Grover Cleveland was the first member of the Democrat Party to be
elected as the President after the Civil War. He was the only president in the
history of American politics to leave White House and return back as President
for a second term after a gap of four years. Cleveland was born in 1837, in New
Jersey. His father, Richard Falley Cleveland, was a Presbyterian minister and he
was one of the nine children in the family. Cleveland spent most of his
childhood in upstate New York. He was noted as a good lawyer and for his
high-powered focus and concentration on any task that he had to do.
At the age of Forty Four, he became a prominent figure in American politics and
was elected President in just three years of his political presence. In 1881, he
was elected as the Mayor of Buffalo and soon, the Governor of New York.
With the joint support from the reform Republicans and the Democrats, Cleveland
won the elections without any problems. The reform Republicans supported
Cleveland as they were against the other candidates.
Cleveland was a bachelor when he became president and was not too comfortable
with the White House at first. He wrote to a friend of his, “I must go to
dinner, 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 was the only
President to be married in the White House when he married Frances Folsom in
Cleveland was strictly against any favoritism and powerfully pursued policies
that barred any kind of special favors to any form of economic groups. He vetoed
a bill that was to distribute seed grain worth ten thousand dollars among
farmers in drought-stricken 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 vetoed a number of private pension bills for Fraud Civil War veterans.
Congress passed a bill under pressure from the Grand Army of the Republic, which
granted pensions in case of non-military disabilities too. Cleveland vetoed this
Cleveland ordered a full scale investigation of the western lands, that the
railroads held through government grants and forced them to give back a whooping
81 million acres of land. He also passed the first law that attempted Federal
regulation of railroads by signing the Interstate Commerce Act. A few months
before the next elections, Cleveland called on Congress in order to decrease the
high protective tariffs. He was told that he was giving the Republicans a good
enough issue for the election campaign. However, he retorted on it
saying, “What is the use of being elected or re-elected unless you stand
for something?" Cleveland lost the next elections; although a majority of
popular votes were won by him.
Cleveland was elected back in 1892. However, this term was not popular for him
like the previous one. Nevertheless, He handled the railroad strikers in Chicago
in a very forceful way and vigorously forced Great Britain to agree to
arbitration on a disputed boundary issue. But the policies used by Cleveland to
handle depression made him unpopular.
His party deserted him and he left the White House after the end of the term.
Cleveland retired to Princeton after that and died in 1908.