Arthur, Chester

Chester Alan Arthur

b. 5 Oct 1829 (1830?), Fairfield, Franklin County, Vermont
d. 18 Nov 1886, New York City, New York

Title: President of the United States
Term: 19 Sep 1881 - 4 Mar 1885
Chronology: 9 Feb 1881, election to the office of Vice President of the United States is declared upon counting electoral votes (cast 1 Dec 1880 and 8 Dec 1880), joint session of the Senate and House of Representatives, House Chamber, U.S. Capitol, Washington, D.C. [1]
4 Mar 1881, commencement of term
4 Mar 1881, took the oath prescribed by law, regular session of the Senate, Senate Chamber, U.S. Capitol, Washington, D.C. [2]
19 Sep 1881, entered upon the duties of the office of President of the United States upon the death of an incumbent
20 Sep 1881, took an oath of office as President of the United States, private ceremony, 123 Lexington Avenue, New York City [3]
22 Sep 1881, took an oath of office as President of the United States, inaugural ceremony, Office of the Vice President, U.S. Capitol, Washington, D.C. [4]
4 Mar 1885, expiration of term
Biography:
Son of a Baptist minister, who was born in Ireland and emigrated to the United States; graduated from Union College, Schenectady, New York (1848); attended a law school at Ballston Spa, New York; became principal of an academy in North Pownal, Vermont (1851); entered the law office of Erastus D. Culver in New York City as a student (1853); admitted to the bar in 1854 and commenced practice in New York City; took an active part in the reorganisation of the State militia; during the Civil War, served as acting quartermaster general of the State in 1861; commissioned inspector general (10 Feb 1862), appointed quartermaster general (10 Jul 1862) with the rank of brigadier general, and served until 1862; retired from the office (31 Dec 1862); resumed the practice of law in New York City; appointed by President Ulysses Grant as collector of the port of New York (1871-1878); continued to take an active part in politics, became chairman of the executive committee of the Republican State committee (1879); on retiring from the office of collector resumed the practice of law with the firm of Arthur, Phelps, Knevals & Ransom; was elected Vice President of the United States on the Republican ticket with President James A. Garfield; upon the death of Garfield, became President of the United States (19 Sep 1881 - 4 Mar 1885); returned to New York City; replaced six of the seven members of Garfield's cabinet with his own appointees, but his appointments were generally unexceptionable; displayed an unexpected independence by his veto in 1882 of an $18,000,000 rivers and harbors bill that contained ample funds for projects that could be used for political patronage; vetoed a Chinese exclusion bill barring Chinese nationals from admission as immigrants to the United States (both presidential vetoes were overridden by Congress); signed into law the Anti-Polygamy Act, aimed at the Mormons in Utah; supported the Pendleton Act (1883), which created a federal merit-based civil-service system applying to a limited number of specified offices; recommended the appropriations that initiated the rebuilding of the U.S. Navy; retired to New York City at the end of his term.
Biographical sources: Biographical Directory of the United States Congress (2005); Compilation of the Messages and Papers of the Presidents (1903), vol. 8; The New-York Times, New-York, Friday, November 19, 1886, vol. XXXVI, No. 10,988, p. 1 (obituary).
Elections:

Candidate (party) Electoral vote (1 Dec 1880) *
  including votes from Georgia excluding votes from Georgia
Chester Alan Arthur (Republican) 214 214
William Hayden English (Democratic) 155 144
total number of electors appointed 369 358
number of votes for a majority 185 180
* As Georgia had cast her vote on the second Wednesday of December (8 Dec 1880), a day different from that prescribed by law, two tabulations were made, one including and the other not including Georgia's eleven votes (Concurrent Resolution of the U.S. Congress of 5 Feb 1881, Congressional Record, 46th Congress, 3rd Session, 1129-1141, 1257-1263).
Source of electoral results: Congressional Record, 46th Congress, 3rd Session, 1387.

[1] Congressional Record, 46th Congress, 3rd Session, 1386-1387.
[2] Congressional Record, 46th Congress, 3rd Session, 2430.
[3] The New-York Times, New-York, Tuesday, September 20, 1881, vol. XXXI, No. 9371, p. 1.
[4] The Washington Post, Washington, Friday, September 23, 1881, Number 1,260, p. 1; The New-York Times, New-York, Friday, September 23, 1881, vol. XXXI, No. 9374, p. 5.
  Image: photograph by C.M. Bell.
Last updated on: 17 Dec 2011 09:56:26