Chester Arthur

President Chester A. Arthur

Click Here to view the US Mint & Coin Acts 1782-1792

21st President of the United States

under the Constitution 1787

September 19, 1881 – March 4, 1885


Chester Alan Arthur was born on October 5, 1829 in Fairfield, Vermont. His father, William Arthur, was an Irish-born Baptist minister and schoolteacher, and his mother, Malvina Stone Arthur, was born in New Hampshire. The Arthur’s had five daughters and two sons, of whom Chester was the eldest son.

William Arthur was an eloquent preacher and moved constantly from one town to another. The family lived in several towns in Vermont and northern New York before they moved to Saratoga County, New York, in 1839. Chester attended an academy at Union Village (now Greenwich), New York. In 1844, the Arthur’s moved to Schenectady and Chester was admitted to Union College. Chester’s father had taught him Latin and Greek and even though he was only 15, he was admitted to the college as a sophomore. Chester began to teach during the long winter vacations, because his father could not help him financially. After graduating near the top of his class at 18, he continued to teach at North Pownal, Vermont and in 1852 he became the principal of the academy at Cohoes, New York while studying law at home. He joined the law office of Culver and Parker in New York City to continue his training and was admitted to the bar in 1854. He gained a reputation as a supporter of civil rights for blacks, and in 1855 won a case guaranteeing the rights of blacks to ride streetcars in New York City.


Students and Teachers of US History this is a video of Stanley and Christopher Klos presenting America's Four United Republics Curriculum at the University of Pennsylvania's Wharton School. The December 2015 video was an impromptu capture by a member of the audience of Penn students, professors and guests that numbered about 200.

In 1856, he formed his own law firm in the Wall Street district. To build up his practice, he joined clubs to make acquaintances. He became an active member in the ranks of the newborn Republican Party and soon had friends in prominent literary and political circles. He could speak well on literature, politics or fishing which happened to be his only sport. The young Arthur was a striking figure, tall, with black eyes and brown hair. He went to the best tailors, wore the latest fashions and was considered well informed and amusing. He fell in love with Ellen Lewis Herndon, of Fredericksburg, Virginia, who was living in New York City with her mother. Her father, Captain William Lewis Herndon, was an explorer of the Amazon who had died a heroic death in the Caribbean after saving many lives. Ellen and her mother belonged to a prominent social group. The couple was married on October 25, 1859 and they had three children: William Lewis Herndon Arthur (1860-1863); Chester Alan Arthur (1864-1937); and Ellen Herndon Arthur (1871-1915).





In 1860 Arthur campaigned in New York City for presidential candidate Abraham Lincoln. He also worked for the reelection of Edwin D. Morgan as Governor of New York, and when Morgan won, he appointed Arthur engineer in chief of his military staff, which was an honorary post. At the outbreak of the Civil War in 1861, Morgan asked Arthur to take over the duties of quartermaster general in New York City. The post involved supplying barracks, food, uniforms, and equipment to thousands of troops who passed through the city. He supervised the equipping of more than 220,000 volunteers before 1863, when he resigned after a Democrat was elected governor.

After his return to private life, Arthur resumed his law practice and remained active in the Republican Party of New York, making himself indispensable to the political machine run by U. S. Senator Roscoe Conkling. The political machine organized voters for the support of a candidate and dedicated loyal workers were rewarded with government jobs in return for their services to the “machine”. In 1871, Conkling persuaded President Ulysses S. Grant to appoint Arthur as collector of customs for the Port of New York. This was a great political appointment for Arthur, and he became the undisputed political leader of New York City. In 1877, President Hayes who had pledged civil service reform ordered an investigation of the customhouse. Arthur and two aids were asked to resign and they refused. However, in the summer of 1878, Hayes fired Arthur, giving the customs job to someone else that the Senate had later approved. Arthur once again returned to New York City and to his law practice.


Chester A. Arthur cabinet card 


In 1880, the Republican Party was split into two factions, the Stalwarts, strong believers in party loyalty above all else, and the Half-Breeds, who believed in minor political reforms. At the Republican National Convention, both factions were so evenly matched that a candidate could not gain the necessary majority for nomination. The deadlock in the convention lasted until the 36th ballot, when James A. Garfield was unexpectedly nominated. To make sure of the Stalwarts aid in the election, the convention nominated Arthur for vice president. Garfield won the election and Arthur took the Senate chair, but he did not lose his interest in New York politics.

