Document 70417

C19B5-1O99 C 1fl3-18O7
It is a matter of most historians being in agreement that
Grover Cleveland was the strongest President between
Abraham Lincoln and Theodore Roosevelt. He was the
first Democrat elected after the Civil War, and he remains
yet today the only President to ever have served two terms
in office without them being consecutive terms. Once in
the White House, he quickly earned a reputation for saying “no,”
as his political philosophy
centered around his belief in allowing the economic forces of
a society to work themselves
through with as little intervention by the government as possible.
Because of this, he angered
the farmers who were looking for relief to compensate for their drough
t-stricken crops. He
also alienated many war veterans by refusing a number of easy-m
oney pensions. Cleveland
also had a great many problems with labor in his obsession to rid govern
ment of the spoils
system. Such actions made him unpopular at the end of his first term
and he was defeated.
The years between 1888 and 1892 saw America return to loyalty
and popularity for Grover
Cleveland, and he was elected President again in 1892.
Cleveland was born in Caidwell, New Jersey, in 1837, one of nine childre
n of a Presbyterian
minister. His family had very little money, and Grover worked hard
at several jobs trying to
supplement the family income. His father died when he was only
16, making life even more
difficult. He studied law while working as a clerk in a law office in Buffal
o, New York, and was
admitted to the bar in 1859. He soon developed a reputation of being
totally devoted to his
clients. His modest entry into politics began in Buffalo, where he
was first a ward supervisor,
an assistant district attorney and then a sheriff. In 1881 his reputat
ion for honesty and reform
swept him into office as mayor of Buffalo. His devotion to honest
government grew and he
was soon after elected Governor of New York. In the presidential electio
n of 1884, he won the
nomination of the Democratic Party as well as the support of a faction of
Republicans called “Mugwumps.” His election victory over Republican James
G. Blame,
however, was very close, winning by less than 30,000 votes.
In office, Cleveland faced a Republican Congress that continued
to block much of the legisla
tion he wanted enacted. He also used his own power of veto
to stop their “extravagance in
spending,” as he put it. His dealing with the tariff issue and
the problems associated with
U.S. currency were perhaps the most important issues of his first
term. In 1886 he married
Frances Folsom, who was only 21 years old and 28 years younge
r than Cleveland. She was
the daughter of Cleveland’s former law partner. When her father
died, Grover became her
guardian and raised her to adulthood under the watchful eye
of her mother. His affection for
her turned to love, and the nation was delighted when the two
were the first to marry in the
White House. The couple had five children, and her grace and charm
made her a popular First
Lady. When Cleveland was elected to a second term, the couple
was far more popular than
Cleveland had been when he entered the White House in 1885. Grover
Cleveland died in 1908
at the age of 71.
Presidential Trivia
1. Grover Cleveland, a good-natured large man, had the affectionate nickname of
2. Cleveland won the race for the presidency in 1884, with help from a faction of
Republican reformers who called themselves the
3. Grover Cleveland called his young 21-year-old bride, Frances,
4. The man who ousted Grover Cleveland from the White House in 1888 was later defeated
5. The Democratic political machine that had controlled New York City until Grover
Cleveland became Governor of New York and helped destroy the machine was called
6. The Haymarket Riot in 1886 was the result of a clash between dissatisfied workers and
employees at the
plant in Chicago.
7. While in the White House, Grover Cleveland and his wife Frances also maintained a
house called
where they occasionally went to be alone.
8. During Cleveland’s second term of office, what secretly happened to him aboard a
friend’s yacht on the East River—a secret that was kept from the public for many years?
9. An intense boundary dispute between Great Britain and Venezuela resulted in Cleveland
threatening to use armed force against Great Britain if the matter wasn’t decided by ar
bitration. He based his threat on the
Doctrine, which warned Euro
pean countries against intervention in America.
10. A group of discontented, unemployed workers,
sought financial aid by marching unsuccessfully on Washington under their leader,
Jacob Coxey, who was arrested by Cleveland for walking on the grass.
11. In 1886, President Grover Cleveland dedicated a famous gift from France on Bedloe’s
Island called the
12. One of Grover Cleveland’s chief concerns during his second term of office was in main
as the standard of U.S. currency.
For ThinkIng and Discussing
What was the general overall political philosophy of Grover Cleveland that
made him un
popular during his first term of office even though people respected him
for his honesty?
How would you describe life in the White House during the Grover
Cleveland years?
When Cleveland took office for the second time, the nation, as whole,
was overjoyed
to see him. When he left the White House four years later, his popula
rity had worn thin.
What caused his popularity to decline to “a battered old name”
as he referred to it?
What steps did Cleveland take to ensure that gold remained the
standard of U.S. curren