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.
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.
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.
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.
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
. 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.
TheRepublicans were a house divided, betw
een the “Stalwarts” –
who favored the Patronage system and the