January 16 - 1883 - The Pendleton Civil Service Reform Act is Signed Into Law
The Pendleton Civil Service Reform Act was a direct reaction to the assassination of President James Garfield, who was killed by Charles Guiteau because Guiteau believed he deserved a government appointment. The issue of civil service reform was a long simmering political issue, with the main ire being directed at the spoils system, which gave jobs to political donors. Despite the assasination of Garfield, a bill for civil service reform seemed unlikely to be signed by the new President, Chester A. Arthur. Arthur was a "Stalwart," one of the chief opponents in the Republican Party to reform, and a former Collector of the Port of New York, a job he got through the spoils system. Yet Arthur seemed to see the need for change, and passed the law initiated by Ohio Senator George Pendleton. After that, the Pendleton Civil Service Reform Act would drastically change the way the American government worked.