Main Menu

Gentleman Boss

President’s Day is nearing its close, but I don’t want to let it pass unnoticed. The title of this article is the name of the definitive biography by Thomas C. Reeves of one American President, Chester Alan Arthur.

With many of our presidents, their term of office begins with high hopes and then realism sets in. There are no magic solutions to our problems, and sometimes the President is the scapegoat. Some of our Presidents were pretty crummy, while some still inspire us to this day.

Chester Arthur is one of these rare presidents who, while not great, exceeded expectations. It has been said of Arthur: “He would leave office with more respect than when he entered it.”

In the 19th century, machine politics ran much of American government. In this system a political boss doled out government jobs (patronage) in exchange for the office holders working to keep the boss and his machine in power. Viewed as a product of the New York City Republican Machine, Arthur was expected to reward his cronies, but once in office he worked to end corruption and begin to dismantle the spoils system and political patronage by aggressively filling vacancies on the Civil Service system and supporting reform.

Arthur is also credited with the revitalization of a crumbling US Navy. So I offer this tribute to Chester A. Arthur, a President who did a lot better than folks expected.

Read more:

, , , , ,

18 Responses to Gentleman Boss

  1. avatar
    yutube February 20, 2012 at 9:31 pm #

    lol, a tribute to the other uneligible President. Wow Dr. what a coincidence! Now, if this is not an article to get some traffic, I don’t know what is. 🙂

  2. avatar
    yutube February 20, 2012 at 9:32 pm #

    ineligible, that’s one two, woo

  3. avatar
    Squeeky Fromm February 20, 2012 at 9:34 pm #

    DrC:

    Here is a link to a paper written in 1970. I have been planning to do an Internet Article on it, but you may also find it interesting. Particularly the part on page 8 of 15 (or page 297) about “the author had no reservations.”

    http://www.vermonthistory.org/journal/misc/MysteryOfChester.pdf

    Squeeky Fromm
    Girl Reporter

  4. avatar
    Xyxox February 20, 2012 at 9:40 pm #

    Bravo, Doc. Bringing up the pre-cursor of modern Birtherism. Notice, nobody back then attacked Arthur for being the son of an Irish immigrant who did not become a citizen until after Chester’s birth. Nope, but they made up stories about Arthur being born in a different country, just like the modern Birthers did with Obama.

    Of course, being unable to fight the undeniable fact that Barack Obama wa born in Hawaii, they invented the “two citizen” nonsense. Something that was never mentioned during the smearing of Arthur.

  5. avatar
    ASK Esq February 20, 2012 at 9:57 pm #

    Xyxox: Of course, being unable to fight the undeniable fact that Barack Obama wa born in Hawaii, they invented the “two citizen” nonsense. Something that was never mentioned during the smearing of Arthur.

    Part of birther revisionism is that Arthur was attacked for not having had a citizen father. Of course, no such attacks were made against him until birthers came around, but they needed to change those facts as well.

  6. avatar
    G February 20, 2012 at 11:45 pm #

    Exactly. These morons don’t even realize how absurd they sound any time they claim that current or past Presidents aren’t really President. It truly takes a special level of “magic thinking” for such wishful revisionism.

    ASK Esq: Part of birther revisionism is that Arthur was attacked for not having had a citizen father. Of course, no such attacks were made against him until birthers came around, but they needed to change those facts as well.

  7. avatar
    Joey February 21, 2012 at 12:18 am #

    Even though this particular thread gives a significant hint, here’s a President’s Day Trivial Pursuit question for everyone.
    There was a year in US history when there were three Presidents in office. What year and who were the three presidents?

  8. avatar
    G February 21, 2012 at 12:39 am #

    That is an easy one!

    1841 – Martin Van Buren, William Henry Harrison, John Tyler.

    William Henry Harrison died one month after taking office. (Back in those days, the new President took over from the previous one in March, not January).

    It is actually a very famous tragic story, as William Henry Harrison is not just historic for serving the shortest time as US President, but also for giving the longest Inaugeration address in US history too. Ironically, that lenghty address took place during cold and rainy weather and as the story goes, WHH was inadequately dressed for that weather as well. So, he ended up getting pneumonia and dying exactly one month later….

    He’s also the war hero from which the famous campaign slogan, “Tippecanoe and Tyler too” comes from. Hence, Tyler was his VP and therefore became the 10th US President upon WHH’s untimely and tragic death…

    Joey: Even though this particular thread gives a significant hint, here’s a President’s Day Trivial Pursuit question for everyone.There was a year in US history when there were three Presidents in office. What year and who were the three presidents?

