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Jesse James was killed, telephone lines connected New York and Chicago, and international time zones were set. This all occurred during the term of President Chester Arthur, who died this day, Nov. 18, 1886. The son of a Baptist minister from Ireland, Arthur became an abolitionist lawyer, defending the rights of African-Americans and served as inspector general during the Civil War. When James Garfield was assassinated, President Arthur wrote: “The deep grief which fills all hearts should manifest itself with one accord toward the Throne of Infinite Grace. … We should bow before the Almighty and seek from Him … consolation in our affliction.”

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