22nd and 24th president of the USA, 1885–89 and 1893–97; the first Democratic president elected after the Civil War. He attempted to check corruption in public life and reduce tariffs. These policies provoked political opposition, and he was defeated by the Republican Benjamin Harrison in 1888. He was returned to office in 1892 and during the economic depression that followed the ‘Panic of 1893’ pressed Congress to repeal the Sherman Silver Purchase Act to protect the gold standard.
In foreign policy he was a noninterventionist, blocking the annexation of Hawaii and refusing to go to war with Spain over Cuba in 1895. In 1895 he initiated arbitration that settled a boundary dispute between Britain and Venezuela. An unswerving conservative, he refused to involve the government in economic affairs but used federal troops to end the Pullman strike in 1894. Within a year of his taking office for the second time, 4 million were unemployed and the USA was virtually bankrupt.
Cleveland was born in Caldwell, New Jersey, and trained as a lawyer. He served as mayor of Buffalo, New York, 1881–82 and as governor of New York 1882–84. During his first presidential term Cleveland advocated that an increasing number of government employees and officials should be placed in the civil service. He also pleaded for raw materials needed in manufacturing to be admitted to the country free of duty. He was the only president to hold office for two nonconsecutive terms. Before he left the White House, Cleveland saw his gold-standard policy repudiated by his party, which had nominated William Bryan, an advocate of free silver, to succeed him.
Cleveland, Grover: First Inaugural Address
Grover Cleveland – Twenty-second President 1885–1889, Twenty-fourth President 1893–1897