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.
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."
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 km²). 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.
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.
|Vice President||Thomas A. Hendricks||1885|
|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|
|Vice President||Adlai E. Stevenson||1893–1897|
|Secretary of State||Walter Q. Gresham||1893–1895|
|Secretary of the Treasury||John G. Carlisle||1893–1897|
|Secretary of War||Daniel S. Lamont||1893–1895|
|Attorney General||Richard Olney||1893–1895|
|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
- American Federation of Labor is created (1886)
- Haymarket Riot (1886)
- Wabash Case (1886)
- Interstate Commerce Act (1887)
- Dawes Act (1887)
- Homestead Strike (1892)
- Omaha Populist Convention (1892)
- Panic of 1893
- Wilson-Gorman Tariff (1894)
- Coxey's Army (1894)
- United States v. E. C. Knight Co. (1895)
- U.S. presidential election, 1884
- U.S. presidential election, 1888
- U.S. presidential election, 1892
- History of the United States (1865-1918)
- White House biography
- First Inaugural Address
- Second Inaugural Address
- Obituary for Grover Cleveland
|Preceded by: (first term)
Chester A. Arthur
|President of the United States
|Succeeded by: (first term)
|Preceded by: (second term)
|Succeeded by: (second term)
Alonzo B. Cornell
|Governor of New York
David B. Flower
Winfield Scott Hancock
|Democratic Party Presidential candidate
1884 (won) - 1888 (lost) - 1892 (won)
William Jennings Bryan
|Presidents of the United States of America|
|Washington | J. Adams | Jefferson | Madison | Monroe | J.Q. Adams | Jackson | Van Buren | W.H. Harrison | Tyler | Polk | Taylor | Fillmore | Pierce | Buchanan | Lincoln | A. Johnson | Grant | Hayes | Garfield | Arthur | Cleveland | B. Harrison | Cleveland | McKinley | T. Roosevelt | Taft | Wilson | Harding | Coolidge | Hoover | F.D. Roosevelt | Truman | Eisenhower | Kennedy | L.B. Johnson | Nixon | Ford | Carter | Reagan | G.H.W. Bush | Clinton | G.W. Bush|