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The American Presidency Essay

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The American Presidency

Introduction:

The paper includes a detailed analysis of the political career of the United States’ President, Stephen Grover Cleveland. It will start from a bit introduction from the starting of his life, followed by the high lights of his beginning of political career till his retirement.

Background:

Stephen Grover Cleveland, President of the United States who completed two nonconsecutive stipulations. He was born on 18th March, 1837 in Caldwell, New Jersey. (Frank Freidel, 1994) His Father, Richard Falley Cleveland, a country clergyman of the Presbyterian Church, was descended from Moses Cleveland, who went to Massachusetts from England in 1635. Ann Neal Cleveland, his mother, was the daughter of a Baltimore. In 1841 the family moved to Fayetteville, N.Y., and was prevailed upon by his uncle, Lewis Allen, to remain with the Allen family. Cleveland obtained a clerkship in a law office and subsequent to few years of study was permitted to the bar in 1859. When drafted for the civil war service, he hired a substitute, as was the custom of the time but it proved to be an act which was politically embarrassing later in his career.

Early Public Life:

Cleveland made slow but steady progress in his chosen profession, and in 1863 was appointed assistant district attorney of Erie County, New York. In 1871, he turned out to be the sheriff and founded a status as a straightforward, sincere and competent civic bureaucrat. At the closing stages of his reorganization contender for mayor of buffalo, Cleveland was effortlessly designated. He promptly instituted many reforms, introducing efficiency and economy into the municipal administration. He was called the “veto mayor” because of his consistent habit of nullifying the city council’s attempts to increase expenditure of public funds.

The year was 1882 found the Republican Party in New York State disorganized and in disrepute as a result of corruption. Seizing this opportunity and sensing the vote-getting value of a candidate not connected with Tammany hall, the democrats nominated Cleveland for governor. Attracting political support from elements of both parties, he was elected by a plurality of 192,854 votes. At Albany, Cleveland displayed the qualities that had characterized his work as mayor. He incurred the wrath of machine politicians, especially those of Tammany Hall, by refusing to dispense patronage on a party basis, and he supported the efforts of the door Roosevelt, who was then beginning his campaign for municipal reform.

In 1884 the Republican Party nominated James G. Blaine for the presidency. Most people conceded that he was an able man, but his candidacy did not please the faction of the party known as “Mugwumps.” The Mugwumps proclaimed that if a self-governing contender were accepted by them, they would support him. The democrats, over Tammany’s opposition, chose Grover Cleveland on the second ballot. The ensuing political campaign was conducted at a notably low level, and the several errors of both candidates were raked up and embellished. Cleveland was charged of being the father of an unlawful child. Asked to issue a denial, he admitted the story and advised that the public be told the truth. During the last few days of the campaign Dr.Samuel D. Burchard, one of the Blaine’s supporters, rashly referred to the democrats as the party of “rum, Romanism, and rebellion.” The erithet cost the republicans the Irish vote and influenced many other people to vote for Cleveland. He was elected twenty-second president of the United States by a plurality of 29,214 popular votes.

First Presidential Term:

Cleveland was forty-eight when he took office on March 4, 1885. He was a bachelor and an outdoor man, of short and solid build, with a fondness for hunting and fishing. He had little concern for social activities.

At the democratic convention a speaker had said of Cleveland, “We love him most for the enemies he has made.” (Denson, 2001)During his presidency he continued to live up to that description. By his refusal to remove large numbers of Re-publican officeholders he angered many democrats, and by appointing two Southerners to his cabinet he infuriated scores of Republicans who could not forget the Civil War. In ordering the war department in 1887 to return captured Confederate battle flags to the southern states, he further antagonized the professional Northerners throughout the nation. Moreover, he vetoed more than one hundred bills passed at the first session of congress. Many of these were private pension bills which congress customarily passed automatically. Cleveland’s most vigorous stand during his first administration was for a reduction in the high tariff, which he considered a grant to special interests and the main source of a dangerous treasury surplus. He dedicated his whole memorandum of December 1887 to a call for the first important tariff reduction in thirty years. The Republican-controlled senate, however, defeated the mills tariff bill, which included most of the president suggestions.

The democratic convention of 1888 renominated Cleveland lost the land but did not endorse the mills bill. Cleveland lost the ensuing election to Benjamin Harrison even though he won more popular votes. The following year he returned to New York, where he continued the exercise of law, but after the course of the McKinley Tariff Act in 1890 a national movement was started for his renomination. He easily overcame the opposition of the New York political machine led by David B. Hill and was nominated at the Chicago convention of 1892 on the first ballot. Running on a platform that pledged the party to tariff revision, he won an easy victory over Harrison. (Berard et al, 19878)

Second Term:

