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History Unplugged Podcast

with Scott Rank

Chester A. Arthur's Presidency Was a Colossal Accident...And a Huge Success

00:00 51:23
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Chester A. Arthur, America's 21st president, lands on the lists of the most obscure chief executives. Few know anything about him besides his trademark mutton-chop sideburns. Moreover, he fell into the position unexpectedly when Garfield was assassinated; the political pros though he would be a failure as president. Maybe Arthur did also. After all, he was a flunkey in the New York political machine who spent his nights eating, drinking, and smoking cigars with the other good ole' boys and frequently didn't show up at work in the New York Customs House until 1pm. He only got on the Vice Presidential ticket of Garfield because Republicans were desperate to get support from New York and needed a native son on the ticket. But Arthur shocked everyone by doing well as president. He went up against the very forces that had controlled him for decades. He implemented new rules requiring the federal government to hire workers based on their qualifications, not their political connections. He supported a civil rights act to bar racial discrimination, even though the public overwhelmingly supported it.
January 29, 2018
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Meet Your Host
Scott Rank is the host of the History Unplugged Podcast and a PhD in history who specialized in the Ottoman Empire and modern Turkey. Before going down the academic route he worked as a journalist in Istanbul. He has written 12 history books on topics ranging from lost Bronze Age civilizations to the Age of Discovery. Some of his books include The Age of Illumination: Science, Technology, and Reason in the Middle Ages and History’s 9 Most Insane Rulers.. Learn more about him by going to scottrankphd.com.
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