Chester Alan Arthur was the 21st president of the United States who gained the presidency when President James A. Garfield was assassinated. Arthur rose above loyalty to his political party to enact the first comprehensive U.S. civil service legislation. The act signaled a new era of reform in national politics, but lost Arthur the support of his party, and after completing Garfield's term he was forced to retire from public life.Arthur was born in 1829 in Fairfield, Vermont, he was the oldest son of William Arthur, an Irish-born Baptist minister and schoolteacher, and Malvina Stone Arthur. The family lived in several towns in Vermont and northern New York before they moved to Saratoga County, New York, in 1839. Young Arthur attended an academy at Union Village, New York. After Arthur graduated from Union College in Schenectady, New York, in 1848, he studied law and taught in a local school. In 1852 he was appointed principal of an academy near Albany, New York, and a year later he moved to New York City to work in the law office of Erastus D. Culver, a friend of his father. In 1854 Arthur passed the bar exam and received his license to practice law. He quickly gained a reputation as a supporter of civil rights for blacks, and in 1855 won a case that guaranteed the rights of blacks to ride any streetcar in New York City. In 1856 he opened his own law practice. In 1860 Arthur campaigned in New York City for presidential candidate Abraham Lincoln. He also worked for the reelection of Edwin D. Morgan as governor of New York, and when Morgan won he appointed Arthur engineer in chief of his military staff, an honorary post.Arthur took on considerable responsibility, however, at the outbreak of the Civil War in 1861. President Lincoln placed Governor Morgan in command of the New York volunteers for the Union Army, and the state was expected to recruit and equip the soldiers. Morgan first named Arthur inspector general, then quartermaster general, of t!.