After the election, the split in the Republican Party widened. Garfield made appointments, ignoring Conkling’s political machine. Conkling and New York’s other Senator, Thomas C. Platt, resigned from the Senate in protest to Garfield’s appointments. Arthur supported the New York Senators and accompanied them to Albany to convince the state legislature to give them a vote of confidence by reappointing them to the Senate. Despite their pleas, the legislature did not reappoint the two men. Conkling and Plat never again held public office.

In the middle of this political conflict, Charles J. Guiteau, a crazed office seeker, shot President Garfield on July 2, 1881. Garfield died eleven weeks later, on September 19, 1881. During the weeks were Garfield lingered between life and death, Arthur remained in seclusion as popular indignation against the Stalwarts ran high.

On September 20, 1881, the morning following Garfield’s death, Arthur took the oath of office at his home in New York City. His record of party loyalty greatly handicapped him when he became president. Many Americans regarded him as little more than Conkling’s puppet. His simple and sincere inaugural address helped to reassure the people. He came out strong in support of civil service reform in his first address to congress. In 1883 he signed the country’s first civil service law, the Pendleton Act, setting up the civil service commission to conduct examinations for office holders. His qualifications for the presidency were excellent. He was an experienced administrator and he had tact and common sense. As a lawyer, he was well versed in constitutional law.

Perhaps because of the influence of his heroic father-in-law, Arthur has been called the Father of the American Navy. He took a personal interest in modernizing and expanding it. The Navy had declined steadily after the Civil War and in 1882, Congress appropriated money for the nation’s first all-steel vessels. This was a modest first step in making the United States a major force in naval power.

Although he was secretly suffering from Bright’s disease, an incurable kidney ailment, Arthur hoped to be nominated for a second term as president. Unfortunately, that did not happen and the convention of 1884 nominated Blain. In the general election, Blaine lost to Grover Cleveland, the Democratic candidate. After turning over the White House to Cleveland on March 4, 1885, Arthur again resumed his law practice in New York City. Shortly afterward he became ill and died in 1886.

CHESTER A. ARTHUR partly-printed 1884 document being a military appointment
Countersigned by ROBERT TODD LINCOLN as Secretary of War



By: Stanley Yavneh Klos
  • First United American Republic: United Colonies of North America: 13 British Colonies United in Congress was founded by 12 colonies on September 5th, 1774 (Georgia joined in 1775)  and governed through a British Colonial Continental Congress.  Peyton Randolph and George Washington served, respectively, as the Republic's first President and Commander-in-Chief;
  • Second United American Republic: The United States of America: 13 Independent States United in Congress was founded by 12 states on July 2nd, 1776 (New York abstained until July 8th), and governed through the United States Continental CongressJohn Hancock and George Washington served, respectively, as the Republic's first President and Commander-in-Chief; 
  • Third United American Republic: The United States of America: A Perpetual Union was founded by 13 States on March 1st, 1781, with the enactment of the first U.S. Constitution, the Articles of Confederation, and governed through the United States in Congress Assembled.  Samuel Huntington and George Washington served, respectively, as the Republic's first President and Commander-in-Chief; 
  • Fourth United American Republic: The United States of America: We the People  was formed by 11 states on March 4th, 1789 (North Carolina and Rhode Island joined in November 1789 and May 1790, respectively), with the enactment of the U.S. Constitution of 1787. The fourth and current United States Republic governs through  the U.S. House of Representatives and Senate in Congress Assembled, the U.S. President and Commander-in-Chief, and the U.S. Supreme Court.  George Washington served as the Republic's first President and Commander-in-Chief.



The First United American Republic
Continental Congress of the United Colonies Presidents 
Sept. 5, 1774 to July 1, 1776


September 5, 1774
October 22, 1774
October 22, 1774
October 26, 1774
May 20, 1775
May 24, 1775
May 25, 1775
July 1, 1776


The Second United American Republic
Continental Congress of the United States Presidents 
July 2, 1776 to February 28, 1781

July 2, 1776
October 29, 1777
November 1, 1777
December 9, 1778
December 10, 1778
September 28, 1779
September 29, 1779
February 28, 1781


Commander-in-Chief United Colonies & States of America

George Washington: June 15, 1775 - December 23, 1783


The Third United American Republic
Presidents of the United States in Congress Assembled
March 1, 1781 to March 3, 1789

