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Grover Cleveland

Grover Cleveland
Grover Cleveland

22nd President

24th President
Term of Office:

March 4, 1885March 4, 1889

March 4, 1893March 4, 1897

Chester A. Arthur (1885)

Benjamin Harrison (1893)
Succeeded by:

Benjamin Harrison (1889)

William McKinley (1897)
Date of Birth March 18, 1837
Place of Birth: Caldwell, New Jersey
Date of Death: June 24, 1908
Place of Death: Princeton, New Jersey
First Ladies: Rose Cleveland (sister)
Frances Cleveland (wife)
Profession: lawyer
Political party: Democrat
Vice President:

Thomas A. Hendricks (1885, died in office)

Adlai E. Stevenson (18931897)

Stephen Grover Cleveland (March 18, 1837June 24, 1908) was the 22nd (18851889) and 24th (18931897) President of the United States, and the only president to serve two non-consecutive terms.



Cleveland was born in Caldwell, New Jersey to Rev. Richard Cleveland and Anne Neal. He was one of nine children. His father was a Presbyterian minister. He was raised in upstate New York. As a lawyer in Buffalo, he became notable for his single-minded concentration upon whatever task faced him.

At 44, he emerged into a political prominence that carried him to the White House in three years. Running as a reformer, he was elected Mayor of Buffalo in 1881, and later, Governor of New York.


Cleveland won the Presidency with the combined support of Democrats and reform Republicans, the "Mugwumps," who disliked the record of his opponent James Blaine of Maine.

A bachelor, Cleveland was ill at ease at first with all the comforts of the White House. "I must go to dinner," he wrote a friend, "but I wish it was to eat a pickled herring, a Swiss cheese and a chop at Louis' instead of the French stuff I shall find."

In June 1886, Cleveland married 21-year-old Frances Folsom; he was the second President to be married while in office (after John Tyler), and the only President to be married in the White House.

Cleveland vigorously pursued a policy barring special favors to any economic group. Vetoing a bill to appropriate $10,000 to distribute seed grain among drought-stricken farmers in Texas, he wrote: "Federal aid in such cases encourages the expectation of paternal care on the part of the Government and weakens the sturdiness of our national character. . . . "

He also vetoed many private pension bills to American Civil War veterans whose claims were fraudulent. When Congress, pressured by the Grand Army of the Republic, passed a bill granting pensions for disabilities not caused by military service, Cleveland vetoed it, too.

He angered the railroads by ordering an investigation of western lands they held by Government grant. He forced them to return 81,000,000 acres (328,000 km&sup2). He also signed the Interstate Commerce Act, the first law attempting Federal regulation of the railroads.

In December 1887, he called on Congress to reduce high protective tariffs. Told that he had given Republicans an effective issue for the campaign of 1888, he retorted, "What is the use of being elected or re-elected unless you stand for something?" But Cleveland was defeated in 1888; although he won a larger popular majority than the Republican candidate Benjamin Harrison, he received fewer electoral votes.

After running partly on a platform that a Republican victory would lead to civil rights for blacks and then "Negro domination", Cleveland was elected again in 1892. In office, Cleveland faced an acute depression. He dealt directly with the Treasury crisis rather than with business failures, farm mortgage foreclosures, and unemployment. He obtained repeal of the mildly inflationary Sherman Silver Purchase Act and, with the aid of Wall Street, maintained the Treasury's gold reserve.

When railroad strikers in Chicago violated an injunction, Cleveland sent Federal troops to enforce it. "If it takes the entire army and navy of the United States to deliver a post card in Chicago," he thundered, "that card will be delivered." Cleveland also forced the United Kingdom to accept arbitration of a disputed boundary in Venezuela.

Oil painting of Grover Cleveland, painted in 1899 by the Swedish painter Anders Zorn.
Oil painting of Grover Cleveland, painted in 1899 by the Swedish painter Anders Zorn.

Cleveland ran for the Democratic nomination in 1896, but the Democrats nominated William Jennings Bryan.

After leaving the White House, Cleveland lived in retirement in Princeton, New Jersey. He died in 1908 from a heart attack.

Cleveland's portrait was on the U.S. $1000 bill from 1928 to 1946. He also appeared on a $1000 of 1907, and the first few issues of Federal Reserve notes from 1914, on the $20.

Cleveland had an operation in which a cancerous lump on the left side of his upper lip (his cigar chewing side) was removed in a yacht in the ocean. The secret (known not even by Congress or the Vice President) was not released until several years after his death (25 years after the operation). The prosthetic piece put in the lump's place was made of India rubber.

Cabinet (1885–1889)

President Grover Cleveland 1885–1889
Vice President Thomas A. Hendricks 1885
  None 1885–1889
Secretary of State Thomas F. Bayard 1885–1889
Secretary of the Treasury Daniel Manning 1885–1887
  Charles S. Fairchild 1887–1889
Secretary of War William C. Endicott 1885–1889
Attorney General Augustus H. Garland 1885–1889
Postmaster General William F. Vilas 1885–1888
  Don M. Dickinson 1888–1889
Secretary of the Navy William C. Whitney 1885–1889
Secretary of the Interior Lucius Q. C. Lamar 1885–1888
  William F. Vilas 1888–1889
Secretary of Agriculture Norman J. Colman 1889

Cabinet (1893–1897)

Portrait of Cleveland
Portrait of Cleveland

President Grover Cleveland 1893–1897
Vice President Adlai E. Stevenson 1893–1897
Secretary of State Walter Q. Gresham 1893–1895
  Richard Olney 1895–1897
Secretary of the Treasury John G. Carlisle 1893–1897
Secretary of War Daniel S. Lamont 1893–1895
Attorney General Richard Olney 1893–1895
  Judson Harmon 1895–1897
Postmaster General Wilson S. Bissell 1893–1895
  William L. Wilson 1895–1897
Secretary of the Navy Hilary A. Herbert 1893–1897
Secretary of the Interior Hoke Smith 1893–1896
  David R. Francis 1896–1897
Secretary of Agriculture Julius S. Morton 1893–1897

Supreme Court appointments

Cleveland appointed the following Justices to the Supreme Court of the United States during his first term.

Cleveland appointed the following Justices to the Supreme Court during his second term.

Significant events during presidencies

Related articles

External links

Preceded by: (first term)
Chester A. Arthur
President of the United States
1885–1889, 1893–1897
Succeeded by: (first term)
Benjamin Harrison
Preceded by: (second term)
Benjamin Harrison
Succeeded by: (second term)
William McKinley
Preceded by:
Alonzo B. Cornell
Governor of New York
Succeeded by:
David B. Flower

Preceded by:
Winfield Scott Hancock
Democratic Party Presidential candidate
1884 (won) - 1888 (lost) - 1892 (won)
Followed by:
William Jennings Bryan

Last updated: 10-24-2004 05:10:45