- NAME: Grover Cleveland
- OCCUPATION: Lawyer, Governor, Mayor, U.S. President
- BIRTH DATE: March 18, 1837
- DEATH DATE: June 24, 1908
- EDUCATION: Fayetteville Academy, Clinton Liberal Academy
- PLACE OF BIRTH: Caldwell, New Jersey
- PLACE OF DEATH: Princeton, New Jersey
- Full Name: Stephen Grover Cleveland
- AKA: Grover Cleveland
- Nickname: Big Steve
- Nickname: Uncle Jumbo
Best Known For
The 22nd and 24th president, Grover Cleveland is the only POTUS to serve two nonconsecutive terms, as well as the first to be married in the White House.
J.P. Morgan - Panic of 1893 (3:50)
In 1884, after a new interest in the personal lives of politicians, it was believed that Grover Cleveland may have fathered a child out of wedlock.
Watch a short video about the second term of America's 22nd President Grover Cleveland.
Watch a short video about the first term of America's 22nd President Grover Cleveland.
As a result of the depression of 1893, the federal governments gold reserves had dropped to an incredibly low level. It was then that they decided to call in J.P. Morgan to help solve the crisis.
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Grover Cleveland, born March 18, 1837, was a tough opponent of political corruption who fiercely guarded the integrity of the offices in which he served. He lost a second term as incumbent but won back the presidency four years later. He earned the nickname ”guardian president” for his record-breaking use of veto power and strengthened the executive branch, ushering in the modern presidential era.
"A truly American sentiment recognizes the dignity of labor and the fact that honor lies in honest toil.”
"Officeholders are the agents of the people, not their masters."”
Stephen Grover Cleveland was born on March 18, 1837, in Caldwell, New Jersey, the fifth of nine children born to Ann Neal and Richard Falley Cleveland, a Presbyterian minister. The family moved several times around central New York State for his father’s posts, but the reverend died when Grover was only 16, and the teen had to forgo finishing his education to go to work to support the family. Cleveland worked with his older brother at the New York Institute for Special Education, which would become an abiding concern, and then as a clerk and part-time law student while in Buffalo. The knowledge he gained from these experiences helped him pass the bar exam in 1858 without any structured formal study.
Grover Cleveland—he dropped his first name as an adult, perhaps because he had been called "Big Steve” by friends, due to his girth, at over 250 pounds—basically went with the flow of his career rather than hold any specific ambitions. He did evade military service in the Civil War by paying a substitute $300, which was not an uncommon practice at the time. Passing the bar exam led to a position as district attorney for Erie County, then sheriff, mayor of Buffalo and governor of New York from 1882 to 1884, when he became known “Uncle Jumbo.”
In his first term as president, 1885-89, Cleveland was uncomfortable in the White House, especially as a bachelor. He married his ward, the daughter of his deceased Buffalo law partner, making Frances Folsom America’s youngest first lady at 21. It was the first and only White House wedding of a president. The couple’s 27-year age difference was summarily lampooned. Children began arriving between his two terms, and three were born in the White house. The Clevelands had five children in all.
In his first term Cleveland also presided over the dedication of the Statue of Liberty, and saw Geronimo surrender, thus ending the Apache wars.
Cleveland’s presidencies bracketed one-term President Benjamin Harrison. He was not in favor of overthrowing the Hawaiian monarchy, which had been set in motion during Harrison’s time in office, but despite his opposition, Hawaii was annexed. Cleveland wrote: “I am ashamed of the whole affair.”
In general, he was not in favor of imperialistic moves and even declared a war on London when a boundary dispute arose between Britain and Venezuela. This revived use of the Monroe Doctrine, which had languished.
He was also against subsidies and special interests, which is how his record-breaking use of the veto came about. Cleveland believed that hardship built character.
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