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Grover Cleveland: Twenty-Second and Twenty-Fourth President, 1885-1889, 1893-1897
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message 1: by Bentley, Group Founder, Leader, Chief (new)

Bentley | 44179 comments Mod
Grover Cleveland

The First Democrat elected after the Civil War, Grover Cleveland was the only President to leave the White House and return for a second term four years later.

One of nine children of a Presbyterian minister, Cleveland was born in New Jersey in 1837. 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 G. 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 only President 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 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. 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.

Elected again in 1892, 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's blunt treatment of the railroad strikers stirred the pride of many Americans. So did the vigorous way in which he forced Great Britain to accept arbitration of a disputed boundary in Venezuela. But his policies during the depression were generally unpopular. His party deserted him and nominated William Jennings Bryan in 1896.

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

Source: The White House Biography

message 2: by Steven (new)

Steven Harbin (stevenharbin) | 105 comments A couple of books about Grover Cleveland that I thought looked interesting:
An Honest President The Life and Presidencies of Grover Cleveland by H. Paul Jeffers by H. Paul Jeffers H. Paul Jeffers
Grover Cleveland (The American Presidents Series) by Henry F. Graff by Henry F. Graff Henry F. Graff
and a book on the 1890's that has a good section on Cleveland's 2nd term and his policies:

The Reckless Decade America in the 1890s by H.W. Brands H.W. Brands H.W. Brands

Any other suggestions for books dealing with Cleveland and his Presidencies?

message 3: by Bentley, Group Founder, Leader, Chief (new)

Bentley | 44179 comments Mod
Thank you so much Steven for your adds. I hope others jump in to add some other books about Cleveland.

message 4: by Bryan (new)

Bryan Craig Thanks Steven. Great adds.

Here is
The Presidencies of Grover Cleveland (American Presidency Series) by Richard E. Welch, Jr. by Richard E. Welch, Jr.

An older account, but has won the 1933 Pulitzer are the two books done by Allan Nevis. He actually edited Cleveland's papers. I'd like to read them:

To the Loss of the Presidency (Grover Cleveland a Study in Courage, Vol. 1) by Allan Nevins by Allan Nevins

To the End of a Career (Grover Cleveland a Study in Courage, Vol. 2) by Allan Nevins by Allan Nevins

Elizabeth (Alaska) Bryan, the Nevins book is also listed as:

Grover Cleveland Allan Nevins

which I post because this is the one my library has. ;-)

message 6: by Bryan (new)

Bryan Craig Elizabeth (Alaska) wrote: "Bryan, the Nevins book is also listed as:

Grover Cleveland Allan Nevins

which I post because this is the one my library has. ;-)"

Great, thanks Elizabeth.

If you don't find a book cover, you can say that:

(no image)Grover Cleveland by Allan Nevins

Elizabeth (Alaska) Ok, and thanks for your generosity. I think I actually messed up and meant to post the cover, even if there really isn't one. ;-)

message 8: by Bryan (new)

Bryan Craig Some people post the no cover image, some write (no image). I think as long as we see the cover if one exists and tell people one doesn't in some way, you are good.

message 9: by Bryan (new)

Bryan Craig Here is another book on Cleveland:

Grover Cleveland A Study in Character by Alyn Brodsky by Alyn Brodsky

Library Journal:
Grover Cleveland bought his way out of the Civil War draft, may have fathered an illegitimate daughter, and married someone 27 years his junior. Whereas some may see a theme in these events that helps explain his later conservative Victorian behavior, popular historian Brodsky (The Kings Depart; Madame Lunch & Friend) writes an old-fashioned political biography of America's 22d and 24th chief executiveDthe first major one in more than a half-century. He regards the split-term president as the nation's most underrated chief executive and the best of the eight who served between Abraham Lincoln and Theodore Roosevelt. In the short run, notes Brodsky, Cleveland lost public favor but lived long enough to regain it. On the other hand, his workaholic and inflexible style often undermined his effectiveness. Except for an occasional negative comparison to some recent contemporary presidents, this account is balanced, readable, and worthwhile.

message 10: by Bryan (new)

Bryan Craig A new book on the 1888 election:

Minority Victory Gilded Age Politics and the Front Porch Campaign of 1888 (American Presidential Elections) by Charles W. Calhoun by Charles W. Calhoun

Product description:
During the run-up to the 1888 presidential election, Americans flocked to party rallies, marched in endless parades, and otherwise participated zealously in the political process. Although they faced a choice between two uncharismatic candidates--Republican challenger Benjamin Harrison and Democratic incumbent Grover Cleveland--voters took intense interest in the issues they espoused. And though Harrison became one of only four candidates to win the presidency while losing the popular vote, the lasting significance of the election was its foreshadowing of both the modern campaign and the modern presidency.

