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Benjamin Harrison: Our Twenty-Third President
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message 1: by Bentley, Group Founder, Leader, Chief (new)

Bentley | 44126 comments Mod
Benjamin Harrison

Nominated for President on the eighth ballot at the 1888 Republican Convention, Benjamin Harrison conducted one of the first "front-porch" campaigns, delivering short speeches to delegations that visited him in Indianapolis. As he was only 5 feet, 6 inches tall, Democrats called him "Little Ben"; Republicans replied that he was big enough to wear the hat of his grandfather, "Old Tippecanoe."

Born in 1833 on a farm by the Ohio River below Cincinnati, Harrison attended Miami University in Ohio and read law in Cincinnati. He moved to Indianapolis, where he practiced law and campaigned for the Republican Party. He married Caroline Lavinia Scott in 1853. After the Civil War--he was Colonel of the 70th Volunteer Infantry--Harrison became a pillar of Indianapolis, enhancing his reputation as a brilliant lawyer.

The Democrats defeated him for Governor of Indiana in 1876 by unfairly stigmatizing him as "Kid Gloves" Harrison. In the 1880's he served in the United States Senate, where he championed Indians. homesteaders, and Civil War veterans.

In the Presidential election, Harrison received 100,000 fewer popular votes than Cleveland, but carried the Electoral College 233 to 168. Although Harrison had made no political bargains, his supporters had given innumerable pledges upon his behalf.

When Boss Matt Quay of Pennsylvania heard that Harrison ascribed his narrow victory to Providence, Quay exclaimed that Harrison would never know "how close a number of men were compelled to approach... the penitentiary to make him President."

Harrison was proud of the vigorous foreign policy which he helped shape. The first Pan American Congress met in Washington in 1889, establishing an information center which later became the Pan American Union. At the end of his administration Harrison submitted to the Senate a treaty to annex Hawaii; to his disappointment, President Cleveland later withdrew it.

Substantial appropriation bills were signed by Harrison for internal improvements, naval expansion, and subsidies for steamship lines. For the first time except in war, Congress appropriated a billion dollars. When critics attacked "the billion-dollar Congress," Speaker Thomas B. Reed replied, "This is a billion-dollar country." President Harrison also signed the Sherman Anti-Trust Act "to protect trade and commerce against unlawful restraints and monopolies," the first Federal act attempting to regulate trusts.

The most perplexing domestic problem Harrison faced was the tariff issue. The high tariff rates in effect had created a surplus of money in the Treasury. Low-tariff advocates argued that the surplus was hurting business. Republican leaders in Congress successfully met the challenge. Representative William McKinley and Senator Nelson W. Aldrich framed a still higher tariff bill; some rates were intentionally prohibitive.

Harrison tried to make the tariff more acceptable by writing in reciprocity provisions. To cope with the Treasury surplus, the tariff was removed from imported raw sugar; sugar growers within the United States were given two cents a pound bounty on their production.

Long before the end of the Harrison Administration, the Treasury surplus had evaporated, and prosperity seemed about to disappear as well. Congressional elections in 1890 went stingingly against the Republicans, and party leaders decided to abandon President Harrison although he had cooperated with Congress on party legislation. Nevertheless, his party renominated him in 1892, but he was defeated by Cleveland.

After he left office, Harrison returned to Indianapolis, and married the widowed Mrs. Mary Dimmick in 1896. A dignified elder statesman, he died in 1901.

Source: The White House

message 2: by Jerry (new)

Jerry Landry A few books on Benjamin Harrison:

The Presidency of Benjamin Harrison (American Presidency Series) by Homer E. Socolofsky Homer E. Socolofsky

Benjamin Harrison The American Presidents Series (The American Presidents) by Charles W. Calhoun Charles W. Calhoun

And a three-volume series (which I have to admit, I was surprised there was a three-volume series devoted to Benjamin Harrison):

Benjamin Harrison Hoosier Warrior (Signature Ser. ; Vol. 1) by Harry J. Sievers Harry J. Sievers

Benjamin Harrison Hoosier Statesman (Signature Ser.) by Harry J. Sievers Harry J. Sievers

Benjamin Harrison Hoosier President The White House and After 1889-1901 (Signature Ser.) by Harry J. Sievers Harry J. Sievers

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

Bentley | 44126 comments Mod
Thank you Jerry.

message 4: 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 5: by Bryan (new)

message 6: by Bryan (new)

Bryan Craig Life of General Benjamin Harrison

Life of Gen. Ben Harrison by Lew Wallace by Lew Wallace Lew Wallace

No synopsis. Written in 1888

message 7: by Bryan (new)

Bryan Craig I know; it probably was a campaign bio.

message 8: by Bryan (new)

Bryan Craig Caroline Harrison: C-SPAN's First Ladies: Influence & Image:

message 9: by Bryan (new)

Bryan Craig Harrison is mentioned in this other biography of a president:

William McKinley and His America

William McKinley and His America by H. Wayne Morgan by H. Wayne Morgan (no photo)


When George W. Bush won the White House, he was first incumbent Republican governor elected president since William McKinley in 1896. William McKinley was the last of the Civil War veterans to reach the White House. Known widely as the Major, in honor of his military rank, he rose through Congress to head the crucial Ways and Means Committee where, in the early 1890s, he passed a strong and popular tariff bill. That success caught the eye of Marcus Hanna, a Cleveland industrialist with a passion for politics and an ambition to help make and elect a president. Democrats complained the McKinley was a mere puppet of the wealthy Hanna, but historians generally believe they were a well-matched team of two strong-willed men. With Hanna's help, McKinley was elected governor of Ohio in 1892. In 1896 McKinley swept away all rivals to win the presidential nomination on the first ballot. Faced in the general election by the well-respected and highly touted orator William Jennings Bryan, Republicans adopted their Front Porch Campaign. Thousands of citizens from across the country were brought to McKinley's home in Canton for a handshake and a few words. Hanna arranged for $3.5 million campaign to be paid for by big business, with oil baron John D. Rockefeller writing the largest check. McKinley's military service and his support among veterans were significant factors in his campaign. He became the first presidential candidate in a generation to win a majority of the popular vote. McKinley was a popular president. Pushed reluctantly into the Spanish-American War, McKinley was instrumental in starting America on the path to becoming a global power. He was reelected by a landslide, and in 1901, after delivering a speech at the Pan-American Exposition in Buffalo, he was assassinated by anarchist Leon Czolgosz. McKinley's vice president, Theodore Roosevelt became the nation's 26th president. H. Wayne Morgan's extensively revised and expanded edition of McKinley and His America will prove to be a welcome resource to historians and scholars.

message 10: by Bentley, Group Founder, Leader, Chief (new)

Bentley | 44126 comments Mod
Thank you Bryan.

message 11: by Bryan (new)

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