Friday, September 13, 2013

Chester Alan Arthur

Chester Alan Arthur, one of the least-remembered presidents, was not as nondescript as you might expect from a one-term president rising to the position only after an assassination whom very few people remember.

 Photo of Chester A. Arthur

Throughout his political career, Arthur was known for his reform. During Hayes' presidency, Arthur was even fired for his progressive ideas. However, once James Garfield was assassinated and Vice President Arthur unexpectedly became President, he stuck to his ideas despite how it might upset some of the members of his party.

 Cartoon of a man kicking another man into the street

As President, Arthur lowered tariffs and therefore the surplus the government seemed to profit from year after year. He also passed immigration laws to keep out "paupers, criminals, and lunatics." His administration also suspended Chinese immigration, which later became a more permanent restriction.

Perhaps his crowning achievement was the Pendleton Act, which regulated government positions so that they might be given out based on merit. 

However, the new President suffered from a kidney disease that made him very weak. The condition made him disinclined to run for a second term.

In the end, the shortness of Arthur's term made it hard for the President to get much down. Yet Congress was particularly receptive to Arthur, seeking stability in the time after Garfield's assassination, and Arthur is known for rising above party lines and enacting what he thought was right regardless of party approval. 

Sources: Wikipedia, White,,

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