Charles W. Calhoun shows how this presidential contest not only exemplified Gilded Age politics but also marked a major shift from divisive sectional rhetoric to an emphasis on voters' economic concerns. Calhoun first explores Cleveland's rise to the presidency and explains why he turned to economic issues, especially tariff reduction, in framing his bid for reelection. He then provides a detailed analysis of the raucous Republican national convention and describes Harrison's effective front porch campaign, in which he proclaimed his views almost daily to visiting voters and reporters. Calhoun also explores the role of party organizations, business interests, labor, women, African Americans, and third parties in the campaign; discusses alleged fraud in the election; and analyzes the Democrats' suppression of black votes in the South.

The 1888 campaign marked an important phase in the evolution of American political culture and augured significant innovations in American politics and governance. The Republicans' performance, in particular, reflected the party's future winning strategies: emphasis on economic development, personal participation by the presidential candidate, a well-financed organization, and coordination with beneficiaries of the party's agenda.

Harrison set important precedents for campaigning and then, once in office, fashioned new leadership strategies and governing techniques--emphasizing legislative intervention, extensive travel, and a focus on foreign affairs--that would become the stock-in-trade of later presidents. His Republican successors built upon these transformations, making the GOP the majority party for a generation and putting the presidency at the center of American governance--where it has remained ever since.

message 11: by Bryan (new)

Bryan Craig A new book. We are seeing more discussion of his operation to remove a tumor in his mouth and the administration covered it up.

The President Is a Sick Man Wherein the Supposedly Virtuous Grover Cleveland Survives a Secret Surgery at Sea and Vilifies the Courageous Newspaperman Who Dared Expose the Truth by Matthew Algeo Matthew Algeo

Product info:
On July 1, 1893, President Grover Cleveland vanished. He boarded a friend’s yacht, sailed into the calm blue waters of Long Island Sound, and--poof!--disappeared. He would not be heard from again for five days. What happened during those five days, and in the days and weeks that followed, was so incredible that, even when the truth was finally revealed, many Americans simply would not believe it.

The President Is a Sick Man details an extraordinary but almost unknown chapter in American history: Grover Cleveland’s secret cancer surgery and the brazen political cover-up by a politician whose most memorable quote was “Tell the truth.” When an enterprising reporter named E. J. Edwards exposed the secret operation, Cleveland denied it. The public believed the “Honest President,” and Edwards was dismissed as “a disgrace to journalism.” The facts concerning the disappearance of Grover Cleveland that summer were so well concealed that even more than a century later a full and fair account has never been published. Until now.

message 12: by Alisa (new)

Alisa (mstaz) Recently published book on President Cleveland:

A Secret Life The Lies and Scandals of President Grover Cleveland by Charles Lachman by Charles Lachman
Product Description
A Secret Life sets the record straight on the sex scandal that nearly took down a president.

The child was born on September 14, 1874, at the only hospital in Buffalo, New York, that offered maternity services for unwed mothers. It was a boy, and though he entered the world in a state of illegitimacy, a distinguished name was given to this newborn: Oscar Folsom Cleveland. The son of the future president of the United States—Grover Cleveland. The story of how the man who held the nation’s highest office eventually came to take responsibility for his son is a thrilling one that reads like a sordid romance novel—including allegations of rape, physical violence, and prostitution. The stunning lengths that Cleveland undertook to conceal what really happened the evening of his son’s conception are truly astonishing—including forcing the unwed mother, Maria Halpin, into an insane asylum.

