Benjamin Harrison
Overview
 
Benjamin Harrison was the 23rd President of the United States
President of the United States
The President of the United States of America is the head of state and head of government of the United States. The president leads the executive branch of the federal government and is the commander-in-chief of the United States Armed Forces....

 (1889–1893). Harrison, a grandson of President William Henry Harrison
William Henry Harrison
William Henry Harrison was the ninth President of the United States , an American military officer and politician, and the first president to die in office. He was 68 years, 23 days old when elected, the oldest president elected until Ronald Reagan in 1980, and last President to be born before the...

, was born in North Bend, Ohio
North Bend, Ohio
North Bend is a village in Hamilton County, Ohio, United States, along the Ohio River. The population was 603 at the 2000 census.-History:President Benjamin Harrison was born in North Bend. His grandfather, President William Henry Harrison is buried in the William Henry Harrison Tomb State...

, and moved to Indianapolis, Indiana
Indianapolis, Indiana
Indianapolis is the capital of the U.S. state of Indiana, and the county seat of Marion County, Indiana. As of the 2010 United States Census, the city's population is 839,489. It is by far Indiana's largest city and, as of the 2010 U.S...

 at age 21, eventually becoming a prominent politician there. During the American Civil War
American Civil War
The American Civil War was a civil war fought in the United States of America. In response to the election of Abraham Lincoln as President of the United States, 11 southern slave states declared their secession from the United States and formed the Confederate States of America ; the other 25...

, he served the Union as a Brigadier General
Brigadier general (United States)
A brigadier general in the United States Army, Air Force, and Marine Corps, is a one-star general officer, with the pay grade of O-7. Brigadier general ranks above a colonel and below major general. Brigadier general is equivalent to the rank of rear admiral in the other uniformed...

 in the XX Corps of the Army of the Cumberland
Army of the Cumberland
The Army of the Cumberland was one of the principal Union armies in the Western Theater during the American Civil War. It was originally known as the Army of the Ohio.-History:...

. After the war he unsuccessfully ran for the governorship of Indiana
Indiana
Indiana is a US state, admitted to the United States as the 19th on December 11, 1816. It is located in the Midwestern United States and Great Lakes Region. With 6,483,802 residents, the state is ranked 15th in population and 16th in population density. Indiana is ranked 38th in land area and is...

, and was later appointed to the U.S. Senate
United States Senate
The United States Senate is the upper house of the bicameral legislature of the United States, and together with the United States House of Representatives comprises the United States Congress. The composition and powers of the Senate are established in Article One of the U.S. Constitution. Each...

 from that state.

Harrison, a Republican
Republican Party (United States)
The Republican Party is one of the two major contemporary political parties in the United States, along with the Democratic Party. Founded by anti-slavery expansion activists in 1854, it is often called the GOP . The party's platform generally reflects American conservatism in the U.S...

, was elected to the presidency in 1888
United States presidential election, 1888
The 1888 election for President of the United States saw Grover Cleveland of New York, the incumbent president and a Democrat, try to secure a second term against the Republican nominee Benjamin Harrison, a former U.S. Senator from Indiana...

, defeating Democratic
Democratic Party (United States)
The Democratic Party is one of two major contemporary political parties in the United States, along with the Republican Party. The party's socially liberal and progressive platform is largely considered center-left in the U.S. political spectrum. The party has the lengthiest record of continuous...

 incumbent Grover Cleveland
Grover Cleveland
Stephen Grover Cleveland was the 22nd and 24th president of the United States. Cleveland is the only president to serve two non-consecutive terms and therefore is the only individual to be counted twice in the numbering of the presidents...

.
Quotations

God forbid that the day should ever come when, in the American mind, the thought of man as a "consumer" shall submerge the old American thought of man as a creature of God, endowed with "unalienable rights."

"The Status of Annexed Territory and of Its Free Civilized Inhabitants" in North American Review, vol. 172, no. 530, January 1901, p. 22.

Encyclopedia
Benjamin Harrison was the 23rd President of the United States
President of the United States
The President of the United States of America is the head of state and head of government of the United States. The president leads the executive branch of the federal government and is the commander-in-chief of the United States Armed Forces....

 (1889–1893). Harrison, a grandson of President William Henry Harrison
William Henry Harrison
William Henry Harrison was the ninth President of the United States , an American military officer and politician, and the first president to die in office. He was 68 years, 23 days old when elected, the oldest president elected until Ronald Reagan in 1980, and last President to be born before the...

, was born in North Bend, Ohio
North Bend, Ohio
North Bend is a village in Hamilton County, Ohio, United States, along the Ohio River. The population was 603 at the 2000 census.-History:President Benjamin Harrison was born in North Bend. His grandfather, President William Henry Harrison is buried in the William Henry Harrison Tomb State...

, and moved to Indianapolis, Indiana
Indianapolis, Indiana
Indianapolis is the capital of the U.S. state of Indiana, and the county seat of Marion County, Indiana. As of the 2010 United States Census, the city's population is 839,489. It is by far Indiana's largest city and, as of the 2010 U.S...

 at age 21, eventually becoming a prominent politician there. During the American Civil War
American Civil War
The American Civil War was a civil war fought in the United States of America. In response to the election of Abraham Lincoln as President of the United States, 11 southern slave states declared their secession from the United States and formed the Confederate States of America ; the other 25...

, he served the Union as a Brigadier General
Brigadier general (United States)
A brigadier general in the United States Army, Air Force, and Marine Corps, is a one-star general officer, with the pay grade of O-7. Brigadier general ranks above a colonel and below major general. Brigadier general is equivalent to the rank of rear admiral in the other uniformed...

 in the XX Corps of the Army of the Cumberland
Army of the Cumberland
The Army of the Cumberland was one of the principal Union armies in the Western Theater during the American Civil War. It was originally known as the Army of the Ohio.-History:...

. After the war he unsuccessfully ran for the governorship of Indiana
Indiana
Indiana is a US state, admitted to the United States as the 19th on December 11, 1816. It is located in the Midwestern United States and Great Lakes Region. With 6,483,802 residents, the state is ranked 15th in population and 16th in population density. Indiana is ranked 38th in land area and is...

, and was later appointed to the U.S. Senate
United States Senate
The United States Senate is the upper house of the bicameral legislature of the United States, and together with the United States House of Representatives comprises the United States Congress. The composition and powers of the Senate are established in Article One of the U.S. Constitution. Each...

 from that state.

Harrison, a Republican
Republican Party (United States)
The Republican Party is one of the two major contemporary political parties in the United States, along with the Democratic Party. Founded by anti-slavery expansion activists in 1854, it is often called the GOP . The party's platform generally reflects American conservatism in the U.S...

, was elected to the presidency in 1888
United States presidential election, 1888
The 1888 election for President of the United States saw Grover Cleveland of New York, the incumbent president and a Democrat, try to secure a second term against the Republican nominee Benjamin Harrison, a former U.S. Senator from Indiana...

, defeating Democratic
Democratic Party (United States)
The Democratic Party is one of two major contemporary political parties in the United States, along with the Republican Party. The party's socially liberal and progressive platform is largely considered center-left in the U.S. political spectrum. The party has the lengthiest record of continuous...

 incumbent Grover Cleveland
Grover Cleveland
Stephen Grover Cleveland was the 22nd and 24th president of the United States. Cleveland is the only president to serve two non-consecutive terms and therefore is the only individual to be counted twice in the numbering of the presidents...

. His administration is most remembered for economic legislation, including the McKinley Tariff
McKinley Tariff
The Tariff Act of 1890, commonly called the McKinley Tariff, was an act framed by Representative William McKinley that became law on October 1, 1890. The tariff raised the average duty on imports to almost fifty percent, an act designed to protect domestic industries from foreign competition...

 and the Sherman Antitrust Act
Sherman Antitrust Act
The Sherman Antitrust Act requires the United States federal government to investigate and pursue trusts, companies, and organizations suspected of violating the Act. It was the first Federal statute to limit cartels and monopolies, and today still forms the basis for most antitrust litigation by...

, and for annual federal spending that reached one billion dollars for the first time. Democrats attacked the "Billion Dollar Congress
51st United States Congress
The Fifty-first United States Congress, referred to by some critics as the Billion Dollar Congress, was a meeting of the legislative branch of the United States federal government, consisting of the United States Senate and the United States House of Representatives. It met in Washington, D.C...

", and used the issue, along with the growing unpopularity of the high tariff, to defeat the Republicans, both in the 1890 mid-term elections
United States House election, 1890
The U.S. House election, 1890 was an election for the United States House of Representatives in 1890 which occurred in the middle of President Benjamin Harrison's term....

 and in Harrison's bid for re-election in 1892
United States presidential election, 1892
In the United States presidential election of 1892, former President Grover Cleveland ran for re-election against the incumbent President Benjamin Harrison, who was also running for re-election. Cleveland defeated Harrison, thus becoming the only person in American history to be elected to a...

. Harrison advocated, although unsuccessful, federal education funding and legislation to protect voting rights for African Americans. He also saw the admittance of six states into the Union.

Defeated by Cleveland in his bid for re-election in 1892, Harrison returned to private life in Indianapolis. He later represented the Republic of Venezuela in an international case against the United Kingdom
United Kingdom of Great Britain and Ireland
The United Kingdom of Great Britain and Ireland was the formal name of the United Kingdom during the period when what is now the Republic of Ireland formed a part of it....

. In 1900, he traveled to Europe as part of the case and, after a brief stay, returned to Indianapolis, where he died the following year from complications arising from influenza
Influenza
Influenza, commonly referred to as the flu, is an infectious disease caused by RNA viruses of the family Orthomyxoviridae , that affects birds and mammals...

. He is to date the only U.S. president from Indiana and the only one to be the grandson of another president.

Family and education

The Harrisons were among the First Families of Virginia
First Families of Virginia
First Families of Virginia were those families in Colonial Virginia who were socially prominent and wealthy, but not necessarily the earliest settlers. They originated with colonists from England who primarily settled at Jamestown, Williamsburg, and along the James River and other navigable waters...

, with their presence in the New World dating back to the arrival of an Englishman, named Benjamin Harrison, at Jamestown, Virginia
Jamestown, Virginia
Jamestown was a settlement in the Colony of Virginia. Established by the Virginia Company of London as "James Fort" on May 14, 1607 , it was the first permanent English settlement in what is now the United States, following several earlier failed attempts, including the Lost Colony of Roanoke...

 in 1630. The future president Benjamin was born on August 20, 1833, in North Bend
North Bend, Ohio
North Bend is a village in Hamilton County, Ohio, United States, along the Ohio River. The population was 603 at the 2000 census.-History:President Benjamin Harrison was born in North Bend. His grandfather, President William Henry Harrison is buried in the William Henry Harrison Tomb State...

, Hamilton County, Ohio
Hamilton County, Ohio
As of 2000, there were 845,303 people, 346,790 households, and 212,582 families residing in the county. The population density was 2,075 people per square mile . There were 373,393 housing units at an average density of 917 per square mile...

