Ranked #23: Cleveland was a competent manager of the office of the presidency although he had to plans for reshaping the country or the future of the office. He was able to get elected twice losing the office in between. he restored and strengthen the power and autonomy of the executive branch.
Summary: Cleveland love to fish and hunt. He took morning walks and afternoon carrage rides. He played eucher, cribbage, pinochle and pokr. He smoked cigars and drank liqour. as a young man he was frequently in visit the several Buffalo saloons and beer gardens. He loved to eat German food.
Bio: He was a large bulk of a man weighing in at 270 pounds at his heaviest while being only 5’ 11”. In fact he was always big, even in his childhood. He had a thick neck, double chin and the hands the size of bear claws. Cleveland liked beer and cigars. According to one of his biographers, he had a sort of duel personality. One side was a playful prankster who engaged in happy-go-lucky conversation. The other was a serious, conscientious responsible workaholic. This was the Cleveland who had a temper and spoke candidly.
He was also a very honest man. One prime example was during the 1884 presidential election, he was accused of fathering a child out of wedlock. While indiscretions like this could crumble a presidential campaign, Cleveland wisely provided support for the child and mother stating that he could not be absolutely sure if it was his child or not. This promptly placed the issue on the back burner and Cleveland won the election. During his second term he developed jaw cancer and decided to have a risky operation on a yacht at sea to keep the incident away from the press. The operation, (along with a second procedure) was a success however Cleveland felt it important to maintain the secret. He suffered hearing loss as a result of these operations.
Cleveland became the only President to served in two non-concurrent terms. He won in 1884, lost in 1888 and then won in 1892, (beating the man who defeated him in 1888). This gives you a clear idea as to how successful his 1888 opponent was as President. Cleveland considered himself more of a manager of the office as opposed to a dynamic leader. He felt his job was to make sure Congress was not overreaching it’s authority, (which was common during this time in history when Congress was more influential than the office of the President). This is not to say that business did not get accomplished, but that most all important bills were not initiated by him. Although not considered an significant President and the fact that he really had no vision for the future of the country, he did help restore the power balance between legislative and executive branch by vetoing several bills and asserting executive privilege.
Pros: Was an honest man. Gave Native Americans citizenship. Was a solid president.
Cons: Sent troops to break up the Pullman Railroad Strikes where workers were killed. The Panic of 1893. Signed the Scott Act.
Born: March 18, 1837, Caldwell, New Jersey
Died: June 24, 1908 (aged 71) Princeton, New Jersey
Term: March 4, 1885 to March 3, 1889 & March 4, 1893 to March 3, 1897 (2 terms)
Political Party: Democrat
Education: Some common school; Read law (1855–1859)