A Secret Life also finally reveals what happened to Grover Cleveland’s son. Some historians have suggested that he became an alcoholic and died a young man—but Lachman definitively establishes his fate here for the first time. In this gripping historical narrative, Charles Lachman sets the scandal-plagued record straight with a tightly-coiled plot that provides for narrative history at its best.

message 13: by Bryan (last edited Aug 11, 2011 06:02AM) (new)

Bryan Craig Wow, very interesting, Alisa; it seems like it is coming from a small press that worries me sometimes in the history arena and I'd like to see if it has citations. I'm going to put it on my TBR list, thanks!

message 14: by Bentley, Group Founder, Leader, Chief (last edited Aug 11, 2011 07:22AM) (new)

Bentley | 44179 comments Mod
Alisa, I think that Lachman's account may be the real deal. The son eventually became adopted - name changed to James King and he became a doctor. Maria Halpin, a church going widow, had altogether a different and difficult experience with Cleveland. As is usually the case, the mother's reputation is besmirched and her life ruined and the guy goes on to become President and then marries his ward so to speak who was only 21! The youngest first lady ever - even to this day. And we also now know the origin of the candy: Baby Ruth. There was a chant during his campaign which was none too flattering:

Ma, Ma, where's my Pa? Gone to the White House, ha, ha, ha!,"

Aug 18, 2000 - © John S. Cooper

Probably no prior presidential children were watched, followed, or written about as were Grover Cleveland's. The entire nation followed the Cleveland family, and the antics of the children growing up in the White House. Although common today, Cleveland's family was the first to receive this star treatment. Certainly, the advent of inexpensive newspapers, competition for readership, and the first newspaper chains increased the appetite for news of the children of the First Family.

It began during Cleveland's first term when he married his 21 year old ward, Francis Folsom, the daughter of his best friend and law partner, Oscar Folsom, who died when Francis was a young child. She was extremely popular, being pictured in newspapers as the Queen of Hearts in a deck of cards.

Cleveland had five children, three daughters and two sons. He also accepted responsibility for another son born before he was married.

Oscar Folsom Cleveland, born 1874. Oscar was born to Maria Halpin, a widow from New Jersey who had left her two children behind and moved to Buffalo seeking a new life. She got a job in a department store and worked her way up to department manager. She kept company with a number of men, including Grover Cleveland and his law partner and best friend, Oscar Folsom, (hence her choosing those two names for the child). Grover accepted responsibility, even though he was uncertain of the child's paternity, because the other men involved with Maria were married and he felt he had less to loose from such an admission. He decided, however, not to marry Mrs. Halpin. Shortly after Oscar's birth, Maria began drinking heavily, and Grover Cleveland had Maria committed to an asylum for the sake of the child. Cleveland paid the $5.00 a week fee to keep Oscar in an orphanage until his mother improved. Maria Halpin kidnapped her child from the orphanage, but he was soon recovered. Cleveland paid Maria Halpin $500.00 to give up custody of Oscar, and she re-settled in New Rochelle, where she married. Oscar was adopted by a prominent New York family and became a doctor. (See the earlier article "Rum, Romanism and Rebellion" for more details)

Ruth Cleveland, 1891-1904. You have most probably heard of this presidential child, although you might not be aware of it. Ruth Cleveland, born in the period between her father's non-consecutive terms, was very popular with the public, being called Baby Ruth in the press. She achieved a sort of immortality when a candy maker named the Baby Ruth candy bar after her. At the age of twelve, Ruth died of diphtheria. The entire nation mourned along with the Clevelands.

Source: This was on suite 101:

message 15: by Alisa (new)

Alisa (mstaz) Wow, I am suddenly interested in this. I came across the book from an Amazon marketing email and posted it here on a whim. Sounds like a wild story!

message 16: by Bentley, Group Founder, Leader, Chief (new)

Bentley | 44179 comments Mod
You really have to wonder. Cleveland admitted the affair and then went on with his life - certainly a double standard.

message 17: by Alisa (new)

Alisa (mstaz) I suppose it was much easier to hide in those days, and no one admitted to those sorts of things. Presidents are like Popes, we like to believe they are virtuous and always take the high road but we have learned that is not always the case.

message 18: by Bentley, Group Founder, Leader, Chief (new)

