Chester Arthur (1829-1886), the 21st U.S. president, took office after the death of President James Garfield (1831-1881). As president from 1881 to 1885, Arthur advocated for civil service reform. A Vermont native, he became active in Republican politics in the 1850s as a New York City lawyer. In 1871, an era of political machines and patronage, Arthur was named to the powerful position of customs collector for the Port of New York. He later was removed from the job by President Rutherford Hayes (1822-1893) in an attempt to reform the spoils system. Elected to the vice presidency in 1880, Arthur became president after Garfield died following an assassination attempt by a disgruntled job seeker. While in office, Arthur rose above partisanship and in 1883 signed the Pendleton Act, which required government jobs to be distributed based on merit. Suffering from poor health, he did not run for reelection in 1884.