Useful Notes / Chester A. Arthur
I'm totally sure he was born in the Northeast Kingdom. Foreigner!

"I may be President of the United States, but my private life is nobody's damn business."
Chester A. Arthur

Chester Alan Arthur (October 5, 1829 — November 18, 1886) served between James Garfield and Grover Cleveland's first term, from 1881 to 1885. He was one of the most well-liked presidents of all time, a dapper, congenial schmoozer whom it was almost impossible to dislike. Even Mark Twain, a man who usually viewed all politicians with cynicism, once said that it would be "hard to better" the Arthur administration. His critics, though, claimed that he accomplished nothing other than banquets and parties during his term. Still, Arthur is considered by many to be one of the premiere examples of a president Growing the Beard while in office.

There were rumors that he wasn't a natural-born American citizen, which would've made him ineligible for the presidency, but the people behind this rumor needed a couple of tries to come up with a plausible country of origin, so they weren't terribly credible. (Sounding familiar yet?) In reality there is a 99.948% probability he was born in Vermont.

His political career was largely a product of the New York political machine, and he was a close, personal friend of its boss, Roscoe Conkling. His choice as Garfield's vice-president was mostly intended to placate Conkling's faction of the party, which like several previous instances, ended in a pretty major case of Reassignment Backfire when Garfield was gunned down only a few months into his presidency. The fact that Arthur went on to wage a war of reform against the patronage system is one of the lesser-known ironies of American history. Arthur felt it was his duty, given that Garfield was shot by a disgruntled office seeker after attempting similar reforms. A friend was said to comment, "He's no longer Chet Arthur, but the president."

Most modern references to Chester A. Arthur focus not on his presidency, but on his rather spectacular set of mutton chops.

He upgraded the US Navy, which would then be used by William McKinley to wage the Spanish-American War. He also refused to move into the White House until it was renovated by Lewis Comfort Tiffany. Truman Capote may have had Breakfast at Tiffany's but Chet Arthur had Tiffany for breakfast.

His wife, Nell, died 20 months before he became president and he vowed never to re-marry. This didn't stop him from getting four marriage proposals on his last day in office, though. By the latter stages of his presidency, Arthur's health was starting to fail him, which resulted in his only putting in a token effort in the 1884 primaries (though he'd likely have lost even if he made a full effort, due to eventual candidate James G. Blaine's dominance of the party machine). He ultimately died 18 months into what would have been his second term as president.

Appears in the following works:

  • Chester A. Arthur middle school is the site of the bomb plot in Die Hard with a Vengeance.
    • The clue to this is "What is 21 out of 42?", there being 42 presidents at the time the movie was made.
  • In The Simpsons episode "Lisa the Iconoclast", Lisa Simpson admits to suffering from "Chester A. Arthritis".
  • Futurama: "Chester A. Arthur fall down."
  • In the Making Fiends web cartoon, Charlotte celebrates Chester A. Arthur's birthday.
  • The main school ChalkZone protagonists Rudy and Penny go to is named Chester A. Arthur Elementary.
  • Chester A. Arthur plays an important role in Max's election speech.
    Max: This election reminds me of a droll story. It seems Chester A. Arthur and the Pope were kayaking down the Amazon one day. Suddenly a tiny Candiru fish swims up the Pope's (censored) and lodges itself in his (censored). Arthur grabs the Pope's (censored) pliers and (censored) swelled up like a melon. And the Pope says, "Thanks! Last time that happened, McKinley wanted to (censored three times)!" (beat) No wait! Wait! Wait, I think I told it wrong.
  • A hologram of Chester A. Arthur that gives tours of the local museum is a recurring fixture in Transformers: Rescue Bots.