22nd & 24th U.S. President: Grover Cleveland

About the twenty-second and twenty-fourth President of the United States Grover Cleveland, his birth, death, biography, description, facts and quotes.

22nd and 24th President


Born: March 18, 1837, Caldwell, N.J. Son of a Presbyterian minister.

Died: June 24, 1908, at his home in Princeton, N.J. His last words: "I have tried so hard to do right."

Career: Clerk in a law office, attorney in Buffalo, N.Y., active in Democratic politics, appointed district attorney, elected sheriff of Erie County, resumed private law practice for 7 years. Elected mayor of Buffalo, governor of New York, and President of the U.S. all within the space of 3 1/2 years.

Personal Life: Cleveland entered the White House as a bachelor, but he had enjoyed an involvement back in Buffalo that had culminated in the birth of an illegitimate child. During his 2nd year as President, Cleveland married a beautiful 21-year-old named Frances Folsom. Frances was the daughter of Cleveland's late law partner, and "Uncle Cleve" had been her legal guardian since she was 11. The marriage produced 5 children, and frequent (but unsubstantiated) rumors that "the Beast of Buffalo" beat his lovely wife.

His Person: At 5'11" and 260 lbs., he was a corpulent figure, with a short, bull neck constantly bulging out of stiff collars. High-pitched voice, gray eyes, huge walrus moustache. His favorite dish was corned beef and cabbage.

Elections: In the election of 1884, Cleveland beat Republican James G. Blaine by one of the narrowest popular margins in American history: 4,879,507 to 4,850,293. The count in the Electoral College was 219 to 182. A switch of just 528 votes in one crucial State (New York) would have thrown the election to Blaine. Four years later, against the Republican nominee Benjamin Harrison, President Cleveland faced another close race, but this time the pendulum swung against him and he lost. In 1892, after 4 years of "retirement," Cleveland made a comeback in his rematch with Harrison. He won 5,555,426 votes to Harrison's 5,182,690. The Electoral College margin was 277 to 145. James B. Weaver, candidate of the radical Populist party, polled more than one million votes, while carrying 4 States worth 22 electors.

Terms of Office: March 4, 1885-March 4, 1889, and March 4, 1893-March 4, 1897 (8 years).

Little-Known Facts: In 1893, a cancerous growth was discovered on the roof of Cleveland's mouth, and most of the President's upper left jaw was removed. This major surgery was a closely guarded secret--Cleveland feared that worries over his health might make a gloomy economic situation (the "Depression" of '93) even worse. The surgery proved successful and Cleveland was provided with an artificial jaw of vulcanized rubber. The facts of the case did not come out until 1917.

Quote from Cleveland:

"I am honest and sincere in my desire to do well, but the question is whether I know enough to accomplish what I desire."

Quotes about Him:

"Backbone! He has so much of it, it makes him stick out in front!"--Samuel Tilden

"I feel that the vast business interests of the country will be safe in your hands."--Jay Gould

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