, as the second of eight children of John Scott Harrison
John Scott Harrison
John Scott Harrison was a member of the United States House of Representatives from Ohio and the only man to be both the son and the father of U.S. Presidents. His father, William Henry Harrison was the 9th President in 1841; and, his son, Benjamin Harrison, was the 23rd President from 1889-1893...

 (later a U.S. Congressman from Ohio
Ohio
Ohio is a Midwestern state in the United States. The 34th largest state by area in the U.S.,it is the 7th‑most populous with over 11.5 million residents, containing several major American cities and seven metropolitan areas with populations of 500,000 or more.The state's capital is Columbus...

) and Elizabeth Ramsey Irwin. Benjamin was a grandson of President William Henry Harrison
William Henry Harrison
William Henry Harrison was the ninth President of the United States , an American military officer and politician, and the first president to die in office. He was 68 years, 23 days old when elected, the oldest president elected until Ronald Reagan in 1980, and last President to be born before the...

 and great-grandson of Benjamin Harrison V
Benjamin Harrison V
Benjamin Harrison V was an American planter and revolutionary leader from Charles City County, Virginia. He earned his higher education at the College of William and Mary, and he was perhaps the first figure in the Harrison family to gain national attention...

, a Virginia governor and signer of the Declaration of Independence
Declaration of independence
A declaration of independence is an assertion of the independence of an aspiring state or states. Such places are usually declared from part or all of the territory of another nation or failed nation, or are breakaway territories from within the larger state...

. Harrison was seven years old when his grandfather was elected President, but he did not attend the inauguration. Although Harrison's family was old and distinguished, he did not grow up in a wealthy household, as most of John Scott Harrison's farm income was expended on his children's education. Despite the meager income, Harrison's boyhood was enjoyable, with much of it spent outdoors fishing or hunting.

Benjamin Harrison's early schooling took place in a one-room schoolhouse near his home, but he was later provided with a tutor to help him with college preparatory studies. Harrison and his brother, Irwin, enrolled in Farmer's College near Cincinnati, Ohio
Cincinnati, Ohio
Cincinnati is a city in the U.S. state of Ohio. Cincinnati is the county seat of Hamilton County. Settled in 1788, the city is located to north of the Ohio River at the Ohio-Kentucky border, near Indiana. The population within city limits is 296,943 according to the 2010 census, making it Ohio's...

 in 1847. Harrison attended the college for two years. In 1850, he transferred to Miami University
Miami University
Miami University is a coeducational public research university located in Oxford, Ohio, United States. Founded in 1809, it is the 10th oldest public university in the United States and the second oldest university in Ohio, founded four years after Ohio University. In its 2012 edition, U.S...

 in Oxford, Ohio
Oxford, Ohio
Oxford is a city in northwestern Butler County, Ohio, United States, in the southwestern portion of the state. It lies in Oxford Township, originally called the College Township. The population was 21,943 at the 2000 census. This college town was founded as a home for Miami University. Oxford...

, where he was a member of the fraternity Phi Delta Theta
Phi Delta Theta
Phi Delta Theta , also known as Phi Delt, is an international fraternity founded at Miami University in 1848 and headquartered in Oxford, Ohio. Phi Delta Theta, Beta Theta Pi, and Sigma Chi form the Miami Triad. The fraternity has about 169 active chapters and colonies in over 43 U.S...

 and graduated in 1852. He was also a member of the fraternity Delta Chi
Delta Chi
Delta Chi or D-Chi is an international Greek letter college social fraternity formed on October 13, 1890,at Cornell University, initially as a professional fraternity for law students. On April 29, 1922, Delta Chi became a general membership social fraternity, eliminating the requirement for men...

 which was a law fraternity at the time and permitted dual membership. Harrison attended Miami University with John Alexander Anderson
John Alexander Anderson
John Alexander Anderson was a six-term U.S. Congressman from Kansas , and the second President of Kansas State Agricultural College ....

, who would become a six-term congressman, and Whitelaw Reid
Whitelaw Reid
Whitelaw Reid was a U.S. politician and newspaper editor, as well as the author of a popular history of Ohio in the Civil War.-Early life:...

, who would be Harrison's vice presidential candidate in his reelection campaign. While attending Miami University, Harrison was greatly influenced by one of his professors, Robert Hamilton Bishop
Robert Hamilton Bishop
Robert Hamilton Bishop was a Scottish-American educator and Presbyterian minister who became the first president of Miami University in Ohio...

, who instructed him in history and political economy. At Miami, Harrison joined a Presbyterian church and, like his mother, he would remain a member for the rest of his life. After completing college Harrison took up the study of law in the Cincinnati law office of Storer & Gwynne, but before completing his law studies he returned to Oxford to marry.

While at Farmer's College, Harrison met Caroline Lavinia Scott, the daughter of the University's president, John Witherspoon Scott
John Witherspoon Scott
The Rev. Dr. John Witherspoon Scott was an American Presbyterian minister and academic whose daughter, Caroline Harrison became first lady of the United States as wife of Benjamin Harrison....

, a Presbyterian minister. On October 20, 1853, they married in Oxford, Ohio, with Caroline's father performing the ceremony. The Harrisons had two children, Russell Benjamin Harrison
Russell Benjamin Harrison
Russell Benjamin Harrison , also known as Russell Lord Harrison, was the son of United States President Benjamin Harrison and Caroline Harrison.-Life:...

 (August 12, 1854 – December 13, 1936), and Mary "Mamie" Scott Harrison McKee
Mary Harrison McKee
Mary Scott Harrison McKee was the first lady to her father President Benjamin Harrison, when her mother, Caroline Harrison, was seriously ill and then died....

 (April 3, 1858 – October 28, 1930).

Early legal career

After his marriage in 1853, Harrison returned to live on his father's farm where he finished his law studies. In the same year, he inherited $800 after the death of an aunt, using the money to move to Indianapolis, Indiana
Indianapolis, Indiana
Indianapolis is the capital of the U.S. state of Indiana, and the county seat of Marion County, Indiana. As of the 2010 United States Census, the city's population is 839,489. It is by far Indiana's largest city and, as of the 2010 U.S...

 in 1854. He was admitted to the bar there and began practicing law in the office of John H. Ray. The same year he became a crier
Town crier
A town crier, or bellman, is an officer of the court who makes public pronouncements as required by the court . The crier can also be used to make public announcements in the streets...

 for the Federal Court in Indianapolis, making $2.50 per day. He was responsible for passing through the streets and declaring announcements from the court.

While in Indianapolis, Benjamin Harrison was both the first President of the University Club, a private gentlemen's club
Gentlemen's club
A gentlemen's club is a members-only private club of a type originally set up by and for British upper class men in the eighteenth century, and popularised by English upper-middle class men and women in the late nineteenth century. Today, some are more open about the gender and social status of...

, and the first President of the Phi Delta Theta Alumni Club of Indianapolis, the fraternity's first such club. Harrison grew up in a Whig
Whig Party (United States)
The Whig Party was a political party of the United States during the era of Jacksonian democracy. Considered integral to the Second Party System and operating from the early 1830s to the mid-1850s, the party was formed in opposition to the policies of President Andrew Jackson and his Democratic...

 household and was himself a supporter of Whig politics in his early life. He joined the Republican Party shortly after its formation in 1856 and that year campaigned on behalf of the Republican presidential candidate John C. Frémont
John C. Frémont
John Charles Frémont , was an American military officer, explorer, and the first candidate of the anti-slavery Republican Party for the office of President of the United States. During the 1840s, that era's penny press accorded Frémont the sobriquet The Pathfinder...

. He won election to become Indianapolis City Attorney in the same election, a position that paid an annual salary of $400.

In 1858 Harrison entered into a law partnership, opening an office as Wallace & Harrison. Harrison was the Republican candidate for the position of reporter
Reporter of decisions
The Reporter of Decisions is the official responsible for publishing the decisions of a court. Traditionally, the decisions were published in books known as case reporters or law reports...

 of the Indiana Supreme Court in 1860, his first foray into politics. Although this office was not political, he was an active supporter of his party's platform. During the election he debated Thomas Hendricks, the Democratic candidate for governor and future Vice President of the United States
Vice President of the United States
The Vice President of the United States is the holder of a public office created by the United States Constitution. The Vice President, together with the President of the United States, is indirectly elected by the people, through the Electoral College, to a four-year term...

, on behalf of the Republican Party. After his law partner William Wallace was elected county clerk in 1860, Harrison opened a new firm with William Fishback, named Fishback & Harrison, where he worked until his entry into the army.

Civil War

At the outbreak of the Civil War
American Civil War
The American Civil War was a civil war fought in the United States of America. In response to the election of Abraham Lincoln as President of the United States, 11 southern slave states declared their secession from the United States and formed the Confederate States of America ; the other 25...

, Harrison wished to join the Union Army
Union Army
The Union Army was the land force that fought for the Union during the American Civil War. It was also known as the Federal Army, the U.S. Army, the Northern Army and the National Army...

, but initially resisted, as he was concerned that his young family would need his financial support. In 1862, President Abraham Lincoln
Abraham Lincoln
Abraham Lincoln was the 16th President of the United States, serving from March 1861 until his assassination in April 1865. He successfully led his country through a great constitutional, military and moral crisis – the American Civil War – preserving the Union, while ending slavery, and...

 issued a call for more recruits. While visiting Governor Oliver Morton, Harrison found him distressed over the shortage of men answering the latest call. Harrison told the governor, "If I can be of any service, I will go". Morton then asked Harrison if he could help to recruit a regiment, though he would not ask him to serve. Harrison proceeded to raise a regiment, recruiting throughout northern Indiana. Morton offered its command to Harrison, but he declined because of his lack of military experience, and instead was commissioned as a second lieutenant. In August 1862, when the regiment left Indiana to join the Union Army at Louisville, Kentucky
Louisville, Kentucky
Louisville is the largest city in the U.S. state of Kentucky, and the county seat of Jefferson County. Since 2003, the city's borders have been coterminous with those of the county because of a city-county merger. The city's population at the 2010 census was 741,096...

, Harrison was promoted by Morton to the rank of colonel
Colonel (United States)
In the United States Army, Air Force, and Marine Corps, colonel is a senior field grade military officer rank just above the rank of lieutenant colonel and just below the rank of brigadier general...

, and his regiment was commissioned as the 70th Indiana Infantry
70th Regiment Indiana Infantry
The 70th Regiment Indiana Infantry was an infantry regiment that served in the Union Army during the American Civil War.-Service:The 70th Indiana Infantry was organized at Indianapolis, Indiana July 22 through August 8, 1862, and mustered in for a three year enlistment under the command of Colonel...

.

