Oct. 5, 1829 Fairfield Franklin County Vermont, USA
Nov. 18, 1886 New York New York County (Manhattan) New York, USA
US Vice President and President. A member of the Republican Party, he served as the 21st US President from September 1881 until March 1885, inheriting the position upon the death of President James A. Garfield, who died of complications after being shot by an assassin, Charles J. Guiteau. Born the 5th of nine children, his father was a schoolteacher who later became a minister in the Free Will Baptist faith and an outspoken abolitionist, whose views contributed to the family's frequent moves. He spent some of his childhood years living in the towns of Perry and Greenwich, New York. In 1845 he enrolled at Union College in Schenectady, New York where, as a senior, he was president of the debate society. During his winter breaks he worked as a schoolteacher in Schaghticoke, New York. Upon graduation he returned to Schaghticoke and became a full-time teacher, but soon began to pursue a law degree. While studying law, he continued to teach and moved closer to home by taking a teaching job in North Pownal, Vermont. In 1852 he moved to Cohoes, New York, to become the principal of a school at which his sister, Malvina, was a teacher. In 1853, after studying at State and National Law School in Ballston Spa, New York and saving enough money, he moved to New York City, New York to read law at the law office of Erastus D. Culver, an abolitionist lawyer and family friend, joining the law firm after he was admitted to the bar in 1854, which was subsequently renamed Culver, Parker, and Arthur. In 1856 he began a new law partnership with Henry D. Gardiner and travelled with him to Kansas to consider starting a law practice there. The rough frontier life did not agree with them and after a few months they returned to New York City. In 1859 he married Ellen Herndon, the daughter of a US Naval officer who was lost at sea in the wreck of the SS Central America a few years earlier. He also indulged his military interest by becoming Judge-Advocate-General for the 2nd Brigade of the New York Militia. In 1860 he was appointed to the military staff of Governor Edwin D. Morgan as engineer-in-chief. When the American Civil War broke out in April 1861, he was given the rank of brigadier general and assigned to the quartermaster department. He was so efficient at housing and outfitting the troops that poured into New York City that he was promoted within the state militia to inspector general in February 1862, and then to quartermaster general five months later. In January 1863 he was relieved of his position and he returned to his law practice for the remainder of the war. In 1866 he attempted to secure the position of Naval Officer at the New York Custom House, a lucrative job with few responsibilities, but was unable to do so. In 1868 he began his rise in the Republican party when he became chairman of the New York City Republican executive committee. He then began to devote more time to politics and in 1869 he was appointed counsel to the New York City tax commission. In 1871 he was nominated by President Ulysses S. Grant as the Collector of the Port of New York, a four-year term, which was confirmed by the US Senate. In 1875 he was re-appointed and when Rutherford B. Hayes became President in 1876, he demanded Arthur's resignation due to corruption in the Collector's office. When Arthur refused to resign, Hayes fired him in July 1878. He took advantage of the resulting free time to work for the election of Edward Cooper as New York City's next mayor. In the state elections of 1879, he worked to ensure that the "Stalwart" Republican nominees for state offices were successful. In January 1880 his wife died suddenly from pneumonia. In the 1880 Republican National Convention, James A. Garfield, a dark horse candidate, won the presidential nomination and selected Arthur as his vice presidential running mate. After winning the popular vote in a close election, the electoral college result was more decisive by a vote of 214 to 155, and he and Garfield were elected. After the election, he vainly worked to persuade Garfield to fill certain positions with his fellow New York Stalwarts, especially that of the Secretary of the Treasury. The Stalwart machine received a further rebuke when Garfield appointed James C. Blaine as Secretary of State. The running mates, never close, detached as Garfield continued to freeze out the Stalwarts from his patronage. When Garfield was shot on July 2, 1881 by a deranged office-seeker Charles J. Guiteau, he was reluctant to be seen acting as President while Garfield lived. For the next two months there was a void of authority in the executive office, with Garfield too weak to carry out his duties, and Arthur reluctant to assume them, coupled with the lack of legal guidance on presidential succession. Through the summer he refused to travel to Washington and was at his New York City home when Garfield died on the night of September 19 1881. After arriving in Washington DC three days after Garfield's death, he initially took up residence at the home of Senator John P. Jones, pending significant remodeling at the White House that he ordered, including the addition of an elaborate 50-foot glass screen made by Louis Comfort Tiffany. A recent widower, his sister, Mary Arthur McElroy, served as the White House hostess. He quickly came into conflict with Garfield's cabinet, most of whom represented his opposition within the party. He asked the cabinet members to remain until December, when Congress would reconvene, but all except for Secretary of War Robert Lincoln resigned by the following April and he replaced most of them with Stalwart affiliates. During his presidency, he took up the cause of reform. He signed the Pendleton Civil Service Reform Act into law and strongly enforced its provisions, as well as the Immigration Act of 1882, which levied a 50-cent tax on immigrants to the US, and excluded from entry the mentally ill, the intellectually disabled, criminals, or any other person potentially dependent upon public assistance. He gained praise for his veto of the Rivers and Harbors Act that would have appropriated federal funds in a manner he thought excessive, and he presided over the rebirth of the US Navy. He also signed into law, albeit reluctantly, the Chinese Exclusion Act, prohibiting all immigration of Chinese laborers and excluding them from US citizenship. Shortly after becoming President, he was diagnosed with Bright's disease, a kidney ailment now referred to as nephritis. He attempted to keep his condition private, but by 1883 rumors of his illness began to circulate. He had lost weight and become more aged in appearance, and struggled to keep the pace of the presidency. To rejuvenate his health outside the confines of Washington DC, he traveled to Florida in April 1883. The vacation had the opposite effect, and he suffered from intense pain before returning to Washington. He contemplated running for the 1884 presidential election but decided against actively campaigning when it became apparent that James G. Blaine would win the Republican nomination. He played no role in the 1884 campaign, which Blaine would later blame for his loss that November to the Democratic nominee, Grover Cleveland. Upon leaving the presidential office, he returned to New York City and resumed practicing law. In failing health, he limited his activity with the firm, served only as counsel. He took on few assignments with the firm and was often too ill to leave his house. After summer of 1886 in New London, Connecticut he returned quite ill and, on November 16, ordered nearly all of his papers, both personal and official, burned. The following day he suffered a cerebral hemorrhage and never regained consciousness and died the next day at the age of 57. After his death, the New York World newspaper summed up his presidency by stating, "No duty was neglected in his administration, and no adventurous project alarmed the nation." Journalist Alexander McClure later wrote, "No man ever entered the Presidency so profoundly and widely distrusted as Chester Alan Arthur, and no one ever retired.....more generally respected, alike by political friend and foe." A 15-foot bronze statue in his honor, created by sculptor George Edwin Bissell, resides at Madison Square in New York City. (bio by: William Bjornstad)
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Restoration of the CastilloIn 1884 President Chester A. Arthur signed into law an appropriation of $5,000 for the restorationand preservation the Castillo. More appropriations were made in 1888 and 1909. This actrepresents the first instance of federal fu...(Read more) -Anonymous Added: Apr. 14, 2016