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21st President Chester A. Arthur America’s First Unconstitutional President

21st President Chester A. Arthur America’s First Unconstitutional President

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Published by DiannaCC
21st President Chester A. Arthur
America’s First Unconstitutional President
21st President Chester A. Arthur
America’s First Unconstitutional President

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Published by: DiannaCC on Dec 24, 2011
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05/13/2014

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21
st
President Chester A. Arthur
America’s First Unconstitutional President
 Dianna C. Cotter3002748HIST101
 – 
American History to 1877Professor Stephen B. BaconNovember 20, 2009
 
Cotter pg.2
21
St
President Chester A. Arthur was the son of an Irish immigrant, William Arthur, and a Vermonter,Malvina Stone. His career up until 1880 had been one of a competent and very well paid Civil-Servant inNew York, and would be nominated that year for Vice President through some extraordinary politicalmaneuverings at the Republican National Convention that created the ticket. He would become the 21
st
 President after the Assassination of President Garfield. Inquires were made into his qualifications for theVice Presidency and hence the Presidency, but these issues would not prevent him from securing theposition of Vice President, unable to gain enough traction to overwhelm the political machine supportingthe Garfield/Arthur Ticket. President Chester Arthur was successful in keeping the public at largeunaware of the secret of his heritage, and he died shortly after leaving the White House November 18,1886. Chester Alan Arthur served honorably and well as President of the United States, but was notConstitutionally Qualified for the Office of either Vice President or President of the United States of America, and set a precedent by which it would happen again.Young Chester Arthur entered Union College in 1845 as a sophomore. He graduated in 1848 and waselected to Phi Beta Kappa. For some years, he taught school and read law, and in 1854 passed his barexam. With some assistance from his father, Arthur would be hired by the Culver Law Firm in New York City as a clerk.
1
During his time there, he would meet and work with the leading legal and politicalpersons of the day through his work on two cases regarding African American Civil Rights.
2
 One of those he met and impressed was Roscoe Conkling, the undisputed leader of the RepublicanParty, who
would have a powerful influence in Arthur’s life through his introduction to the inside of thePatronage system. Conkling had noticed Arthur’s skills as an attorney, as well as the administrative
prowess he had demonstrated during his time as the quartermaster general for all of New York during theCivil War.
3
Arthur had joined the state militia in 1858 and was appointed by the governor to be engineer-in-chief with the rank of quartermaster general in the New York Volunteers and was eventually promotedon merit to brigadier general.
4
He retired to his law practice in 1863 which would make him a wealthy
 
Cotter pg.3
man.
5
Arthur had a lucrative side job as well, working in the Conkling machine for the RepublicanStalwarts. From 1869 - 1870 he acted as the chief counsel to the New York City Tax Commission earninghim 10,000 a year, a tremendous salary for the time.
6
 In 1871 President Ulysses S. Grant, also a practitioner of the patronage system, would appoint Arthurto the position of Collector of the Port of New York, an office of power and wealth that today has nocivil-service equivalent. Responsible for 75% of the import duties for the United States, he controlled theentire coast of New York and part of New Jersey.
7
This position would gain Arthur 50,000$ a year for hisportion of fines collected, and he handled the salary kickbacks that went to the Conkling Machine.
8
 
With the Election of reform President Rutherford B. Hayes, Conkling’s machine and the New York 
Customs offices would come under great scrutiny and investigation. Arthur would eventually be removedfrom office amid accusations of corruption in the summer of 1880 during a congressional recess.
9
TheGOP nomination process that year was one that Arthur attended as an unelected peer of those running theParty. It was those peers who would eventually orchestrate his nomination for Vice President.The biggest political debates by far
in the “Gilded
 
Age” revolved around the Patronage System
,and the election cycle of 1880 was focused on that very issue. Machine Politics was perfected byTammany Hall for the Democrats, and the Republicans had their own Machine - the Conkling Stalwarts.In the years between 1877 and 1900 debate raged within the Republican Party revolving around retainingand protecting the political payoffs of the machine, and reforming the Civil Services with the intent of taking it out of the control of the machine and the party bosses.
There were three politicians ultimately responsible for Arthur’s n
omination: James G. Blaine,Roscoe Conkling and President Rutherford B. Hayes.Republican James G. Blaine was a well known p
olitician from Maine in the 1880’s. A reform
minded politician, he was also Speaker of the House, and served as Secretary of State for James Garfield,Chester Arthur as well as Benjamin Harrison
10
. Blaine, leader of the Half-breeds, was a personal enemyof Roscoe Conkling, the undisputed leader of the Republican Party in New York at the time.
11
TheRepublicans were a house divided, betw
een the “Stalwarts” – 
who favored the Patronage system and the

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