President Chester Arthur
Chester Alan Arthur (1830-1886), twenty-first President of the United States, born in Fairfield, Vermont. His father, the Reverend William Arthur (1796-1875) was a Baptist minister, and a native of the north of Ireland. Chester Arthur was educated at Union College, Schenectady, New York, and was admitted to the bar in 1853. He achieved prominence as a lawyer by his work in the Lemmon Case, which involved the validity, under certain conditions, of the Fugitive Slave Law. Chester Arthur secured from the highest court of New York State a ruling that a slave brought into New York while in transit form one slave State to another was, ipso facto, free. He continued the practice of law in New York City, and engaged in politics, becoming prominent in local Republican activities.
At the outbreak of the Civil War, Chester Arthur was inspector general of the New York State militia, and served through the war as quartermaster general. In 1871 President Ulysses S. Grant appointed him collector of the Port of New York; this post was the most desirable in the Federal patronage system. Because of his advocacy of the spoils system, and his opposition to the program for civil service reform of President Rutherford B. Hayes in 1878, Chester Arthur was removed form his post by President Hayes. In the Republican Party convention of 1880, Arthur, as head of the Grant supporters in the Republican Party, was nominated for the Vice Presidency of the United States, in the interests of party harmony. Chester Arthur was elected with James A. Garfield. Following the death of President Garfield, Chester Arthur became the twenty-first President of the United States on September 22, 1881.
During the administration of President Chester Arthur a bill dealing with the Mormon question, and declaring polygamy illegal, was enacted; a protective tariff bill was passed, and several commercial treaties were ratified. In spite of his former support of the spoils system, Chester Arthur extended and enforced the civil service rules, and his administration was free of patronage scandals. Due to internal dissensions in the party, President Chester Arthur was not nominated to succeed himself.