Chester A. Arthur – 21

Chester A. Arthur was the 21st President of the United States of America. He served as the President from 1881 to 1885.

He was originally elected as the Vice President but then became President when James A. Garfield was assassinated in 1881.

Although he had no political experience before becoming the President, Arthur did a fairly good job at the office and implemented many important reforms.

When and where was he born

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

Early Life

Chester A. Arthur was born to an Irish immigrant family. His father was a preacher and although his family moved around a lot during his early years, Arthur was able to learn how to read and write. He later went to study at the Union College, New York and graduated in 1848.

He later studied law and after passing the bar exam, became a practicing lawyer in 1854. As a lawyer, Arthur was staunchly opposed to slavery and fought many cases in which he defended the civil rights of the African-Americans. One of his cases led to the formulation of a new law which ended the discrimination against African-Americans on public transportation.

Life in Politics

Chester A. Arthur didn’t have a very active career in politics. He rather remained involved only in the politics of the Republican Party. During the Civil War, he was appointed as the quartermaster general for the troops of New York. He was later made the customs collector for the Port of New York City.

While working on these lucrative positions, Arthur was able to make many powerful friends. By using his official position, he was also able to appoint his friends to government jobs. This helped him garner a lot of political support in New York, especially in the Republican Party.

It was largely because of this support in the Party that he was nominated for Vice Presidency when James A. Garfield was nominated for Presidency. Their ticket won and Arthur became the Vice President.

He had no experience in active politics, so his election as Vice President was quite surprising for many people. Later when Garfield was assassinated and Chester A. Arthur became the President, people were even more nervous.

Life as the President

Although Chester A. Arthur had little political experience and was known for awarding jobs to his friends, he proved a fairly good President.

He played an important role in the creation of the Civil Service Commission. This commission finally ensured that the government jobs would be filled based on merit and not through political appointments.

He also increased the size of the US navy and implemented many reforms to improve the education of the Native Americans.

Later Life and Death

Chester A. Arthur’s Presidency ended in 1885. He didn’t run for a second term because he was told by his doctors that he had a serious kidney disease. He died of this ailment nearly two years later on November 18, 1886 in New York.