Arthur, Chester A.

Arthur, Chester A. (Alan)

(1830–86) twenty-first U.S. president; born in Fairfield, Vt. A lawyer, he joined New York's Republican political machine, which led to a patronage appointment as New York customs collector and an uproar when antipatronage President Hayes removed Arthur. Nominated as vice-president to Garfield in 1880 to pacify party regulars, Arthur became president on Garfield's assassination in July 1881. He surprised all by making solid appointments and signing the Pendleton Civil Service Reform Act of 1883. He lost the 1884 nomination due to his declining health as well as to his having antagonized many Republican politicians.
The Cambridge Dictionary of American Biography, by John S. Bowman. Copyright © Cambridge University Press 1995. Reproduced with permission.