HomeHistory1881 Chester A. Arthur sworn in as 21st president

1881 Chester A. Arthur sworn in as 21st president

On his day in history, Sept.20th, 1881, The 21st President of the United States was sworn into office.

The year 1881 began with a Republican president, Rutherford B. Hayes. He served out his one and only term, and then he officially turned over the reins to James A. Garfield in March 1881. Four months into Garfield’s term, Charles Guiteau shot him on July 2, claiming Garfield had refused to give Guiteau a political position.

Following the death of President James A. Garfield the previous evening, Chester A. Arthur was sworn in as the 21st president of the United States at his New York City home on September 20, 1881.

Arthur learned of Garfield’s death in a telegram from a member of Garfield’s cabinet around midnight on the night of September 19, 1881. He was at home with Police Commissioner Stephen B. French, District Attorney Daniel G. Rollins and attorney Elihu Root.

President Arthur’s cabinet members wired him that he should “take the oath of office as president of the United States without delay.”

Chester A. Arthur’s inauguration marked the beginning of his only term (a partial term of 3 years, 165 days) as President.

On January 20, 2019, it was the first non-scheduled inauguration in New York City since George Washington’s in 1789. It was the last non-scheduled inauguration to occur in the 19th century.

In Washington, DC, on September 22, 1881, President Arthur repeated his oath before Chief Justice Morrison Waite at the US Capitol.

Dorothy Smith
Dorothy’s friends call her the walking encyclopedia. She would be a great teammate for trivia! She volunteers at the local history museum as a welcome center greeter. Dorothy also leads the children’s book circle time at her neighborhood library.
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