Jacki: Chester Arthur

Chester Alan Arthur, by Zachary Karabell

Sometimes I feel bad for the vice presidents that all of a sudden end up president. I just feel like they didn’t sign up for such a huge job, even though they totally did. It seems like some of these guys do well for themselves and some of them just kind of tread water until their term is up then fade back into obscurity.

Had you asked me before I began this book, I would have said that Chester Arthur was one of the latter. I was pretty wrong.

Here’s the thing: like everyone else, CAA was totally grief stricken with Garfield died. He was crushed. He was also in a position to end the spoils system that had gotten Garfield killed. So he did.

Yeah, one guy, one obscure president said “Nope. We’re not doing that anymore. People will be given jobs based on merit and everything else is out the window.” This seems obvious now, but it totally wasn’t then. It truly did transform the presidency and the way that our country’s politics work. Woah, right?

Well, I was impressed.

These books in the American Presidents Series are pretty hit or miss. I thought that this was one of the best ones that I’ve read. I thought that even though it was short that it packed a real punch and hit all of the major points. I though that it was compelling and that it moved along well. There isn’t much out there about this guy, so I would totally recommend this one.