- NAME: Benjamin Harrison
- OCCUPATION: U.S. President
- BIRTH DATE: August 20, 1833
- DEATH DATE: March 13, 1901
- EDUCATION: Miami University, Farmer's College
- PLACE OF BIRTH: North Bend, Ohio
- PLACE OF DEATH: Indianapolis, Indiana
- Nickname: "Kid Gloves Harrison"
- Nickname: "Little Ben"
- Full Name: Benjamin Harrison
Best Known For
Benjamin Harrison is best known as the 23rd president of the United States. He was the grandson of President William Henry Harrison.
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As president, Harrison signed the Sherman Antitrust Act into law in an effort to curtail monopolies. The question of monetizing silver also demanded government attention. Although Harrison signed a compromise bill, the controversy over currency continued to rage throughout his presidency. He also attempted, unsuccessfully, to enact legislation protecting and extending the civil rights of black Americans.
The United States, now past the Civil War,
had not resolved its relationship to its Native American inhabitants by the time Harrison had taken office. On December 29, 1890, federal troops clashed with the Sioux at the Battle of Wounded Knee, killing nearly 150 men, women and children. Elsewhere, the federal government continued its aggressive policies of assimilation and acculturation.
One of the lasting legacies of Harrison's presidency was the expansion of the country to include the states of Montana, Washington, Idaho, Wyoming and the Dakotas. While Harrison became enmeshed in the Hawaiian annexation debate at the end of his presidency, the matter remained open into the 1890s.
Economically, the situation was worsening as the election approached. Surplus gave way to deficit as the country spiraled toward financial panic. In 1892, the Democratic Party re-nominated former President Cleveland to run against the unpopular Harrison. The Republicans were weakened by the defection of Western voters to the Populist Party, which promised free silver and an eight-hour workday. Harrison did not campaign on his own behalf, choosing to remain by the side of his ailing wife, who died in October 1892. Two weeks later, former President Cleveland prevailed over incumbent President Harrison in the general election.
After leaving office, Harrison moved to San Francisco, California, where he taught at Stanford University. In 1896, Harrison married Mary Scott Lord Dimmick, a niece of his late wife. His two adult children disapproved of their father's marriage to a relative 25 years his junior. The couple had one child together, a daughter named Elizabeth.
Benjamin Harrison died of pneumonia at his home in Indianapolis, Indiana, on March 13, 1901, at the age of 67. He is interred at the Crown Hill Cemetery in Indianapolis, beside both of his wives.
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The first U.S. president, former military leader George Washington, took his oath of office on April 30, 1789, on the balcony of Federal Hall. From that moment onward, the United States' highest office has been filled regularly by elected officials who aim to serve the people under the guidance of the U.S. Constitution. Learn more about the 43 men who have served as America's chief executive.
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