The 70th Indiana spent most of its first two years of service performing reconnaissance duty and guarding railroads in Kentucky
Kentucky
The Commonwealth of Kentucky is a state located in the East Central United States of America. As classified by the United States Census Bureau, Kentucky is a Southern state, more specifically in the East South Central region. Kentucky is one of four U.S. states constituted as a commonwealth...

 and Tennessee
Tennessee
Tennessee is a U.S. state located in the Southeastern United States. It has a population of 6,346,105, making it the nation's 17th-largest state by population, and covers , making it the 36th-largest by total land area...

. In 1864, Harrison and his regiment joined William T. Sherman's Atlanta Campaign
Atlanta Campaign
The Atlanta Campaign was a series of battles fought in the Western Theater of the American Civil War throughout northwest Georgia and the area around Atlanta during the summer of 1864. Union Maj. Gen. William T. Sherman invaded Georgia from the vicinity of Chattanooga, Tennessee, beginning in May...

 and moved to the front lines. On January 2, 1864, Harrison was promoted to command the 1st Brigade of the 1st Division of the XX Corps. He commanded the brigade
Brigade
A brigade is a major tactical military formation that is typically composed of two to five battalions, plus supporting elements depending on the era and nationality of a given army and could be perceived as an enlarged/reinforced regiment...

 at the Battles of Resaca
Battle of Resaca
The Battle of Resaca was part of the Atlanta Campaign of the American Civil War. The battle was waged in both Gordon and Whitfield counties, Georgia, from May 13 - 15, 1864. It ended inconclusively with the Confederate Army retreating. The engagement was fought between the Military Division of the...

, Cassville
Cassville, Georgia
Cassville is an unincorporated community in Bartow County in the U.S. state of Georgia. It was originally the county seat before the name was changed from Cass County...

, New Hope Church
Battle of New Hope Church
The Battle of New Hope Church was fought May 25–26, 1864, between the Union force of Maj. Gen. William T. Sherman and the Confederate Army of Tennessee under Gen. Joseph E. Johnston during the Atlanta Campaign of the American Civil War...

, Lost Mountain, Kennesaw Mountain
Battle of Kennesaw Mountain
The Battle of Kennesaw Mountain was fought on June 27, 1864, during the Atlanta Campaign of the American Civil War. It was the most significant frontal assault launched by Union Maj. Gen. William T. Sherman against the Confederate Army of Tennessee under Gen. Joseph E...

, Marietta
Battle of Marietta
The Battle of Marietta was a series of military operations from June 9 through July 3, 1864, in Cobb County, Georgia, between Union and Confederate forces during the American Civil War. The Union forces, led by Maj. Gen. William Tecumseh Sherman, encountered the Confederate Army of Tennessee, led...

, Peachtree Creek
Battle of Peachtree Creek
The Battle of Peachtree Creek was fought in Georgia on July 20, 1864, as part of the Atlanta Campaign in the American Civil War. It was the first major attack by Lt. Gen. John B. Hood since taking command of the Confederate Army of Tennessee. The attack was against Maj. Gen. William T. Sherman's...

 and Atlanta
Battle of Atlanta
The Battle of Atlanta was a battle of the Atlanta Campaign fought during the American Civil War on July 22, 1864, just southeast of Atlanta, Georgia. Continuing their summer campaign to seize the important rail and supply center of Atlanta, Union forces commanded by William T. Sherman overwhelmed...

. When Sherman's main force made its March to the Sea
Sherman's March to the Sea
Sherman's March to the Sea is the name commonly given to the Savannah Campaign conducted around Georgia from November 15, 1864 to December 21, 1864 by Maj. Gen. William Tecumseh Sherman of the Union Army in the American Civil War...

, Harrison's brigade was transferred to the District of Etowah and participated in the Battle of Nashville
Battle of Nashville
The Battle of Nashville was a two-day battle in the Franklin-Nashville Campaign that represented the end of large-scale fighting in the Western Theater of the American Civil War. It was fought at Nashville, Tennessee, on December 15–16, 1864, between the Confederate Army of Tennessee under...

. On March 22, 1865, Harrison earned his final promotion, to the rank of brigadier general
Brigadier general (United States)
A brigadier general in the United States Army, Air Force, and Marine Corps, is a one-star general officer, with the pay grade of O-7. Brigadier general ranks above a colonel and below major general. Brigadier general is equivalent to the rank of rear admiral in the other uniformed...

, and marched in the Grand Review
Grand Review of the Armies
The Grand Review of the Armies was a military procession and celebration in Washington, D.C., on May 23 and May 24, 1865, following the close of the American Civil War...

 in Washington, D.C.
Washington, D.C.
Washington, D.C., formally the District of Columbia and commonly referred to as Washington, "the District", or simply D.C., is the capital of the United States. On July 16, 1790, the United States Congress approved the creation of a permanent national capital as permitted by the U.S. Constitution....

 before mustering out of the army on June 8, 1865.

Indiana politics

While serving in the army in October 1864, Harrison was reelected reporter
Law report
Law reports or reporters are series of books that contain judicial opinions from a selection of case law decided by courts. When a particular judicial opinion is referenced, the law report series in which the opinion is printed will determine the case citation format.The term reporter was...

 of the Supreme Court of Indiana
Supreme Court of Indiana
The Supreme Court of Indiana is the state supreme court of Indiana. The court was established by Article Seven of the Indiana Constitution and is the highest judicial authority within Indiana...

 and served four more years. The position was not politically powerful, but did afford Harrison a steady income. Harrison's public profile was raised when President Grant appointed him to represent the federal government in a civil claim brought by Lambdin P. Milligan
Lambdin P. Milligan
Lambdin Purdy Milligan was a lawyer, farmer, and a leader of the Knights of the Golden Circle during the American Civil War. In 1864, he was unlawfully given a capital sentence, and later set free by the United States Supreme Court, setting a precedent later named after him: Ex parte Milligan...

, whose wartime conviction for treason
Treason
In law, treason is the crime that covers some of the more extreme acts against one's sovereign or nation. Historically, treason also covered the murder of specific social superiors, such as the murder of a husband by his wife. Treason against the king was known as high treason and treason against a...

 had been reversed by the Supreme Court. Due to Harrison's advocacy, the damages awarded against the government were minimal. Local Republicans urged Harrison to run for Congress, but he initially confined his political activities to speaking on behalf of other Republican candidates, a task for which he received high praises from his colleagues.

In 1872, Harrison entered the race for the Republican nomination for governor of Indiana
Governor of Indiana
The Governor of Indiana is the chief executive of the state of Indiana. The governor is elected to a four-year term, and responsible for overseeing the day-to-day management of the functions of many agencies of the Indiana state government. The governor also shares power with other statewide...

. He was unable to get the support of former Governor Oliver Morton, who favored his opponent, Thomas M. Browne
Thomas M. Browne
Thomas McLelland Browne was a U.S. Representative from Indiana.Born in New Paris, Ohio, Browne moved to Indiana in January 1844.He attended the common schools.He moved to Winchester, Indiana, in 1848.He studied law....

, and ultimately Harrison lost his bid for statewide office. Harrison returned to his law practice where, despite the Panic of 1873
Panic of 1873
The Panic of 1873 triggered a severe international economic depression in both Europe and the United States that lasted until 1879, and even longer in some countries. The depression was known as the Great Depression until the 1930s, but is now known as the Long Depression...

, he was financially successful enough to build a grand new home in Indianapolis
Indianapolis
Indianapolis is the capital of the U.S. state of Indiana, and the county seat of Marion County, Indiana. As of the 2010 United States Census, the city's population is 839,489. It is by far Indiana's largest city and, as of the 2010 U.S...

 in 1874. He continued to make speeches on behalf of Republican candidates and policies.

In 1876 Harrison did not initially seek his party's nomination for governor, but when the original nominee dropped out of the race, Harrison accepted the Republicans' invitation to take his place on the ticket. His campaign was based strongly on economic policy, and he favored deflating the national currency. His policies proved popular with his base, but he was ultimately defeated by a plurality to James D. Williams
James D. Williams
James Douglas Williams , nicknamed Blue Jeans Bill, was a farmer and Democratic politician who held public office in Indiana for four decades, and was the only farmer elected as the Governor of Indiana, serving from 1877 to 1880...

, losing by 5,084 votes out of a total 434,457 cast. Harrison remained a prominent Republican in Indiana following his defeat, and when the Great Railroad Strike of 1877
Great railroad strike of 1877
The Great Railroad Strike of 1877 began on July 14 in Martinsburg, West Virginia, United States and ended some 45 days later after it was put down by local and state militias, and federal troops.-Economic conditions in the 1870s:...

 reached Indianapolis, he helped to mediate between the workers and management and to preserve public order.

When Senator Morton died in 1878, the Republicans nominated Harrison to run for the seat, but the party failed to gain a majority in the state legislature, and the Democratic majority elected Daniel W. Voorhees
Daniel W. Voorhees
Daniel Wolsey Voorhees was a lawyer and United States Senator from Indiana, who was leader of the Democratic party and an anti-war Copperhead during the American Civil War.-Biography:...

 instead. President Hayes
Rutherford B. Hayes
Rutherford Birchard Hayes was the 19th President of the United States . As president, he oversaw the end of Reconstruction and the United States' entry into the Second Industrial Revolution...

 appointed Harrison to the Mississippi River Commission in 1879, which was founded to facilitate internal improvements on that river. He was a delegate at the 1880 Republican National Convention
1880 Republican National Convention
The 1880 Republican National Convention convened from June 2 to June 8, 1880 at the Interstate Exposition Building in Chicago, Illinois, United States, and nominated James A. Garfield and Chester A...

 the following year, and was thought to have been instrumental breaking the deadlock which resulted in the ultimate nomination of James A. Garfield.

United States Senator

After Harrison led the Republican delegation to the National Convention, he was again mentioned as a possible Senate candidate. He gave speeches in favor of Garfield in Indiana and New York, further raising his profile in the party. When the Republicans retook the state legislature
Indiana General Assembly
The Indiana General Assembly is the state legislature, or legislative branch, of the state of Indiana. It is a bicameral legislature that consists of a lower house, the Indiana House of Representatives, and an upper house, the Indiana Senate...

, Harrison's election to the Senate was threatened by his intra-party rival Judge Walter Q. Gresham
Walter Q. Gresham
Walter Quintin Gresham was an American statesman and jurist. He served as United States Postmaster General, as a judge on the United States Courts of Appeals, was a two-time candidate for the Republican presidential nomination and was Secretary of State, and Secretary of the Treasury...

, but Harrison was ultimately chosen. After President James Garfield
James Garfield
James Abram Garfield served as the 20th President of the United States, after completing nine consecutive terms in the U.S. House of Representatives. Garfield's accomplishments as President included a controversial resurgence of Presidential authority above Senatorial courtesy in executive...

's victory in 1880, Harrison was offered a cabinet position, but he declined, preferring to begin his term as senator.

