

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1 Comment

  1. Claire Mclean
    November 17, 2013

    The Presidential Museums website is launched today, November 18th, and we are notifying as many people as we can to come on board and join the celebration. It is an important part of this web site to institute the CALENDAR feature and to keep it up to date with the direct input and co-operation of each Presidential Museum and Library starting with our dear “friend” and number 31 President of the United States, Herbert Hoover. We will be in touch with the Museums, asking for their help, this week so be on the look out for our call.
    This feature along with the monthly Calendar will also, we anticipate, act as a round robin and a chatter box about not just the Obama presidency, while we admit there is a lot to chat about there, but also involve all the presidencies. Join in on the trivia, gossip, chatter and “twitter” will help make us all learned historians, so come on aboard and be our guest.
    Claire McLean,
    Founder and CEO


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