Arthur was known for a very gentlemanly personality, which lead to him receiving the nickname Elegant Arthur. He was also very concious of his appearance, sometimes changing his outfit eight times a day.
Chester Arthur was born in Fairfield, Vermont in 1829. His father's employment as a minister had Arthur moving around frequently as a child throughout Vermont and upstate New York. In 1845 Arthur attended Union college and graduated three years later. He became a teacher full time and later a principal. He saved up enough money to attend the State and National Law School and was admitted to the bar in 1854. Arthur worked with Erastus Culver on several Civil Rights cases and got involved in local Republican Party politics before joining the Union Army in 1860. He rose to the rank of brigadier general before the end of the Civil War.
After the Civil War, Arthur began to get more involved in New York State politics. He became a member of the Stalwart faction of the Republican Party and friends with Roscoe Conkling who helped Arthur get appointed by President Grant to the position of Collector of the Port of New York. However when Rutherford Hayes became President, he fired Arthur in 1878 in an attempt to try and eliminate Stalwart Patronage in the state of New York. In 1880, Chester Arthur was selected for the Vice President position as part of a Stalwart and Half-Breed compromise at the Republican Convention. However when President Garfield was assasinated in 1881, Arthur took over as President.
Many feared Arthur would use his position as President only to help his Stalwart friends. To everyones suprise Arthur turned his back on his old ways and pushed through the Pendleton Civil Service Reform which eliminated party patronage by insisting Civil service jobs should be awarded based on merit rather then party affiliation and created a Civil Service Commission to ensure it got done. Taking advantage of the budget surplus at the time, Arthur called for abolishing several excise taxes except on liquor. Arthur also used the surplus to expand the Navy. Arthur also encouraged increasing funding in education for Native Americans. Arthur did not run for a second term as he developed an illness now known as Nephritis. After leaving office he returned to his law practice and died in 1886.
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I may be president of the United States, but my private life is nobody's damned business.
Men may die, but the fabric of free institutions remains unshaken.