Bentley | 44179 comments Mod
That is certain.

message 19: by Bryan (new)

Bryan Craig I think it was easier to hide things back then, and also the fact Cleveland hid the truth about his throat surgery...a pattern perhaps?

message 20: by Bryan (new)

Bryan Craig Geared for young adults:

Grover Cleveland

Grover Cleveland by Steven Otfinoski Steven Otfinoski


Provides comprehensive information on President Grover Cleveland and places him within his historical and cultural context. Also explored are the formative events of his times and how he responded

message 21: by Diana (new)

Diana Rubino (dianarubino) | 11 comments I just posted my msg and see you beat me to it! What an amazing book! Diana

message 22: by Alisa (new)

Alisa (mstaz) Diana, we are glad to have you and realize that since you are new you may not be familiar with our guidelines in how we post books. We use the Goodreads software so that people can see the books and authors being mentioned. Please do not use a hyperlink to an external site - we consider it promotion which is banned.

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The President Is a Sick Man Wherein the Supposedly Virtuous Grover Cleveland Survives a Secret Surgery at Sea and Vilifies the Courageous Newspaperman Who Dared Expose the Truth by Matthew Algeo by Matthew Algeo

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message 23: by Diana (new)

Diana Rubino (dianarubino) | 11 comments OK, will read the guidelines and follow them! Thanks, Diana

message 24: by Alisa (new)

Alisa (mstaz) The Forgotten Conservative: Rediscovering Grover Cleveland

The Forgotten Conservative Rediscovering Grover Cleveland by John Pafford by John Pafford

Grover Cleveland is truly the forgotten conservative: a man of dignity, integrity, and courage often overlooked by the history books. Historian and author John Pafford reveals a president who deserves more attention. Cleveland might not have presided over deeply troubled times, but he set a standard for principled leadership in office that is especially relevant today.

message 25: by Bryan (new)

Bryan Craig Thanks Alisa, and I agree with you, Christopher, a new book on a president, sweet.

message 26: by Bryan (new)

Bryan Craig Frances Cleveland: C-SPAN's First Ladies: Influence & Image:

message 27: by Alisa (new)

Alisa (mstaz) Bryan, I like it that you are adding stuff about First Ladies. Good stuff.

message 28: by Bryan (new)

Bryan Craig Good series, they are doing them all :-)

message 29: by Bryan (new)

Bryan Craig The Last Jeffersonian: Grover Cleveland and the Path to Restoring the Republic

The Last Jeffersonian Grover Cleveland and the Path to Restoring the Republic by Ryan S. Walters by Ryan S. Walters (no photo)


America is in danger of losing the constitutional republic created by the Founding Fathers. Since the beginning of the progressive era, the federal government has steadily encroached on the rights of the states and the people. Yet today, we are inundated with politicians of both parties who seek new ideas and innovative ways to make government work, rather than solutions for preserving our political heritage. To restore our republic, we need to look to the past, to the political fathers of old who made the nation the best and brightest on earth. Grover Cleveland was the last of those fathers. As a mayor, governor, and president, Cleveland dealt with many of the same troubles we face today-the public character and behavior of our candidates, the role of government in the everyday lives of the people, the burden of taxation, the distribution of wealth, government involvement in an economic depression, monetary policy, and complex foreign affairs. By studying Cleveland's policies and ideals, we can relearn those forgotten lessons of ancient times and restore the American republic.

message 30: by Jerome, Assisting Moderator - Upcoming Books and Releases (last edited Nov 02, 2019 06:33AM) (new)

Jerome | 4308 comments Mod
Grover Cleveland's New Foreign Policy: Arbitration, Neutrality, and the Dawn of American Empire

Grover Cleveland's New Foreign Policy Arbitration, Neutrality, and the Dawn of American Empire by Nick Cleaver by Nick Cleaver (no photo)