When Cleveland took office as twenty-fourth president on March 4, 1893, a successful legislative program seemed assured. His party, pledged to tariff revision, controlled both houses of congress, and the President’s personal prestige was higher than it had ever been. Before constructive legislation could be passed, however, an industrial depression struck the nation. A demand by the agricultural legislation struck the nation. A demand by the agricultural west for the free coinage of silver and the rapidly shrinking value of that metal had caused a run on gold until the national reserve had fallen well below the hundred million dollar mark believed necessary for safety. Cleveland at all times had been a sound money man, and when the run on the funds sustained he called upon congress to revoke the Sherman Silver Purchase act. The west, demanding coinage of more instead of less silver in order to raise depressed farm prices, immediately denounced him as a Goldberg friend of West Street. Cleveland won his point in a tempestuous session of congress, but in doing so he split the party and lost control of it for the rest of his administration. He was further attacked by western inflationist’s when he negotiated a bond issue through JPMorgan and company to secure foreign gold to protect government reserves. Finally, he lost the support of many laboring men by his actions in the Pullman strike of many laboring men by his actions in the Pullman strike of 1894. Over the protests of governor J.P.Altgeld of Illinois, he ordered Federal troops to Chicago to maintain the carriage of the mails, and when violence seemed to threaten secured a federal court injunction against the strikers. Within a week the strike was broken, and Eugene V. Debs, its leader, was subsequently imprisoned for disobeying the injunction. With the Democratic Party split, the enactment of tariff legislation was unlikely. The Wilson-Gorman tariff legislation was unlikely. The Wilson-Gorman tariff bill was unsuccessful so completely to meet up the party’s word of honor that Cleveland condemned it allocating it to become law exclusive of his signature. Meanwhile, president had to undergo an operation for cancer of the jaw, and in view of the critical nature of the times his illness was kept from the public.

Cleveland had a relatively free hand in his conduct of foreign affairs. He was an imperialist and in 1893, after an investigation, he repudiated the Hawaiian treaty of annexation negotiated under Harrison. He likewise tried to enforce strict neutrality in the Cuban rebellion between 1895 and 1897, despite the clamor of the jingoes for intervention. On the other hand, he was exceedingly firm in his defense of the Monroe doctrine as applied to the 1895 boundary clash amid Great Britain and Venezuela. He maintained escritoire of State of Richard Olney’s statement that the United States was almost independent on this continent and that its fiat was law. The president’s intervention, however, caused the British-Venezuelan boundary dispute to be submitted to arbitration. In foreign as well as domestic affairs his course was marked by blunt honesty and stubborn courage, without much imagination.

Cleveland wielded little influence in the democratic convention of 1896; the majority of his party was out of sympathy with him and his policies. When William Jennings Bryan was nominated on a free silver platform, many of Cleveland’s old followers met separately as Gold Democrats and nominated a third ticked.

Retirement:

In 1897 Cleveland retired to Princeton, N.J. He became a trustee of Princeton University and in 1905 he was selected as of the three men to reorganize the Equitable Life Assurance Society after that company had been almost ruined by mismanagement. There was talk of his renomination in the 1904, but he gave it little encouragement. Cleveland died on June 24, 1908, in Princeton. In 1886 he had married Frances Folsom, daughter of a former law partner. From this White House marriage two sons and three daughters were born.

Summary of His Political Career:

Grover Cleveland was best known as the 22nd and 24th president of the United States of America. Grover Cleveland is the single U.S. president yet, to serve up for 2 (two) non- successive provisions. Cleveland was a Democrat who had achieved a standing for competence and clean administration throughout terms as mayor of Buffalo and after that administrator of New York. He was designated president in 1884, following Chester A. Arthur. Cleveland provided one term but then was deposed by Republican Benjamin Harrison in the voting of 1888. Cleveland came again the support in 1892 by removing Harrison and recurring to office for an additional four-year term.  In 1897 Grover Cleveland was substituted by William McKinley. Cleveland became the initial and single president to tie the knot in the White House by walking down the aisle with Frances Folsom in 1886. (When he was 49 and she was 21.) And he effectively covered a severe remedial situation: his cancerous upper jawbone was detached and reinstate with a vulcanized rubber embed in an undisclosed 1893 operation. (Frank Freidel, 1994)

Cleveland is portrayed on the U.S. $1000 bill. Cleveland lost the ballot vote of 1888 in spite of receiving additional votes; Cleveland collected 5,540,329 ballots to Harrison’s 5,439,853, but Harrison won the electoral vote 233 to 168. A comparable scenario occurred in 2000, when electoral winner George W. Bush overcame admired vote champion Al Gore, Cleveland’s daughter.

References:

Frank Freidel, Presidents of the United States of America, Published by DIANE Publishing, 1994

John V. Denson, Reassessing the Presidency: The Rise of the Executive State and the Decline of Freedom, Published by Ludwig von Mises Institute, 2001

A B Berard, Charles and Mary Beard, History of the United States, Published by Plain Label Books, 1878

Federal Writers’ Project, New Jersey, a Guide to Its Present and Past, Published by US History Publishers, 2007

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