  9. avatar
    G February 21, 2012 at 12:45 am #

    Oh, I see what you did! I was thrown by you mentioning that this article was somehow a “hint” for the answer… then it dawned on me:

    There wasn’t just ONE year in which the US had three Presidents, but TWO:

    The 2nd time was 1881, when Rutherford B. Hayes’ term ended and James Garfield was inaugerated President. Garfield was assassinated later that same year, so his VP, Chester Arthur became the 21st President of the US as a result…

    G: That is an easy one!
    1841 – Martin Van Buren, William Henry Harrison, John Tyler

    Joey: Even though this particular thread gives a significant hint, here’s a President’s Day Trivial Pursuit question for everyone.There was a year in US history when there were three Presidents in office. What year and who were the three presidents?

  10. avatar
    Kenneth Olsen February 21, 2012 at 1:04 am #

    Funny that you mention scapegoating of presidents, as Obama is the rarest of things: an inverted scapegoat. He receives accolades and praise that he has not earned and does not
    deserve. His Nobel Peace Prize is one glaring example. Kaboom!

    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=abmAm2jkN5M

  11. avatar
    Majority Will February 21, 2012 at 2:33 am #

    Kenneth Olsen: Funny

    I disagree with your assertion, Kenny. In my opinion, the President certainly deserves the Nobel Peace Prize.

    However, I don’t think your post has anything to do with the fact that Barack Obama is also a natural born citizen with full rights to hold the office of President of the United States.

  12. avatar
    Dr. Conspiracy February 21, 2012 at 3:09 am #

    That paper goes into far more detail on the “born in Canada” story than Reeves does in his biography of Arthur.

    Squeeky Fromm: Here is a link to a paper written in 1970.

  13. avatar
    Squeeky Fromm February 21, 2012 at 3:31 am #

    DrC:

    I thought you might like it. I have to look up my sources again, but I think Papa Arthur was naturalized in the 1840s IIRC. Chester would have been 12 or 13 years old. But no one looked for those records which negates the whole two citizen parent thing. Plus, it says that Chester gave Fairfield as his place of birth as early as the 1850 census, when he would have been 22ish.

    Originally I was going to do a Hinman-Corsi reincarnation Internet Article. But I think I will go a different direction.

    Squeeky Fromm
    Girl Reporter

  14. avatar
    Dr. Conspiracy February 21, 2012 at 9:35 am #

    Well obviously you don’t know what is, because there are hardly any comments on this article. No historian or legal scholar has ever said Arthur was ineligible — just a crank birther lawyer who bluffs people for a living (professional poker player).

    yutube: lol, a tribute to the other uneligible President. Wow Dr. what a coincidence! Now, if this is not an article to get some traffic, I don’t know what is.

  15. avatar
    Whatever4 February 21, 2012 at 10:39 am #

    LOL — Hinman WAS the Ur-birther:

    “The author had no reservations about including evidence that sharply contradicted his thesis, apparently assuming that the sheer bulk of the documentation would convince
    most of his readers of the validity of his case.”

  16. avatar
    Steve February 21, 2012 at 1:47 pm #

    I find it amusing that Chester Arthur was sworn in by Chief justice Waite the same Justice that wrote the Minor V Happersett citizen opinion that the birthers claim is a precedent.

  17. avatar
    Paul Pieniezny February 21, 2012 at 8:57 pm #

    Chester Arthur is a prime example of how someone can personally make a difference by his/her own choices. Shame on the birfers for denigrating him.

    Squeeky, thanks for that link. It is in my PDF directory now, together with a few versions of Vattel. I hope you will one day forgive me for denigrating you. Especially for that Birfer Sketch based on The Weakest Link where I had you eliminated after the second or third round (in any case after Britney Spears) and had you say “all these strange questions reminds me of a wonderful haiku I once composed”. Well, of course that one was really about The Strongest Link getting eliminated first, but it is obvious now that implying Britney knew more about the US constitution than you was a horrendous insult. I am so sorry.

  18. avatar
    Northland10 February 21, 2012 at 8:59 pm #

    Steve: I find it amusing that Chester Arthur was sworn in by Chief justice Waite the same Justice that wrote the Minor V Happersett citizen opinion that the birthers claim is a precedent.

    Oops… that might be a Minor problem from them (pun intended).

    I do find it amusing that this swearing in by the Chief Justice was the second one, done on an abundance of caution. And now, the birthers scream.. “See it was proof that Waite knew Arthur was ineligible, just like Roberts swearing in that usurper in our WHITE house.. any day now… any day now… We the PEOPLE!!!!”