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Chester A. Arthur

By Jack Clark

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Though Chester Alan Arthur Arthur’s political enemies would later spread rumors that he had been born in Ireland or Canada, he was born in Vermont. He went to school, supported the Whigs, studied law, and went into partnership to practice law in New York. One of his partners was the grandson of John Jay, the first Chief Justice of the United States. Arthur played a role in a landmark case that freed slaves arriving in New York. Another case involved a free woman who was denied a seat on a streetcar because she was black. Arthur won the case, and the verdict led to desegregation of the New York public transportation system.

After his marriage to Ellen Herndon, Arthur moved to Kansas to start a new law partnership. Kansas was a hotbed of political unrest and even violence between pro- and anti-slavery factions. Arthur made it clear that he was against slavery, but the rough life on the frontier didn’t suit them, and they moved back to New York, where Arthur’s wife learned that her father had died at sea. Arthur proved himself a devoted husband and made sure that amid the process of building his career he had time to care for his grieving wife.

Just prior to the Civil War, Arthur was appointed to the military staff of the governor of New York. It was a minor appointment until war broke out, when Arthur was promoted to brigadier general and assigned to the quartermaster department. A promotion to state quartermaster general followed after he proved himself to be extremely organized; he took his duty to outfit and house troops seriously. He never saw action, though he visited the bloody battlefield at Fredericksburg, Virginia, shortly after 1. Keep Other Commitments in Mind

While he managed a busy schedule, Arthur always found time to be with his family, especially when his wife’s father died. He assured that he was there for her during her trying time, despite his professional commitments. No matter what you have going on in your career, you will be wise to make sure you don’t neglect your commitments in other areas of your life. For some, those commitments might be familial or church-related, or perhaps they might have to do with building other talents. Whatever they are, give these other duties their share of your time.

1. Keep Other Commitments in Mind

While he managed a busy schedule, Arthur always found time to be with his family, especially when his wife’s father died. He assured that he was there for her during her trying time, despite his professional commitments. No matter what you have going on in your career, you will be wise to make sure you don’t neglect your commitments in other areas of your life. For some, those commitments might be familial or church-related, or perhaps they might have to do with building other talents. Whatever they are, give these other duties their share of your time.

2. Organize!

When Arthur was appointed quartermaster in the early days of the Civil War, he impressed his commander with his organizational skills. You want to succeed in business? Actually, do you want to succeed in life? Get some organizational skills. That can’t be emphasized enough.

3. Don’t Be Afraid to Change

Chester A. Arthur was a large beneficiary of the patronage system, but when it became clear that the system wasn’t working, he changed his policies and did what was best for the country. You might be wrong in some of your opinions, or the changing needs of your companies might necessitate change. You should stick to your moral stances, but in many other areas you might need to make adjustments.Union forces seized the city.