Birthday: October 5, 1829
Died At Age: 57
Sun Sign: Libra
Also Known As: Chester Alan Arthur
Born in: Fairfield, Vermont
Famous as: 21st President of the USA
political ideology: Republican
Spouse/Ex-: Ellen Herndon
father: William Arthur
mother: Malvina Stone
siblings: Mary McElroy
Died on: November 18, 1886
place of death: New York City
U.S. State: Vermont
Notable Alumni: Union College
Though the United States has had 44 presidents so far, only a handful few are widely remembered across the world. One such hero of American’s political history who is seldom remembered is Chester A Arthur. Chester was the 21st man to attain the glory of being the president of the United States of America. Chester had succeeded James Garfield, after the latter was assassinated. Arthur had earned the reputation of being an outspoken person since his childhood days. From a very young age, he was a firm believer of the policies of the then famous ‘Whig’ party, which influenced him to enter politics later on. Arthur, along with a few other young supporters of the ‘Whig’ even revolted against those who supported ex-American president James Polk. Arthur also earned the reputation of being a great lawyer during his career which lasted more than 3 decades. One of his prominent achievements was bringing justice to a black woman by name Elizabeth, who was discriminated in New York. Other than his administrative skills as a president, Arthur was known for his sense of style and socializing activities.
Childhood & Early Life
Chester Arthur was the second son of Malvina Stone and William Arthur. He was born on October 5, 1829 at North Fairfield, Vermont. Chester’s father was a Baptist preacher of Irish descent, whereas his mother was of English origin.
Arthur completed his primary education from a school at Union Villager near New York. One of his teachers remembered Arthur for his outspoken nature and being ‘genial in disposition’.
Chester Arthur later moved to Union College to pursue his further education. However, he was more focussed in being a part of extracurricular and political activities here, rather than concentrating on studies.
Post his graduation, Arthur took up the job of a teacher at a school near Schaghticoke, United States. He later worked to another school situated close to Vermont, as a teacher. He also pursued a degree in law during his tenure at this school.
In 1853, Arthur relocated to New York after the completion of his degree in law from the prestigious ‘State and National Law School’. Initially, he worked with a famous lawyer named Erastus .D. Culver, at the latter’s law firm. Arthur became an important asset of this firm, which was later named as ‘Culver, Parker, and Arthur’.
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In 1854, Arthur fought a sensational case, where he defended Elizabeth Jennings Graham, a teacher of African-American origin. Elizabeth, a black, was discriminated on a New York state car. Arthur won this case, which even led to the desegregation of streetcar lines in New York City.
Like few other prominent American citizens, Arthur also served in the army at the time of the American civil war. He was appointed as the Engineer in Chief of the military staff, in 1860. Under Arthur’s leadership, thousands of soldiers who arrived at New York were efficiently housed.
Arthur’s dedication towards his Army service saw him rise to top ranks within a short period of time. In 1862, he was promoted to the post of Inspector general, which was followed by the post of Quartermaster later that year. A year later, Arthur hung his boots from military service.
Arthur joined the Republican Party in 1864, along with a man named Thomas Murphy. Arthur had defended Murphy in a case, which led to the collaboration. The duo eventually found a place in the Conservative department of the Republican Party.
After a failed attempt to become the Naval officer of the ‘New York Custom House’, Arthur turned successful in 1868, when he became the Chairman of the New York Republican Executive Committee.
For a period of one year, from 1869-1870, Chester Arthur worked as the Counsel of the New York City Tax Commission. Arthur earned an annual income of around $10000 for this service.
The year 1880, was one of the most eventful years of Arthur’s political career. After a lot of chaos regarding the face of the Republican Party for the Elections, John .A. Garfield was chosen as the candidate. Arthur was offered the nomination for the Vice-President’s role. The Republicans emerged victorious, and Arthur held the position of the Vice-President of the United States.
After James Garfield was assassinated, Chester Arthur took oath as the President of the United States in 1881. It was also rumoured that Garfield’s murder was a conspiracy planned by Arthur himself. Arthur served as the President of the United States from 1881 to 1885.
Arthur was praised for his role in a case involving Jonathan Lemmon, a slave trader. It was alleged that eight slaves were transported by Lemmon. The appeals turned in favour of Arthur and his colleagues, eventually all the slaves were freed.
During his tenure as the president, Arthur signed the Pendleton Civil Services Reform Act. This act which was passed in 1883, made it possible for any person to hold key government designations only after clearing entrance examinations. This was a fair way of judging the right candidate, and was considered to be one of the greatest achievements of his government.
Arthur also introduced better schemes to improve the monetary conditions of the American society, other than making significant changes in the civil reforms of the country.
Personal Life & Legacy
In 1856, Arthur got into a relationship with Ellen Herndon, who was the daughter of a naval officer from Virginia. After a courtship of 3 years, Arthur and Ellen got married at a Church in Manhattan, in 1859.
The Arthur couple lost their son William at the tender age of three, which left them devastated for quite some time. Later they had two other children, Chester Alan Jr, and Ellen, who were born in the years 1864 and 1871 respectively.
Arthur lost his wife to Pneumonia in 1880. He was a widower by the time he turned the president. Arthur’s sister Regina was his hostess at the White House.
It was said that Arthur had a very active social life. Post his victory in elections he had apparently switched off from his old friends from the political circle and spent his free time with few elite people belonging to Washington and New York.
Soon after Arthur took over as the president, he was diagnosed with a kidney ailment. Merely eighteen months after stepping down as the president of America, Chester Arthur died on 18 November 1886 due to a Cerebral Haemorrhage. Arthur was cremated at the Albany Rural Cemetery in New York, along with his other family members.