Harrison served in the Senate from March 4, 1881, to March 4, 1887. He was chairman of the U.S. Senate Committee on Transportation Routes to the Seaboard
United States Senate Committee on Transportation Routes to the Seaboard
The United States Senate Committee on Transportation Routes to the Seaboard, was a Senate committee, initially authorized by Senate resolution as a select committee on December 16, 1872...

 (47th Congress) and U.S. Senate Committee on Territories (48th and 49th Congresses). The major issue confronting Senator Harrison in 1881 was the budget surplus. Democrats wished to reduce the tariff
Tariff
A tariff may be either tax on imports or exports , or a list or schedule of prices for such things as rail service, bus routes, and electrical usage ....

, thus limiting the amount of money the government took in; Republicans instead wished to spend the money on internal improvements
Internal improvements
Internal improvements is the term used historically in the United States for public works from the end of the American Revolution through much of the 19th century, mainly for the creation of a transportation infrastructure: roads, turnpikes, canals, harbors and navigation improvements...

 and pensions for Civil War veterans. Harrison took his party's side and advocated for generous pension
Pension
In general, a pension is an arrangement to provide people with an income when they are no longer earning a regular income from employment. Pensions should not be confused with severance pay; the former is paid in regular installments, while the latter is paid in one lump sum.The terms retirement...

s for veterans and their widows. Harrison also supported, unsuccessfully, aid for education of Southerners, especially the children of the slaves freed in the Civil War, believing that education was necessary to make the white and black populations truly equal in political and economic power. Harrison differed from his party in opposing the Chinese Exclusion Act of 1882
Chinese Exclusion Act (United States)
The Chinese Exclusion Act was a United States federal law signed by Chester A. Arthur on May 8, 1882, following revisions made in 1880 to the Burlingame Treaty of 1868. Those revisions allowed the U.S. to suspend immigration, and Congress subsequently acted quickly to implement the suspension of...

, believing that it violated existing treaties with China
China
Chinese civilization may refer to:* China for more general discussion of the country.* Chinese culture* Greater China, the transnational community of ethnic Chinese.* History of China* Sinosphere, the area historically affected by Chinese culture...

.

In 1884, Harrison and Gresham again opposed each other, this time for influence at the 1884 Republican National Convention
1884 Republican National Convention
The 1884 Republican National Convention was a presidential nominating convention held at the Exposition Hall in Chicago, Illinois, on June 3–6, 1884. It resulted in the nomination of James G. Blaine and John A. Logan for President and Vice President of the United States. The ticket lost in the...

. The delegation ended up supporting James G. Blaine
James G. Blaine
James Gillespie Blaine was a U.S. Representative, Speaker of the United States House of Representatives, U.S. Senator from Maine, two-time Secretary of State...

, the eventual nominee. In the Senate, Harrison achieved passage of his Dependent Pension Bill only to see it vetoed by President Grover Cleveland
Grover Cleveland
Stephen Grover Cleveland was the 22nd and 24th president of the United States. Cleveland is the only president to serve two non-consecutive terms and therefore is the only individual to be counted twice in the numbering of the presidents...

. His efforts to further the admission of new western states were stymied by Democrats, who feared that the new states would elect Republicans to Congress.

In 1885, the Democrats redistricted
Redistricting
Redistricting is the process of drawing United States electoral district boundaries, often in response to population changes determined by the results of the decennial census. In 36 states, the state legislature has primary responsibility for creating a redistricting plan, in many cases subject to...

 the Indiana state legislature, which resulted in an increased Democratic majority in 1886, despite an overall Republican majority statewide. Harrison was defeated in his bid for reelection, the result being determined against him after a deadlock in the state senate
Indiana Senate
The Indiana Senate is the upper house of the Indiana General Assembly, the state legislature of the U.S. state of Indiana. The Senate is composed of 50 members representing an equal number of constituent districts. Senators serve four-year terms without term limits...

, with the legislature eventually choosing Democrat David Turpie
David Turpie
David Battle Turpie was an American politician.Turpie was born in Hamilton County, Ohio. He grew up in Ohio and graduated from Kenyon College in 1848. He studied law and moved to Logansport, Indiana where he set up a law practice...

. Harrison returned to Indianapolis and his law practice, but stayed active in state and national politics.

Election of 1888

Nomination

The initial favorite for the Republican nomination was the previous nominee, James G. Blaine
James G. Blaine
James Gillespie Blaine was a U.S. Representative, Speaker of the United States House of Representatives, U.S. Senator from Maine, two-time Secretary of State...

 of Maine
Maine
Maine is a state in the New England region of the northeastern United States, bordered by the Atlantic Ocean to the east and south, New Hampshire to the west, and the Canadian provinces of Quebec to the northwest and New Brunswick to the northeast. Maine is both the northernmost and easternmost...

. After Blaine wrote several letters denying any interest in the nomination, his supporters divided among other candidates, with John Sherman
John Sherman (politician)
John Sherman, nicknamed "The Ohio Icicle" , was a U.S. Representative and U.S. Senator from Ohio during the Civil War and into the late nineteenth century. He served as both Secretary of the Treasury and Secretary of State and was the principal author of the Sherman Antitrust Act...

 of Ohio
Ohio
Ohio is a Midwestern state in the United States. The 34th largest state by area in the U.S.,it is the 7th‑most populous with over 11.5 million residents, containing several major American cities and seven metropolitan areas with populations of 500,000 or more.The state's capital is Columbus...

 as the leader among them. Others, including Chauncey Depew
Chauncey Depew
Chauncey Mitchell Depew was an attorney for Cornelius Vanderbilt's railroad interests, president of the New York Central Railroad System, and a United States Senator from New York from 1899 to 1911.- Biography:...

 of New York
New York
New York is a state in the Northeastern region of the United States. It is the nation's third most populous state. New York is bordered by New Jersey and Pennsylvania to the south, and by Connecticut, Massachusetts and Vermont to the east...

, Russell Alger of Michigan
Michigan
Michigan is a U.S. state located in the Great Lakes Region of the United States of America. The name Michigan is the French form of the Ojibwa word mishigamaa, meaning "large water" or "large lake"....

, and Harrison's old nemesis Walter Q. Gresham, now a federal appellate court judge in Chicago
United States Court of Appeals for the Seventh Circuit
The United States Court of Appeals for the Seventh Circuit is a federal court with appellate jurisdiction over the courts in the following districts:* Central District of Illinois* Northern District of Illinois...

, also sought the delegates' support at the 1888 Republican National Convention
1888 Republican National Convention
-Synopsis:The 1888 Republican National Convention was a presidential nominating convention held at the Auditorium Building in Chicago, Illinois, on June 19-25, 1888. It resulted in the nomination of Benjamin Harrison, a former senator of Indiana, and Levi P. Morton, a former U.S. representative of...

. Blaine did not choose any of the candidates as a successor, so none entered the convention with a majority of the Blaine supporters.

Harrison placed fourth on the first ballot, with Sherman in the lead, and the next few ballots showed little change. The Blaine supporters shifted their support around among the candidates they found acceptable, and when they shifted to Harrison, they found a candidate who could attract the votes of many delegates. He was nominated on the eighth ballot by 544 to 108 votes, winning the Republican presidential nomination. Levi P. Morton
Levi P. Morton
Levi Parsons Morton was a Representative from New York and the 22nd Vice President of the United States . He also later served as the 31st Governor of New York.-Biography:...

 of New York was chosen as his running mate.

Election over Cleveland

Harrison's opponent in the general election was incumbent President Grover Cleveland
Grover Cleveland
Stephen Grover Cleveland was the 22nd and 24th president of the United States. Cleveland is the only president to serve two non-consecutive terms and therefore is the only individual to be counted twice in the numbering of the presidents...

. He ran a front-porch campaign
Front porch campaign
A front porch campaign is a low-key electoral campaign used in American politics in which the candidate remains close to or at home to make speeches to supporters who come to visit. The candidate largely does not travel around or otherwise actively campaign. The successful presidential campaigns...

, typical of the era, in which the candidate does not campaign but only receives delegations and makes pronouncements from his home town. The Republicans campaigned heavily on the issue of protective tariffs
Tariff
A tariff may be either tax on imports or exports , or a list or schedule of prices for such things as rail service, bus routes, and electrical usage ....

, turning out protectionist voters in the important industrial states of the North. The election focused on the swing states of New York
New York
New York is a state in the Northeastern region of the United States. It is the nation's third most populous state. New York is bordered by New Jersey and Pennsylvania to the south, and by Connecticut, Massachusetts and Vermont to the east...

, New Jersey
New Jersey
New Jersey is a state in the Northeastern and Middle Atlantic regions of the United States. , its population was 8,791,894. It is bordered on the north and east by the state of New York, on the southeast and south by the Atlantic Ocean, on the west by Pennsylvania and on the southwest by Delaware...

, Connecticut
Connecticut
Connecticut is a state in the New England region of the northeastern United States. It is bordered by Rhode Island to the east, Massachusetts to the north, and the state of New York to the west and the south .Connecticut is named for the Connecticut River, the major U.S. river that approximately...

, and Harrison's home state of Indiana. Harrison and Cleveland split these four states, with Harrison winning by means of notoriously fraudulent balloting
Blocks of Five
The Blocks of Five were groups of electors who sold their votes to the United States Republican Party for the United States presidential election of 1888.- Background :...

 in New York and Indiana. Voter turnout was 79.3% because of a large interest in the campaign issue, and nearly eleven million votes were cast. Although Harrison received 90,000 fewer popular votes than Cleveland, he carried the Electoral College 233 to 168.

Although he had made no political bargains, his supporters had given many pledges upon his behalf. When Boss Matthew Quay
Matthew Quay
Matthew Stanley Quay was an immensely powerful Pennsylvania political boss; "kingmaker" . "Boss" Quay's political principles and actions stood in contrast to an unusually attractive personality...

 of Pennsylvania
Pennsylvania
The Commonwealth of Pennsylvania is a U.S. state that is located in the Northeastern and Mid-Atlantic regions of the United States. The state borders Delaware and Maryland to the south, West Virginia to the southwest, Ohio to the west, New York and Ontario, Canada, to the north, and New Jersey to...

, who rebuffed for a Cabinet position for his political support during the convention, heard that Harrison ascribed his narrow victory to Providence
Divine Providence
In Christian theology, divine providence, or simply providence, is God's activity in the world. " Providence" is also used as a title of God exercising His providence, and then the word are usually capitalized...

, 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 known as the Centennial President because his inauguration celebrated the centenary of the first inauguration of George Washington
George Washington
George Washington was the dominant military and political leader of the new United States of America from 1775 to 1799. He led the American victory over Great Britain in the American Revolutionary War as commander-in-chief of the Continental Army from 1775 to 1783, and presided over the writing of...

 in 1789.

Presidency 1889–1893

Inauguration

Harrison was sworn into office on Monday, March 4, 1889 by Chief Justice
Chief Justice of the United States
The Chief Justice of the United States is the head of the United States federal court system and the chief judge of the Supreme Court of the United States. The Chief Justice is one of nine Supreme Court justices; the other eight are the Associate Justices of the Supreme Court of the United States...