The Spanish-American War has long been viewed as a turning point in the history of American foreign relations, the moment when the United States, led by William McKinley, finally shook off its post-revolutionary isolationist principles and embarked on a new course of foreign engagement and colonial expansionism. Comparatively overlooked has been the fact that the same factors that drove the US to war in 1898 - industrial growth, commercial expansion, and increased public interest in the wider world - had already powerfully influenced foreign policy in the years before the outbreak of war. As Nick Cleaver shows in this illuminating political and diplomatic history, McKinley's predecessor in the White House, Grover Cleveland, spent four years pursuing a different approach to foreign policy that acknowledged the changes taking place in American society at the end of the nineteenth century, even as it sought to harness them in very different ways.

message 31: by Bryan (new)

Bryan Craig Thanks Jerome.

message 32: by Bryan (new)

Bryan Craig Letters of Grover Cleveland, 1850-1908

Letters of Grover Cleveland, 1850-1908 by Grover Cleveland by Grover Cleveland Grover Cleveland


Published in 1933.

message 33: by Bentley, Group Founder, Leader, Chief (new)

Bentley | 44179 comments Mod
Thank you Bryan for all of the adds on all of the Presidential threads.

message 34: by Bryan (new)

Bryan Craig Very welcome

message 35: by Jerome, Assisting Moderator - Upcoming Books and Releases (new)

Jerome | 4308 comments Mod
Rum, Romanism, and Rebellion: The Making of a President, 1884

Rum, Romanism, and Rebellion The Making of a President, 1884 by Mark Wahlgren Summers by Mark Wahlgren Summers (no photo)


The presidential election of 1884, in which Grover Cleveland ended the Democrats' twenty-four-year presidential drought by defeating Republican challenger James G. Blaine, was one of the gaudiest in American history, remembered today less for its political significance than for the mudslinging and slander that characterized the campaign. But a closer look at the infamous election reveals far more complexity than previous stereotypes allowed, argues Mark Summers. Behind all the mud and malarkey, he says, lay a world of issues and consequences.

Summers suggests that both Democrats and Republicans sensed a political system breaking apart, or perhaps a new political order forming, as voters began to drift away from voting by party affiliation toward voting according to a candidate's stand on specific issues. Mudslinging, then, was done not for public entertainment but to tear away or confirm votes that seemed in doubt. Uncovering the issues that really powered the election and stripping away the myths that still surround it, Summers uses the election of 1884 to challenge many of our preconceptions about Gilded Age politics.

message 36: by Bentley, Group Founder, Leader, Chief (new)

Bentley | 44179 comments Mod
Presidents in Our Backyard -- Grover Cleveland

This is the segment on Grover Cleveland from the 2008 WMHT documentary Presidents in Our Backyard. The crew went to Buffalo, where Grover rose from Mayor of Buffalo to our 22nd and 24th President. One man is hoping to open the Grover Cleveland Presidential Library in downtown Buffalo. The voice of Grover in the documentary is NYS Assembly Minority Leader Jim Tedisco.


Source: Youtube

message 37: by Jerome, Assisting Moderator - Upcoming Books and Releases (last edited Oct 22, 2021 08:13AM) (new)

Jerome | 4308 comments Mod
An upcoming book:
Release date: June 21, 2022

A Man of Iron: The Turbulent Life and Improbable Presidency of Grover Cleveland

A Man of Iron The Turbulent Life and Improbable Presidency of Grover Cleveland by Troy Senik by Troy Senik (no photo)


Featuring a wealth of in-depth research and newly uncovered details, A Man of Iron explores the remarkable life and extraordinary career of Grover Cleveland—one of America’s most unusual presidents and the only one to serve two non-consecutive terms.

Grover Cleveland’s political career—a dizzying journey that saw him rise from obscure lawyer to president of the United States in just three years—was marked by contradictions. A politician of uncharacteristic honesty and principle, he was nevertheless dogged by secrets from his personal life. A believer in limited government, he pushed presidential power to its limits to combat a crippling depression, suppress labor unrest, and resist the forces of American imperialism. A headstrong executive who alienated Congress, political bosses, and even his own party, his stubbornness nevertheless became the key to his political appeal. The most successful Democratic politician of his era, he came to be remembered most fondly by Republicans.

A fascinating look at a unique man presiding over a transformational era, A Man of Iron is a compelling and vivid biography joining the ranks of presidential classics such as David McCullough’s John Adams, Ron Chernow’s Grant, and Amity Shlaes’ Coolidge.

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