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Chester A. Arthur

Presidency

What major civil service reform bill did Arthur sign into law?

President Arthur—the former beneficiary of party politics—signed into law the Pendleton Act in 1883. Named after Democratic senator George Pendleton of Ohio, this measure sought to ensure that civil servants would be hired based on merit, not political party connections. Arthur biographer Zachary Karabell writes in Chester Alan Arthur: The American Presidents Series: “The Pendleton Civil Service Act is the most memorable piece of legislation to emerge from Chester Arthur’s Presidency.”



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