 Melville Fuller
Melville Fuller
Melville Weston Fuller was the eighth Chief Justice of the United States between 1888 and 1910.-Early life and education:...

. Harrison's Inauguration
Inauguration
An inauguration is a formal ceremony to mark the beginning of a leader's term of office. An example is the ceremony in which the President of the United States officially takes the oath of office....

 ceremony took place during a rainstorm in Washington D.C.. Cleveland attended the ceremony and held an umbrella over Harrison's head as he took the oath of office. His speech was brief and half as long as that of his grandfather, William Henry Harrison
William Henry Harrison
William Henry Harrison was the ninth President of the United States , an American military officer and politician, and the first president to die in office. He was 68 years, 23 days old when elected, the oldest president elected until Ronald Reagan in 1980, and last President to be born before the...

, who held the record with the longest Inaugural Address. In his inaugural address Harrison credited the nation's growth to the influences of education and religion, urged the cotton states and mining territories to attain the industrial proportions of the eastern states and promised a protective tariff. During his speech Harrison also urged early statehood for the territories and advocated pensions for veterans, a statement that was met with enthusiastic applause. In foreign affairs, Harrison pledged vigilance of national honor and reaffirmed the Monroe Doctrine
Monroe Doctrine
The Monroe Doctrine is a policy of the United States introduced on December 2, 1823. It stated that further efforts by European nations to colonize land or interfere with states in North or South America would be viewed as acts of aggression requiring U.S. intervention...

 as a mainstay of foreign policy, while also urging the building of a modern navy and a merchant marine force. He reaffirmed his commitment to international peace through noninterference in the affairs of foreign governments. John Philip Sousa
John Philip Sousa
John Philip Sousa was an American composer and conductor of the late Romantic era, known particularly for American military and patriotic marches. Because of his mastery of march composition, he is known as "The March King" or the "American March King" due to his British counterpart Kenneth J....

's Marine Corps
Marine corps
A marine is a member of a force that specializes in expeditionary operations such as amphibious assault and occupation. The marines traditionally have strong links with the country's navy...

 band played at the Inaugural Ball inside the Pension Building
National Building Museum
The National Builders Museum, in Washington, D.C., United States, is a museum of "architecture, design, engineering, construction, and urban planning"...

 with a large crowd attending.

Civil service reform and pensions

Civil service
Civil service
The term civil service has two distinct meanings:* A branch of governmental service in which individuals are employed on the basis of professional merit as proven by competitive examinations....

 reform was a prominent issue following Harrison's election. Harrison had campaigned as a supporter of the merit system
Merit system
The merit system is the process of promoting and hiring government employees based on their ability to perform a job, rather than on their political connections. It is the opposite of the spoils system.- History :...

, as opposed to the spoils system
Spoils system
In the politics of the United States, a spoil system is a practice where a political party, after winning an election, gives government jobs to its voters as a reward for working toward victory, and as an incentive to keep working for the party—as opposed to a system of awarding offices on the...

. Although some of the civil service had been classified under the Pendleton Act
Pendleton Civil Service Reform Act
The Pendleton Civil Service Reform Act of United States is a federal law established in 1883 that stipulated that government jobs should be awarded on the basis of merit. The act provided selection of government employees competitive exams, rather than ties to politicians or political affiliation...

 by previous administrations, Harrison spent much of his first months in office deciding on political appointments. Congress was widely divided on the issue and Harrison was reluctant to address the issue in hope of preventing the alienation of either side. The issue became a political football
Political football
A political football is a political topic or issue that is continually debated but left unresolved. The term is used often during a political election campaign to highlight issues that have not been completely addressed, such as the natural environment and abortion.There are many reasons that an...

 of the time and was immortalized in a cartoon captioned "What can I do when both parties insist on kicking?" Harrison appointed Theodore Roosevelt
Theodore Roosevelt
Theodore "Teddy" Roosevelt was the 26th President of the United States . He is noted for his exuberant personality, range of interests and achievements, and his leadership of the Progressive Movement, as well as his "cowboy" persona and robust masculinity...

 and Hugh Smith Thompson
Hugh Smith Thompson
Hugh Smith Thompson was the 81st Governor of South Carolina, from 1882 to 1886.Born in Charleston, Thompson graduated from The Citadel in 1856 and was an instructor at the Arsenal Academy from 1858 to 1861...

, both reformers, to the Civil Service Commission
United States Civil Service Commission
The United States Civil Service Commission a three man commission was created by the Pendleton Civil Service Reform Act, which was passed into law on January 16, 1883...

, but otherwise did little to further the reform cause.

Harrison quickly saw the enactment of the Dependent and Disability Pension Act
Dependent and Disability Pension Act
The Dependent and Disability Pension Act was passed by the United States Congress in 1890, and signed into law by President Benjamin Harrison. It was originally vetoed by Grover Cleveland...

 in 1890, a cause he had championed while in Congress. In addition to providing pensions to disabled Civil War veterans (regardless of the cause of their disability), the Act depleted some of the troublesome federal budget surplus. Pension expenditures reached $135 million under Harrison, the largest expenditure of its kind to that point in American history, a problem exacerbated by Pension Bureau
Pension Bureau
The Pension Bureau was a division of the United States Department of the Interior. There was a separate entity at the United States Department of War for handling military pension claims....

 commissioner James R. Tanner
James R. Tanner
James R. Tanner was an American Civil War soldier and in 1889 Commissioner of the Pension Bureau.-Military and political career:...

's expansive interpretation of the pension laws.

Tariff

The issue of tariff
Tariff
A tariff may be either tax on imports or exports , or a list or schedule of prices for such things as rail service, bus routes, and electrical usage ....

 levels had been a major point of contention in American politics since before the Civil War, and tariffs became the most prominent issue of the 1888 election. The high tariff rates had created a surplus of money in the Treasury, which led many Democrats (as well as the growing Populist movement) to call for lowering the rates. Most Republicans wished the rates to remain high, and to spend the surplus on internal improvements
Public works
Public works are a broad category of projects, financed and constructed by the government, for recreational, employment, and health and safety uses in the greater community...

 as well as the elimination of some internal taxes.

Representative William McKinley
William McKinley
William McKinley, Jr. was the 25th President of the United States . He is best known for winning fiercely fought elections, while supporting the gold standard and high tariffs; he succeeded in forging a Republican coalition that for the most part dominated national politics until the 1930s...

 and Senator Nelson W. Aldrich
Nelson W. Aldrich
Nelson Wilmarth Aldrich was a prominent American politician and a leader of the Republican Party in the Senate, where he served from 1881 to 1911....

 framed the McKinley Tariff
McKinley Tariff
The Tariff Act of 1890, commonly called the McKinley Tariff, was an act framed by Representative William McKinley that became law on October 1, 1890. The tariff raised the average duty on imports to almost fifty percent, an act designed to protect domestic industries from foreign competition...

 that would raise the tariff even higher, including making some rates intentionally prohibitive. At Secretary of State James Blaine's urging, Harrison attempted to make the tariff more acceptable by urging Congress to add reciprocity
Reciprocity (international relations)
In international relations and treaties, the principle of reciprocity states that favours, benefits, or penalties that are granted by one state to the citizens or legal entities of another, should be returned in kind....

 provisions, which would allow the President to reduce rates when other countries reduced their rates on American exports. The tariff was removed from imported raw sugar
Sugar
Sugar is a class of edible crystalline carbohydrates, mainly sucrose, lactose, and fructose, characterized by a sweet flavor.Sucrose in its refined form primarily comes from sugar cane and sugar beet...

, and sugar growers in the United States were given a two cent per pound subsidy on their production. Even with the reductions and reciprocity, the McKinley Tariff enacted the highest average rate in American history, and the spending associated with it contributed to the reputation of the Billion-Dollar Congress
51st United States Congress
The Fifty-first United States Congress, referred to by some critics as the Billion Dollar Congress, was a meeting of the legislative branch of the United States federal government, consisting of the United States Senate and the United States House of Representatives. It met in Washington, D.C...

.

Antitrust laws

Members of both parties were concerned with the growth of the power of trusts
Trust (19th century)
A special trust or business trust is a business entity formed with intent to monopolize business, to restrain trade, or to fix prices. Trusts gained economic power in the U.S. in the late 19th and early 20th centuries. Some, but not all, were organized as trusts in the legal sense...

 and monopolies
Monopoly
A monopoly exists when a specific person or enterprise is the only supplier of a particular commodity...

, and one of the first acts of the 51st Congress
51st United States Congress
The Fifty-first United States Congress, referred to by some critics as the Billion Dollar Congress, was a meeting of the legislative branch of the United States federal government, consisting of the United States Senate and the United States House of Representatives. It met in Washington, D.C...

 was to pass the Sherman Antitrust Act
Sherman Antitrust Act
The Sherman Antitrust Act requires the United States federal government to investigate and pursue trusts, companies, and organizations suspected of violating the Act. It was the first Federal statute to limit cartels and monopolies, and today still forms the basis for most antitrust litigation by...

, sponsored by Senator John Sherman of Ohio. The Act passed by wide margins in both houses, and Harrison signed it into law. The Sherman Act was the first Federal act of its kind, and marked a new use of federal government power. While Harrison approved of the law and its intent, there is no evidence he ever sought to enforce it very vigorously. The government successfully concluded only one case during Harrison's time in office (against a Tennessee coal company), although it did pursue cases against several other trusts.

Silver

One of the most volatile issues of the 1880s was whether the currency should be backed by gold and silver
Bimetallism
In economics, bimetallism is a monetary standard in which the value of the monetary unit is defined as equivalent both to a certain quantity of gold and to a certain quantity of silver; such a system establishes a fixed rate of exchange between the two metals...

, or by gold alone
Gold standard
The gold standard is a monetary system in which the standard economic unit of account is a fixed mass of gold. There are distinct kinds of gold standard...

. The issue cut across party lines, with western Republicans and southern Democrats joining together in the call for the free coinage of silver, and both parties' representatives in the northeast holding firm for the gold standard. Because silver was worth less than its legal equivalent in gold, taxpayers paid their government bills in silver, while international creditors demanded payment in gold, resulting in a depletion of the nation's gold supply. Owing to worldwide deflation in the late nineteenth century, however, a strict gold standard had resulted in reduction of incomes without the equivalent reduction in debts, pushing debtors and the poor to call for silver coinage as an inflationary measure.

The silver coinage issue had not been much discussed in the 1888 campaign, so Harrison's exact position on the issue was initially unclear, but his appointment of a silverite Treasury Secretary, William Windom
William Windom
This page is about the former United States politician. William Windom was an American politician from Minnesota. He served as U.S. Representative from 1859 to 1869, and as U.S. Senator from 1870 to January 1871, from March 1871 to March 1881, and from November 1881 to 1883...

