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Inauguration of Chester A. Arthur

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Inauguration of Chester A. Arthur

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The inauguration of Chester A. Arthur as the 21st President of the United States took place on September 20, 1881. The inauguration marked the commencement of the term of Chester A. Arthur as President, following the death of President James A. Garfield. It was the fourth emergency swearing-in to take place during the 19th century, and the first inauguration to take place in New York City since George Washington's first inauguration in 1789.

Garfield shot

On July 2, 1881 President Garfield was shot in the back by Charles J. Guiteau, who shouted: "I am a Stalwart of the Stalwarts... Arthur is president now!" Arthur, who knew nothing of this in advance, was mortified.[1]

Eighty day crisis

Arthur was cautious; he knew that there were a great number of people who thought that he had something to do with the attempted murder of the President, and didn't want anything to do with succession until it was actually necessary; in fact, he went into seclusion, largely confining himself to his house in New York City and avoiding public appearances. Thus, for two months and 18 days, the country drifted, leaderless, hanging on every reported detail of Garfield's health without much attention to the business of government. On September 19, 1881, Garfield died and Arthur succeeded to the Presidency.[2]

Assumption of office

The inauguration of Arthur took place privately on September 20, 1881. The first time was just past midnight at his Lexington Avenue residence on September 20 by New York Supreme Court justice John R. Brady; the second time was upon his return to Washington two days later with Chief Justice Morrison R. Waite officiating.[3]

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