Chester A. Arthur (1829–1886) was the 21st President of the United
States, from 1881 to 1885. After practicing law in New York City, he
served as quartermaster general in the New York Militia during the
American Civil War. Rising quickly in the Republican political machine
run by Senator Roscoe Conkling, he was appointed to the lucrative post
of Collector of the Port of New York in 1871. In 1878 the new president,
Rutherford B. Hayes, fired Arthur as part of a reform measure. When
James Garfield won the Republican nomination for president in 1880,
Arthur was nominated for vice president to balance the ticket. After
Garfield’s assassination, Arthur took up the cause of reform, supporting
the Pendleton Civil Service Reform Act. He presided over the rebirth of
the U.S. Navy but was criticized for failing to alleviate a growing
federal budget surplus. Suffering from poor health, Arthur retired at
the close of his term. Journalist Alexander McClure later wrote, “No man
ever entered the Presidency so profoundly and widely distrusted as
Chester Alan Arthur, and no one ever retired … more generally
respected, alike by political friend and foe.” (Full article…).
Today’s selected anniversaries:
The United States Navy battleship USS Maine exploded and sank
in Havana, Cuba, killing more than 260 people and precipitating the
Second Boer War: British cavalry under Major-General John
French defeated Boer forces to end a 124-day siege of Kimberley,
present-day South Africa.
The Canadian and American governments agreed to jointly build
the Distant Early Warning Line (DEW Line), a line of radar stations
running across the high Arctic (radar station pictured).
The current Constitution of Cuba, providing for a system of
government and law based on those of the Soviet Union and Eastern Bloc
countries, was adopted by a national referendum.
In one of the largest anti-war rallies in history, millions
around the world in approximately 800 cities took part in protests
against the impending invasion of Iraq.
Wiktionary’s word of the day:
A tourist who takes part in voluntourism.
Wikiquote quote of the day:
Life is too short to pursue every human act to its most remote
consequences; “for want of a nail, a kingdom was lost” is a commentary
on fate, not the statement of a major cause of action against a
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