, encouraged the free silver supporters. Harrison attempted to steer a middle course between the two positions, advocating a free coinage of silver, but at its own value, not at a fixed ratio to gold. This served only to disappoint both factions. In July 1890, Senator Sherman achieved passage of a compromise bill, the Sherman Silver Purchase Act
Sherman Silver Purchase Act
The Sherman Silver Purchase Act was enacted on July 14, 1890 as a United States federal law. It was named after its author, Senator John Sherman, an Ohio Republican, chairman of the Senate Finance Committee...

, in both houses. Harrison thought that the bill would end the controversy, and he signed it into law. The effect of the bill, however, was the increased depletion of the nation's gold supply, a problem that would persist until the second Cleveland
Grover Cleveland
Stephen Grover Cleveland was the 22nd and 24th president of the United States. Cleveland is the only president to serve two non-consecutive terms and therefore is the only individual to be counted twice in the numbering of the presidents...

 administration resolved it.

Civil rights

After regaining the majority in both Houses of Congress, some Republicans, led by Harrison, attempted to pass legislation to protect black Americans' civil rights. Harrison's Attorney General, William H. H. Miller, through the Justice Department, ordered the prosecutions for violation of voting rights in the South; however, white juries often failed to convict or indict violators. This prompted Harrison to urge Congress to pass legislation that would "secure all our people a free exercise of the right of suffrage and every other civil right under the Constitution and laws."
Harrison endorsed the proposed Federal Elections Bill
Lodge Bill
The Lodge Bill or Federal Elections Bill of 1890 was a bill drafted by Representative Henry Cabot Lodge of Massachusetts, and sponsored in the Senate by George Frisbie Hoar; it was endorsed by President Benjamin Harrison. The bill would have allowed the federal government to ensure that elections...

 written by Representative Henry Cabot Lodge
Henry Cabot Lodge
Henry Cabot "Slim" Lodge was an American Republican Senator and historian from Massachusetts. He had the role of Senate Majority leader. He is best known for his positions on Meek policy, especially his battle with President Woodrow Wilson in 1919 over the Treaty of Versailles...

 and Senator George Frisbie Hoar
George Frisbie Hoar
George Frisbie Hoar was a prominent United States politician and United States Senator from Massachusetts. Hoar was born in Concord, Massachusetts...

 in 1890, but the bill was defeated in the Senate. This was to be the last civil rights legislation attempted by Congress until the 1920s. Following the failure to pass the bill, Harrison continued to speak in favor of African American
African American
African Americans are citizens or residents of the United States who have at least partial ancestry from any of the native populations of Sub-Saharan Africa and are the direct descendants of enslaved Africans within the boundaries of the present United States...

 civil rights in addresses to Congress. In 1892, Harrison went before Congress and declared, "the frequent lynching
Lynching
Lynching is an extrajudicial execution carried out by a mob, often by hanging, but also by burning at the stake or shooting, in order to punish an alleged transgressor, or to intimidate, control, or otherwise manipulate a population of people. It is related to other means of social control that...

 of colored people is without the excuse...that the accused have an undue influence over courts and juries." While Harrison believed the Constitution did not permit him to end the practice of lynching, he did question the states' civil rights records, arguing that if states have the authority over civil rights, then "we have a right to ask whether they are at work upon it." Harrison also supported a bill proposed by Senator Henry W. Blair
Henry W. Blair
Henry William Blair was a United States Representative and Senator from New Hampshire. Born in Campton, he attended the common schools and private academies, studied law, was admitted to the bar in 1859 and commenced practice in Plymouth...

, which would have granted federal funding to schools regardless of the students' races. He also endorsed a proposed constitutional amendment to overturn the 1883 Supreme Court rulings that declared much of the Reconstruction-era Civil Rights Acts unconstitutional. None of these measures gained congressional approval.

Indian policy

During Harrison's term, the Lakota Sioux, previously confined to reservations in South Dakota, grew restive under the influence of Wovoka
Wovoka
Wovoka , also known as Jack Wilson, was the Northern Paiute religious leader who founded the Ghost Dance movement. Wovoka means "cutter" or "wood cutter" in the Northern Paiute language.-Biography:...

, a medicine man, who encouraged them to participate in a militant movement called the Ghost Dance
Ghost Dance
The Ghost Dance was a new religious movement which was incorporated into numerous Native American belief systems. The traditional ritual used in the Ghost Dance, the circle dance, has been used by many Native Americans since prehistoric times...

. On December 29, 1890, troops from the Seventh Calvary clashed with the Sioux at the Battle of Wounded Knee
Wounded Knee Massacre
The Wounded Knee Massacre happened on December 29, 1890, near Wounded Knee Creek on the Lakota Pine Ridge Indian Reservation in South Dakota, USA. On the day before, a detachment of the U.S. 7th Cavalry Regiment commanded by Major Samuel M...

. The result was a massacre of at least 146 Sioux, including many women and children. The dead Sioux were buried in a mass grave. Harrison was concerned and ordered Major General Nelson A. Miles
Nelson A. Miles
Nelson Appleton Miles was a United States soldier who served in the American Civil War, Indian Wars, and the Spanish-American War.-Early life:Miles was born in Westminster, Massachusetts, on his family's farm...

 to investigate. Harrison also ordered 3500 federal troops to South Dakota, and the uprising ended. Wounded Knee is considered the last major American Indian battle in the 19th century. Harrison's general policy on American Indians was to encourage assimilation into white society and, despite the massacre, he believed the policy to have been generally successful. This policy, known as the allotment system and embodied in the Dawes Act, was favored by liberal reformers at the time, but eventually proved detrimental to American Indians as most of their land was resold at low prices to white speculators.

Technology

In Harrison's time in office, the United States was continuing to experience advances in science and technology. With the exception of Grover Cleveland
Grover Cleveland
Stephen Grover Cleveland was the 22nd and 24th president of the United States. Cleveland is the only president to serve two non-consecutive terms and therefore is the only individual to be counted twice in the numbering of the presidents...

, Harrison was the earliest President whose voice is known to be preserved. That was originally made on a wax phonograph cylinder
Phonograph cylinder
Phonograph cylinders were the earliest commercial medium for recording and reproducing sound. Commonly known simply as "records" in their era of greatest popularity , these cylinder shaped objects had an audio recording engraved on the outside surface which could be reproduced when the cylinder was...

 in 1889 by Giuseppe Bettini. Harrison also had electricity installed in the White House for the first time by Edison General Electric Company
General Electric
General Electric Company , or GE, is an American multinational conglomerate corporation incorporated in Schenectady, New York and headquartered in Fairfield, Connecticut, United States...

, but he and his wife would not touch the light switches for fear of electrocution and would often go to sleep with the lights on.

Foreign policy

Harrison and Secretary of State
United States Secretary of State
The United States Secretary of State is the head of the United States Department of State, concerned with foreign affairs. The Secretary is a member of the Cabinet and the highest-ranking cabinet secretary both in line of succession and order of precedence...

 Blaine
James G. Blaine
James Gillespie Blaine was a U.S. Representative, Speaker of the United States House of Representatives, U.S. Senator from Maine, two-time Secretary of State...

 were at times personally unfriendly, but were in perfect agreement on an active foreign policy and reciprocal trade. In San Francisco, while on tour of the United States in 1891, Harrison proclaimed that the United States was in a "new epoch" of trade and that the expanding navy would protect oceanic shipping and increase American influence and prestige abroad. The First International Conference of American States
First International Conference of American States
The First International Conference of American States was held in Washington, D.C., United States, from 20 January to 27 April 1890.-Background to the Conference:...

 met in Washington
Washington, D.C.
Washington, D.C., formally the District of Columbia and commonly referred to as Washington, "the District", or simply D.C., is the capital of the United States. On July 16, 1790, the United States Congress approved the creation of a permanent national capital as permitted by the U.S. Constitution....

 in 1889, establishing an information center that later became the Pan American Union
Organization of American States
The Organization of American States is a regional international organization, headquartered in Washington, D.C., United States...

. The conference failed to achieve any diplomatic breakthrough, but that failure led Blaine to focus on tariff reciprocity with Latin American nations, which was more successful. Harrison sent Frederick Douglass
Frederick Douglass
Frederick Douglass was an American social reformer, orator, writer and statesman. After escaping from slavery, he became a leader of the abolitionist movement, gaining note for his dazzling oratory and incisive antislavery writing...

 as ambassador to Haiti
Haiti
Haiti , officially the Republic of Haiti , is a Caribbean country. It occupies the western, smaller portion of the island of Hispaniola, in the Greater Antillean archipelago, which it shares with the Dominican Republic. Ayiti was the indigenous Taíno or Amerindian name for the island...

, but failed in his attempts to establish a naval base there.

The first international crisis Harrison had to face occurred over fishing rights on the Alaska
Alaska
Alaska is the largest state in the United States by area. It is situated in the northwest extremity of the North American continent, with Canada to the east, the Arctic Ocean to the north, and the Pacific Ocean to the west and south, with Russia further west across the Bering Strait...

n coast. Canada
Canada
Canada is a North American country consisting of ten provinces and three territories. Located in the northern part of the continent, it extends from the Atlantic Ocean in the east to the Pacific Ocean in the west, and northward into the Arctic Ocean...

 claimed fishing and sealing
Seal hunting
Seal hunting, or sealing, is the personal or commercial hunting of seals. The hunt is currently practiced in five countries: Canada, where most of the world's seal hunting takes place, Namibia, the Danish region of Greenland, Norway and Russia...

 rights around many of the Aleutian Islands, in violation of U.S. law. As a result, the United States Navy
United States Navy
The United States Navy is the naval warfare service branch of the United States Armed Forces and one of the seven uniformed services of the United States. The U.S. Navy is the largest in the world; its battle fleet tonnage is greater than that of the next 13 largest navies combined. The U.S...

 seized several Canadian ships. In 1891, the administration began negotiations with the British that would eventually lead to a compromise over fishing rights after international arbitration, with the British government paying compensation in 1898.

In 1891, a diplomatic crisis arose in Chile
Chile
Chile ,officially the Republic of Chile , is a country in South America occupying a long, narrow coastal strip between the Andes mountains to the east and the Pacific Ocean to the west. It borders Peru to the north, Bolivia to the northeast, Argentina to the east, and the Drake Passage in the far...

, later called the Baltimore Crisis
Baltimore Crisis
The Baltimore Crisis was a diplomatic incident that took place between Chile and the United States, during the Chilean Civil War, as result of the growing American influence in Pacific Coast region of Latin America in the 1890s. It remains a nodal event because it marked a dramatic shift in United...

. The American minister to Chile, Patrick Egan
Patrick Egan (land reformer and diplomat)
Patrick Egan was an Irish and American political leader.Egan was born in Ballymahon, Co. Longford, Ireland. His family later moved to Dublin and at the age of fourteen he entered the office of an extensive grain and milling firm, the North City Milling Company, in Dublin, and before he was twenty...

