The Measure of Greatness: Chester Arthur (1881-1885)

The Busybody

“For those who want presidents to be heroes, for those who expect them to be larger-than-life figures, Chester Arthur’s tenure in office isn’t satisfying. The nature of our expectations would have to change dramatically for Arthur to be reevaluated as one of the country’s best presidents.” (Zachary Karabbell, Chester Alan Arthur)

Or maybe not dramatically. If our expectations were based on a president’s actual policies — not his charisma, not his management style, and not if he happened to serve during a time of war (or initiated a bad one that could have been avoided) — then maybe, just maybe, someone like Chester Arthur would emerge rather clearly as one of America’s best presidents.

He was a repeat of John Tyler: an “accidental” president no one ever counted on, thrust into the role with the sudden death of his superior. And like Tyler, he was seriously underestimated by his…

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About jamesbradfordpate

My name is James Pate. This blog is about my journey. I read books. I watch movies and TV shows. I go to church. I try to find meaning. And, when I can’t do that, I just talk about stuff that I find interesting. I have degrees in fields of religious studies. I have an M.Phil. in the History of Biblical Interpretation from Hebrew Union College in Cincinnati, Ohio. I also have an M.A. in Hebrew Bible from Jewish Theological Seminary, an M.Div. from Harvard Divinity School, and a B.A. from DePauw University.
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