Charles Milton Bell, 1882. Courtesy of Library of Congress
Twenty-first President, 1881-1885
Chester A. Arthur, James A. Garfield's vice president, had received
all his political jobs--including the vice presidency--in return for
his loyalty to the Republican Party. When he became president after
Garfield's assassination, Arthur surprised his party in 1883 by signing
the Pendleton Act, which established the Civil Service Commission.
Under the Act, those seeking jobs in the civil service had to pass
exams pertinent to the position. This did not please the Republicans
who had previously supported Arthur up the political ladder, and he
was not nominated for a second term.