, granted asylum to Chileans who were seeking refuge from Chilean Civil War
Chilean Civil War
The Chilean Civil War of 1891 was an armed conflict between forces supporting Congress and forces supporting the sitting President, José Manuel Balmaceda. The war saw a confrontation between the Chilean Army and the Chilean Navy, which had sided with the president and the congress, respectively...

. This raised tensions between Chile and the United States, and when sailors from the Baltimore
USS Baltimore (C-3)
The fourth USS Baltimore was a United States Navy cruiser, the second protected cruiser to be built by an American yard. Like the previous one, , the design was commissioned from the British company of W...

took shore leave
Shore leave
Shore leave is the leave that professional sailors get to spend on dry land. It is culturally infamous for its excess. Sailors without family obligations and with basic lodging needs provided aboard ship may spend their wages for the journey in a brief period of extravagance ashore and return to...

 in Valparaiso
Valparaíso
Valparaíso is a city and commune of Chile, center of its third largest conurbation and one of the country's most important seaports and an increasing cultural center in the Southwest Pacific hemisphere. The city is the capital of the Valparaíso Province and the Valparaíso Region...

, a fight broke out, resulting in the deaths of two American sailors and three dozen arrested. With Blaine out of town, Harrison himself drafted a demand for reparations. The Chilean minister of foreign affairs replied that Harrison's message was "erroneous or deliberately incorrect," and said that the Chilean government was treating the affair the same as any other criminal matter. Tensions increased as Harrison threatened to break off diplomatic relations unless the United States received a suitable apology. Ultimately, after Blaine returned to the capital, the administration made conciliatory overtures to the Chilean government. After the letter was withdrawn, war was averted.

In the last days of his administration, Harrison dealt with the issue of Hawaii
Hawaii
Hawaii is the newest of the 50 U.S. states , and is the only U.S. state made up entirely of islands. It is the northernmost island group in Polynesia, occupying most of an archipelago in the central Pacific Ocean, southwest of the continental United States, southeast of Japan, and northeast of...

an annexation. Following a coup d'état
Coup d'état
A coup d'état state, literally: strike/blow of state)—also known as a coup, putsch, and overthrow—is the sudden, extrajudicial deposition of a government, usually by a small group of the existing state establishment—typically the military—to replace the deposed government with another body; either...

 against Queen Liliuokalani, the new government of Hawaii led by Sanford Dole
Sanford B. Dole
Sanford Ballard Dole was a lawyer and jurist in the Hawaiian Islands as a kingdom, protectorate, republic and territory...

 petitioned for annexation by the United States. Harrison was interested in expanding American influence in Hawaii and in establishing a naval base at Pearl Harbor
Pearl Harbor
Pearl Harbor, known to Hawaiians as Puuloa, is a lagoon harbor on the island of Oahu, Hawaii, west of Honolulu. Much of the harbor and surrounding lands is a United States Navy deep-water naval base. It is also the headquarters of the U.S. Pacific Fleet...

 but had not previously expressed an opinion on annexing the islands. The United States consul
Consul (representative)
The political title Consul is used for the official representatives of the government of one state in the territory of another, normally acting to assist and protect the citizens of the consul's own country, and to facilitate trade and friendship between the peoples of the two countries...

 in Hawaii John L. Stevens
John L. Stevens
John Leavitt Stevens was the United States Department of State Minister to the Kingdom of Hawaii in 1893 when he was accused of conspiring to overthrow Queen Liliuokalani in association with the Committee of Safety, led by Lorrin A. Thurston and Sanford B...

 recognized the new government on February 1, 1893 and forwarded their proposals to Washington. With just one month left before leaving office, the administration signed a treaty on February 14 and submitted it to the Senate the next day with Harrison's recommendation. The Senate failed to act, and President Cleveland withdrew the treaty shortly after taking office.

Cabinet


Supreme Court

Harrison appointed four justices to the Supreme Court of the United States
Supreme Court of the United States
The Supreme Court of the United States is the highest court in the United States. It has ultimate appellate jurisdiction over all state and federal courts, and original jurisdiction over a small range of cases...

. His first nominee was David Josiah Brewer
David Josiah Brewer
David Josiah Brewer was an American jurist and an Associate Justice of the U.S. Supreme Court for 20 years.-Early life:...

, a judge on the Court of Appeals for the Eighth Circuit
United States Court of Appeals for the Eighth Circuit
The United States Court of Appeals for the Eighth Circuit is a federal court with appellate jurisdiction over the district courts in the following districts:* Eastern District of Arkansas* Western District of Arkansas...

. Brewer, the nephew of Justice Field
Stephen Johnson Field
Stephen Johnson Field was an American jurist. He was an Associate Justice of the United States Supreme Court of the United States Supreme Court from May 20, 1863, to December 1, 1897...

, had previously been considered for a cabinet position. Shortly after Brewer's nomination, Justice Matthews died, creating another vacancy. Harrison had considered Henry Billings Brown
Henry Billings Brown
Henry Billings Brown was an associate justice of the Supreme Court of the United States from January 5, 1891, to May 28, 1906. He was the author of the opinion for the Court in Plessy v...

, a Michigan
Michigan
Michigan is a U.S. state located in the Great Lakes Region of the United States of America. The name Michigan is the French form of the Ojibwa word mishigamaa, meaning "large water" or "large lake"....

 judge and admiralty law
Admiralty law
Admiralty law is a distinct body of law which governs maritime questions and offenses. It is a body of both domestic law governing maritime activities, and private international law governing the relationships between private entities which operate vessels on the oceans...

 expert, for the first vacancy and now nominated him for the second. For the third vacancy, which arose in 1892, Harrison nominated George Shiras
George Shiras, Jr.
George Shiras, Jr. was an Associate Justice of the Supreme Court of the United States who was nominated to the Court by Republican President Benjamin Harrison. At that time, he had 37 years of private legal practice, but had never judged a case...

. Shiras's appointment was somewhat controversial because his age—sixty—was older than usual for a newly appointed Justice. Shiras also drew the opposition of Senator Matthew Quay
Matthew Quay
Matthew Stanley Quay was an immensely powerful Pennsylvania political boss; "kingmaker" . "Boss" Quay's political principles and actions stood in contrast to an unusually attractive personality...

 of Pennsylvania because they were in different factions of the Pennsylvania Republican party, but his nomination was nonetheless approved. Finally, at the end of his term, Harrison nominated Howell Edmunds Jackson
Howell Edmunds Jackson
Howell Edmunds Jackson was an American jurist and politician. He served on the United States Supreme Court, in the U.S. Senate, United States Court of Appeals for the Sixth Circuit, and the Tennessee House of Representatives. He authored notable opinions on the Interstate Commerce Act and the...

 to replace Justice Lamar
Lucius Quintus Cincinnatus Lamar (II)
Lucius Quintus Cincinnatus Lamar was an American politician and jurist from Mississippi. A United States Representative and Senator, he also served as United States Secretary of the Interior in the first administration of President Grover Cleveland, as well as an Associate Justice of the U.S...

, who died in January 1893. Harrison knew the incoming Senate would be controlled by Democrats, so he selected Jackson, a respected Tennessee Democrat with whom he was friendly to ensure his nominee would not be rejected. Jackson's nomination was indeed successful, but he died after only two years on the Court.

Other courts

In addition to his Supreme Court appointments, Harrison appointed ten judges to the courts of appeals
United States court of appeals
The United States courts of appeals are the intermediate appellate courts of the United States federal court system...

, two judges to the circuit courts
United States circuit court
The United States circuit courts were the original intermediate level courts of the United States federal court system. They were established by the Judiciary Act of 1789. They had trial court jurisdiction over civil suits of diversity jurisdiction and major federal crimes. They also had appellate...

, and 26 judges to the district courts
United States district court
The United States district courts are the general trial courts of the United States federal court system. Both civil and criminal cases are filed in the district court, which is a court of law, equity, and admiralty. There is a United States bankruptcy court associated with each United States...

. Because Harrison was in office when Congress eliminated the circuit courts in favor of the courts of appeals, he and Grover Cleveland were the only two Presidents to have appointed judges to both bodies.

States admitted to the Union

When Harrison took office, no new states had been admitted in more than a decade, owing to Congressional Democrats' reluctance to admit states that they believed would send Republican members. Early in Harrison's term, however, the lame duck
Lame duck (politics)
A lame duck is an elected official who is approaching the end of his or her tenure, and especially an official whose successor has already been elected.-Description:The status can be due to*having lost a re-election bid...

 Congress passed bills that admitted four states to the union: North Dakota
North Dakota
North Dakota is a state located in the Midwestern region of the United States of America, along the Canadian border. The state is bordered by Canada to the north, Minnesota to the east, South Dakota to the south and Montana to the west. North Dakota is the 19th-largest state by area in the U.S....

 and South Dakota
South Dakota
South Dakota is a state located in the Midwestern region of the United States. It is named after the Lakota and Dakota Sioux American Indian tribes. Once a part of Dakota Territory, South Dakota became a state on November 2, 1889. The state has an area of and an estimated population of just over...

 on November 2, 1889, Montana
Montana
Montana is a state in the Western United States. The western third of Montana contains numerous mountain ranges. Smaller, "island ranges" are found in the central third of the state, for a total of 77 named ranges of the Rocky Mountains. This geographical fact is reflected in the state's name,...

 on November 8, and Washington on November 11. The following year two more states held constitutional conventions and were admitted: Idaho
Idaho
Idaho is a state in the Rocky Mountain area of the United States. The state's largest city and capital is Boise. Residents are called "Idahoans". Idaho was admitted to the Union on July 3, 1890, as the 43rd state....

 on July 3 and Wyoming
Wyoming
Wyoming is a state in the mountain region of the Western United States. The western two thirds of the state is covered mostly with the mountain ranges and rangelands in the foothills of the Eastern Rocky Mountains, while the eastern third of the state is high elevation prairie known as the High...

 on July 10, 1890. The initial Congressional delegations from all six states were solidly Republican. More states were admitted under Harrison's presidency than any other since George Washington
George Washington
George Washington was the dominant military and political leader of the new United States of America from 1775 to 1799. He led the American victory over Great Britain in the American Revolutionary War as commander-in-chief of the Continental Army from 1775 to 1783, and presided over the writing of...

's.

Reelection campaign in 1892

Long before the end of the Harrison Administration, the treasury surplus had evaporated and the nation's economic health was worsening with the approach of the conditions that would lead to the Panic of 1893
Panic of 1893
The Panic of 1893 was a serious economic depression in the United States that began in 1893. Similar to the Panic of 1873, this panic was marked by the collapse of railroad overbuilding and shaky railroad financing which set off a series of bank failures...

