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Chester A. Arthur

21st U. S. President.
He Established New Confidence in White House

The assassination of President James A. Garfield in 1881 projected Vice President Chester A. Arthur into the nationís highest office. Arthurís reputation as a patronage politician was soon dispelled by his exemplary conduct in office. He established the confidence of the nation in the presidency and won the approval of his severest critics. ■ Chester A. Arthur was born October 5, 1830, in Fairfield, Vermont. His father William was an Ulster Scot who emigrated to the U.S. in 1815 and later became a Baptist minister. ■ Chester was graduated from Union College in Schenectady, New York with high honors in 1848. He taught school and studied law. He gained some renown by winning several historic cases involving slavery issues. He also participated in New York Politics which at that time had a bad odor and tainted all politicians regardless of their behavior. ■ In 1871 he was appointed Collector of Customs for the Port of New York by President Grant. In spite of criticism, he carried out the reforms in the operation requested by an investigating commission. ■ Three great continental railroads were completed during his administration and as the nation grew in wealth and power, President Arthur became concerned about defense. This resulted in the strengthening of our Navy. Congress passed a high protective tariff in 1883 which the President opposed. ■ Arthur gained the confidence of the public by supporting Civil Service reform and his veto of a pork-barrel rivers and harbors bill which many thought he would sign. However, he was defeated for re-nomination and retired to his home in New York City where he died November 18, 1886.

Wayne Rethford, President Emeritus
Illinois Saint Andrew Society
Scottish-American History Club
2800 Des Plaines Avenue
North Riverside, IL 60546