March 1, 1781
July 6, 1781
July 10, 1781
Declined Office
July 10, 1781
November 4, 1781
November 5, 1781
November 3, 1782
November 4, 1782
November 2, 1783
November 3, 1783
June 3, 1784
November 30, 1784
November 22, 1785
November 23, 1785
June 5, 1786
June 6, 1786
February 1, 1787
February 2, 1787
January 21, 1788
January 22, 1788
January 21, 1789





The Fourth United American Republic
Presidents of the United States of America










Chart Comparing Presidential Powers 
of  America's Four United Republics - Click Here


United Colonies and States First Ladies


1774-1788


United Colonies Continental Congress
President
18th Century Term
Age
09/05/74 – 10/22/74
29
Mary Williams Middleton (1741- 1761) Deceased
Henry Middleton
10/22–26/74
n/a
05/20/ 75 - 05/24/75
30
05/25/75 – 07/01/76
28
United States Continental Congress
President
Term
Age
07/02/76 – 10/29/77
29
Eleanor Ball Laurens (1731- 1770) Deceased
Henry Laurens
11/01/77 – 12/09/78
n/a
Sarah Livingston Jay (1756-1802)
12/ 10/78 – 09/28/78
21
Martha Huntington (1738/39–1794)
09/29/79 – 02/28/81
41
United States in Congress Assembled
President
Term
Age
Martha Huntington (1738/39–1794)
03/01/81 – 07/06/81
42
07/10/81 – 11/04/81
25
Jane Contee Hanson (1726-1812)
11/05/81 - 11/03/82
55
11/03/82 - 11/02/83
46
Sarah Morris Mifflin (1747-1790)
11/03/83 - 11/02/84
36
11/20/84 - 11/19/85
46
11/23/85 – 06/06/86
38
Rebecca Call Gorham (1744-1812)
06/06/86 - 02/01/87
42
02/02/87 - 01/21/88
43
01/22/88 - 01/29/89
36



Constitution of 1787
First Ladies
President
Term
Age
April 30, 1789 – March 4, 1797
57
March 4, 1797 – March 4, 1801
52
Martha Wayles Jefferson Deceased
September 6, 1782  (Aged 33)
n/a
March 4, 1809 – March 4, 1817
40
March 4, 1817 – March 4, 1825
48
March 4, 1825 – March 4, 1829
50
December 22, 1828 (aged 61)
n/a
February 5, 1819 (aged 35)
n/a
March 4, 1841 – April 4, 1841
65
April 4, 1841 – September 10, 1842
50
June 26, 1844 – March 4, 1845
23
March 4, 1845 – March 4, 1849
41
March 4, 1849 – July 9, 1850
60
July 9, 1850 – March 4, 1853
52
March 4, 1853 – March 4, 1857
46
n/a
n/a
March 4, 1861 – April 15, 1865
42
February 22, 1862 – May 10, 1865
April 15, 1865 – March 4, 1869
54
March 4, 1869 – March 4, 1877
43
March 4, 1877 – March 4, 1881
45
March 4, 1881 – September 19, 1881
48
January 12, 1880 (Aged 43)
n/a
June 2, 1886 – March 4, 1889
21
March 4, 1889 – October 25, 1892
56
June 2, 1886 – March 4, 1889
28
March 4, 1897 – September 14, 1901
49
September 14, 1901 – March 4, 1909
40
March 4, 1909 – March 4, 1913
47
March 4, 1913 – August 6, 1914
52
December 18, 1915 – March 4, 1921
43
March 4, 1921 – August 2, 1923
60
August 2, 1923 – March 4, 1929
44
March 4, 1929 – March 4, 1933
54
March 4, 1933 – April 12, 1945
48
April 12, 1945 – January 20, 1953
60
January 20, 1953 – January 20, 1961
56
January 20, 1961 – November 22, 1963
31
November 22, 1963 – January 20, 1969
50
January 20, 1969 – August 9, 1974
56
August 9, 1974 – January 20, 1977
56
January 20, 1977 – January 20, 1981
49
January 20, 1981 – January 20, 1989
59
January 20, 1989 – January 20, 1993
63
January 20, 1993 – January 20, 2001
45
January 20, 2001 – January 20, 2009
54
January 20, 2009 to date
45





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