. Congressional elections in 1890 went against the Republicans, several party leaders withdrew their support for President Harrison, although he had cooperated with Congressional Republicans on legislation, and it was clear that Harrison would not be re-nominated unanimously. Many of Harrison's detractors pushed for the nomination of Blaine, until Blaine publicly proclaimed himself not to be a candidate in February 1892. Some party leaders still hoped to draft Blaine into running, and speculation increased when Blaine resigned as Secretary of State in June. At the convention
1892 Republican National Convention
The 1892 National Convention of the Republican Party of the United States was held at the Industrial Exposition Building, Minneapolis, Minnesota, from June 7 to June 10, 1892. The party nominated Benjamin Harrison from Indiana for re-election as President of the United States on the first ballot...

 in Minneapolis, Harrison prevailed on the first ballot, but not without significant opposition.

The Democrats renominated former President Cleveland, making the 1892 election a rematch of the one four years earlier. The issue of the tariff had worked to the Republicans' advantage in 1888, but the revisions of the past four years had made imported goods so expensive that now many voters shifted to the reform position. Many westerners, traditionally Republican voters, defected to the new Populist Party candidate, James Weaver, who promised free silver, generous veterans' pensions, and an eight-hour work day
Eight-hour day
The eight-hour day movement or 40-hour week movement, also known as the short-time movement, had its origins in the Industrial Revolution in Britain, where industrial production in large factories transformed working life and imposed long hours and poor working conditions. With working conditions...

. The effects of the suppression of the Homestead Strike
Homestead Strike
The Homestead Strike was an industrial lockout and strike which began on June 30, 1892, culminating in a battle between strikers and private security agents on July 6, 1892. It was one of the most serious disputes in U.S. labor history...

 rebounded against the Republicans as well, even though no federal action was involved.

Just two weeks before the election, on October 25, Harrison's wife Caroline died after a long battle with tuberculosis
Tuberculosis
Tuberculosis, MTB, or TB is a common, and in many cases lethal, infectious disease caused by various strains of mycobacteria, usually Mycobacterium tuberculosis. Tuberculosis usually attacks the lungs but can also affect other parts of the body...

. Harrison did not actively campaign on his own behalf during his reelection bid and remained with his wife. Their daughter Mary Harrison McKee
Mary Harrison McKee
Mary Scott Harrison McKee was the first lady to her father President Benjamin Harrison, when her mother, Caroline Harrison, was seriously ill and then died....

 continued the duties of the First Lady
First Lady of the United States
First Lady of the United States is the title of the hostess of the White House. Because this position is traditionally filled by the wife of the president of the United States, the title is most often applied to the wife of a sitting president. The current first lady is Michelle Obama.-Current:The...

 after her mother's death. Cleveland ultimately won the election with 277 electoral votes to Harrison's 145. Cleveland also won in the popular vote 5,556,918 to 5,176,108.

Post-presidency

After he left office, Harrison visited the World's Columbian Exposition
World's Columbian Exposition
The World's Columbian Exposition was a World's Fair held in Chicago in 1893 to celebrate the 400th anniversary of Christopher Columbus's arrival in the New World in 1492. Chicago bested New York City; Washington, D.C.; and St...

 in Chicago in June 1893, where the nation's first commemorative postage
Commemorative stamp
A commemorative stamp is a postage stamp, often issued on a significant date such as an anniversary, to honor or commemorate a place, event or person. The subject of the commemorative stamp is usually spelled out in print, unlike definitive stamps which normally depict the subject along with the...

 was introduced, an initiative of his Postmaster General, John Wanamaker
John Wanamaker
John Wanamaker was a United States merchant, religious leader, civic and political figure, considered by some to be the father of modern advertising and a "pioneer in marketing." Wanamaker was born in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania.-Biography:He was born on July 11, 1838.He opened his first store in...

. After the Expo, Harrison returned to his home in Indianapolis. From July 1895 to March 1901, Harrison was on the Board of Trustees of Purdue University
Purdue University
Purdue University, located in West Lafayette, Indiana, U.S., is the flagship university of the six-campus Purdue University system. Purdue was founded on May 6, 1869, as a land-grant university when the Indiana General Assembly, taking advantage of the Morrill Act, accepted a donation of land and...

. Harrison Hall, a campus dormitory, was named in his honor. In 1896 he remarried, to Mary Scott Lord Dimmick
Mary Dimmick Harrison
Mary Dimmick Harrison was the second wife of the 23rd United States president Benjamin Harrison. She was 25 years younger than Harrison, and was the niece of his first wife.- Biography :...

, the niece of his deceased wife, and 25 years his junior. Harrison's two adult children, Russell, 41 years old at the time, and Mary (Mamie), 38, did not attend the wedding because they disagreed with their father's marriage. Benjamin and Mary had one child, Elizabeth (February 21, 1897 – December 26, 1955). In 1899 Harrison went to the First Peace Conference at The Hague
The Hague
The Hague is the capital city of the province of South Holland in the Netherlands. With a population of 500,000 inhabitants , it is the third largest city of the Netherlands, after Amsterdam and Rotterdam...

. He wrote a series of articles about the Federal government and the presidency, which were republished in 1897 as a book titled This Country of Ours. For a few months in 1894, he moved to San Francisco, California
California
California is a state located on the West Coast of the United States. It is by far the most populous U.S. state, and the third-largest by land area...

, and taught and gave law lectures at Stanford University
Stanford University
The Leland Stanford Junior University, commonly referred to as Stanford University or Stanford, is a private research university on an campus located near Palo Alto, California. It is situated in the northwestern Santa Clara Valley on the San Francisco Peninsula, approximately northwest of San...

. In 1896 some of Harrison's friends in the Republican party tried to convince him to seek the presidency again, but he declined and openly supported William McKinley
William McKinley
William McKinley, Jr. was the 25th President of the United States . He is best known for winning fiercely fought elections, while supporting the gold standard and high tariffs; he succeeded in forging a Republican coalition that for the most part dominated national politics until the 1930s...

 and traveled around the nation making appearances and speeches on McKinley's behalf.

In 1900 Harrison served as an attorney for the Republic of Venezuela
Venezuela
Venezuela , officially called the Bolivarian Republic of Venezuela , is a tropical country on the northern coast of South America. It borders Colombia to the west, Guyana to the east, and Brazil to the south...

 in their boundary dispute with the United Kingdom
United Kingdom of Great Britain and Ireland
The United Kingdom of Great Britain and Ireland was the formal name of the United Kingdom during the period when what is now the Republic of Ireland formed a part of it....

. The two nations disputed the border between Venezuela and British Guiana
British Guiana
British Guiana was the name of the British colony on the northern coast of South America, now the independent nation of Guyana.The area was originally settled by the Dutch at the start of the 17th century as the colonies of Essequibo, Demerara, and Berbice...

. An international trial was agreed upon and the Venezuelan government hired Harrison to represent them in the case. He filed an 800-page brief for them and traveled to Paris
Paris
Paris is the capital and largest city in France, situated on the river Seine, in northern France, at the heart of the Île-de-France region...

 where he spent more than 25 hours arguing in court. Although he lost the case, his legal arguments won him international renown.

Harrison developed a heavy cold in February 1901. Despite treatment by steam vapor inhalation, his condition only worsened, and he died from influenza
Influenza
Influenza, commonly referred to as the flu, is an infectious disease caused by RNA viruses of the family Orthomyxoviridae , that affects birds and mammals...

 and pneumonia
Pneumonia
Pneumonia is an inflammatory condition of the lung—especially affecting the microscopic air sacs —associated with fever, chest symptoms, and a lack of air space on a chest X-ray. Pneumonia is typically caused by an infection but there are a number of other causes...

 at his home
Benjamin Harrison Home
The Benjamin Harrison Home, in the Old Northside Historic District of Indianapolis, Indiana, was the home of the Twenty-third President of the United States, Benjamin Harrison. Benjamin Harrison had the house built in the 1870s of red brick, and it had sixteen rooms...

 on Wednesday, March 13, 1901, at the age of 67. Harrison is interred in Indianapolis's Crown Hill Cemetery
Crown Hill Cemetery
Crown Hill Cemetery, located at 700 West 38th Street in Indianapolis, is the third largest non-governmental cemetery in the United States at . It contains of paved road, over 150 species of trees and plants, over 185,000 graves, and services roughly 1,500 burials per year. It sits on the highest...

, along with both of his wives.

Legacy

Harrison left office as the nation slowly lost confidence in his Republican policies. As his successor grew less popular during the Panic of 1893
Panic of 1893
The Panic of 1893 was a serious economic depression in the United States that began in 1893. Similar to the Panic of 1873, this panic was marked by the collapse of railroad overbuilding and shaky railroad financing which set off a series of bank failures...

, however, Harrison's popularity grew in retirement. His legacy among historians is scant, and "general accounts of his period inaccurately treat Harrison as a cipher". More recently, "historians have recognized the importance of the Harrison administration—and Harrison himself—in the new foreign policy of the late nineteenth century. The administration faced challenges throughout the hemisphere, in the Pacific, and in relations with the European powers, involvements that would be taken for granted in the twentieth century." Harrison's presidency belongs properly to the nineteenth century, but he "clearly pointed the way" to the modern presidency that would emerge under William McKinley
William McKinley
William McKinley, Jr. was the 25th President of the United States . He is best known for winning fiercely fought elections, while supporting the gold standard and high tariffs; he succeeded in forging a Republican coalition that for the most part dominated national politics until the 1930s...

.

After his death, Harrison was memorialized on several postage stamps. The first was a 13-cent stamp issued on November 18, 1902, shortly after his death. The engraved likeness of Harrison was modeled after a photo provided by Harrison's widow. In all Harrison has been honored on six U.S. Postage stamps, more than most other U.S. Presidents. Harrison also appeared on the five-dollar National Bank Notes from the third charter period, beginning in 1902. A dollar coin with his image, part of the Presidential $1 Coin Program, is due to be issued in 2012.

A Liberty Ship
Liberty ship
Liberty ships were cargo ships built in the United States during World War II. Though British in conception, they were adapted by the U.S. as they were cheap and quick to build, and came to symbolize U.S. wartime industrial output. Based on vessels ordered by Britain to replace ships torpedoed by...

 launched in 1942, the SS Benjamin Harrison
SS Benjamin Harrison
The SS Benjamin Harrison was a Liberty ship built in the United States during World War II. She was named after Benjamin Harrison, the twenty-third President of the United States....

, was also named in his honor. The ship was scuttled a year later after being damaged in a U-boat
U-boat
U-boat is the anglicized version of the German word U-Boot , itself an abbreviation of Unterseeboot , and refers to military submarines operated by Germany, particularly in World War I and World War II...

 attack. In 1951, Harrison's home was opened to the public as a library and museum after initially having been used as a dormitory for a music school after 1937. It was designated as a National Historic Landmark
National Historic Landmark
A National Historic Landmark is a building, site, structure, object, or district, that is officially recognized by the United States government for its historical significance...

 in 1964.

Ancestors



Further reading



External links


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