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Grover Cleveland: The 22nd President

Cleveland was the first Democrat elected after the Civil War.

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Stephen Grover Cleveland (1837 – 1908) was the 22nd president of the United States. During the Civil War, Cleveland was able to stay out of the war by paying $300 for someone else to take his place. He was the first Democrat after the war to be elected president and the only person to get a second four-year term that wasn’t immediately after the first (1885-1889 and 1893-1897). C

In 1886, Cleveland married his ward, Frances Folsom. Her father had been Cleveland’s law partner until he died. At the age of 21, Frances became the youngest first lady. Their wedding was the first and only held at the White House.

During the first term of his presidency, Cleveland became known as the “guardian president” because of how often he vetoed bills. Cleveland hated subsidies and believed that hardship built character, so he vetoed and barred anything that seemed like special favors.

In all, he used his veto power 584 times, which was more than double the number by all previous presidents. Franklin D. Roosevelt is the only president with more vetoes than Cleveland, but then he was elected to four terms.

Cleveland also got involved in the railroads, angering a lot of people when he ordered an investigation of western lands held by government grant. He used his powers to force the railroads to return 81,000,000 acres.

Cleveland directed Congress to reduce high protective tariffs in December 1887. His staff was not too happy with that and warned that he had just given the Republicans an advantage for the 1888 campaign. “What is the use of being elected or re-elected unless you stand for something?” he replied, and then lost his party’s nomination for re-election.

In 1893, he ran again and was elected. In March 1897, Cleveland finished his final presidential term, but still remained active in politics.

An interesting fact: On display at the Mutter Museum in Philadelphia is Cleveland’s “secret tumor,” an epithelioma that was removed from the roof of his mouth.

National Correspondent at and Kelli Ballard is an author, editor, and publisher. Her writing interests span many genres including a former crime/government reporter, fiction novelist, and playwright. Originally a Central California girl, Kelli now resides in the Seattle area.

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