Once upon a time there was a politically ambitious man who told many lies about himself and his family. We shall call him Mr. X. During one of his early political campaigns a political enemy circulated rumors that Mr. X was born in a foreign country and therefore ineligible for high elective office. Mr. X denied the charge saying his father was a British subject but that he (X) was born here.
Mr. X claimed that his mother had always lived in the U.S. which was untrue as she had lived in another country with her husband and had (a child) there. Mr. X realized early on that he was not a “natural born citizen” because he knew that he was born before his father was naturalized. X told lie upon lie about his father’s age, the year the father came to America, even his own age; and he destroyed most of his papers all in the effort to conceal the fact that he was ineligible for high office. Who is Mr. X?
As strange as this may sound, we are not discussing Barack Obama here. Mr. X is Chester A. Arthur, the 21st President of the United States who succeeded to the Presidency upon the assassination of President James Garfield. Due to the diligent research of Leo C. Donofrio with the assistance of Arthur biographer Greg Dehler we learn that Chester A. Arthur was a usurper, never eligible for POTUS. Talk about an amazing confluence of events: just as we are ready to install the ineligible Barack Obama as POTUS we learn that this has happened before. As Donofrio says in his report on the matter; “… it’s no precedent to follow.”
The political enemy mentioned in the lead paragraph was, in reality, one Arthur P. Hinman (see footnote below)*, who may have been hired by the Democrats to smear Arthur. Interestingly, the charge of ineligibilty for POTUS brought by Hinman against Arthur was true, but for the wrong reason: Chester A. Arthur was a British subject at birth (just as Obama was) but by virtue of his birth prior to his father’s naturalization rather than birth on foreign soil. As in Obama’s case, who acknowledges on his website that he had dual citizenship at birth, we find the evidence in plain sight but too late discern its meaning.
*More interesting but entirely without foundation was the Hinman myth circulated in 1880 and 1881. This story asserted that Elder Arthur had three sons: William Chester Alan Arthur, born at the home of his mother’s parents in Dunham, Province of Quebec; Chester Abell Arthur, born at Fairfield; and William Arthur, Jr., born at Hinesburgh, Vermont. When William Arthur, Jr., was born, the oldest son dropped the William and retained the names Chester Alan, as he could do because of the death in infancy of his brother, Chester Abell. He later, according to the Hinman story, appropriated the birth record of the second son in order to sustain his American citizenship. No death record existed to prove this substitution because the father had sold the infant’s body to a medical school! On the basis of these allegations, the American public were assured that Arthur was a British subject and in consequence disqualified for the Vice Presidency or Presidency. It was a political maneuver, and, as such, ineffective. (from “Chester A. Arthur-A Quarter-Century of Machine Politics” by George F. Howe)