Saturday, May 30, 2009
(president 1885-1889; 1893-1897)
By Richard E. Noble
Grover Cleveland was the heftiest president yet, weighing over two hundred and fifty pounds. Grover is another "lawyer" president. If you want to grow up to be president there seems to be a definite trend here. You either have to be a military hero/general, or a lawyer. Up to this point in history we have only one president who is not one of the above, and he was not elected. Andrew Johnson was the son of a laborer, and himself a tailor. He was also an autodidact. That's not a dirty word. It means that he was self- educated.
But, back to Grover. Mister Cleveland has another distinction. He was not only not a military hero and/or General, but he actually bought himself a substitute in the Civil War and this was such a common and accepted practice that it doesn't seem that it was even brought up as a criticism in any of his campaigns. He ran for president three times. He was criticized though for having a child out of wedlock via a Mrs. Maria Halpin. This was a little embarrassing especially when you consider that he was running on a "throw the rascals out" campaign. Corruption and favoritism for political appointments and jobs was still plaguing the political structure and Grover was the Honest Abe type, Democratic reform candidate. "Tell them the truth," is the famous quote attributed to Grover upon being asked by his staff as to what should be said with regards to this illegitimate child.
The illegitimate child grew up to be none other than Bill Clinton...no, no, no, I'm just kidding. I don't know what happen to the little b______d, but I'd like to find out.
Grover, as I said, ran three times, and was elected president twice. He is the only president to be elected to two non-consecutive terms. In between, he was beat by Benjamin Harrison, even though Grover actually won the popular vote. Grover also has the distinction of being the only Democratic president elected between the years 1861 and 1913. Woodrow Wilson claims that notion to be rather untrue because in his opinion Grover Cleveland was really a very conservative Republican in reality. But there are many union bosses today who wouldn't really consider Woodrow Wilson much of a Democrat either. So there you go.
Grover had the support of a group of well known reformers called the "Mugwumps."
Mugwumps, were to their critics, fellows who parted their hair in the middle, and were neither male nor female. Mark Twain once bragged of being a Mugwump, himself.
During Cleveland's administration the country almost ran out of Gold, and Grover cut some kind of a bailout with J.P. Morgan. Grover was considered a man of principles but veterans and workers were not on his list of princi-pals. He vetoed any Civil War Pension program bills, sent the federal troops in on the Pullman strikers against governor Altgeld’s request and advice, and sicked attorney general Richard Olney (one of the founders of the General Manager's Association) onto Coxey's Army of unemployed relief seekers who were marching on Washington.
At forty nine years of age he married a young twenty-one year old chickie, named Francis Folsom. She was very pretty and very popular. One of Grover's enemies said that he hated Grover so much that even Grover's young bride appeared ugly to him - which says a lot for her, but not much for Grover.