was the 23rd President of the United States.
Served as President: 1889-1893 Vice President: Levi Morton Party: Republican Age at inauguration: 55
Born: August 20, 1833 in North Bend, Ohio Died: March 13, 1901 in Indianapolis, Indiana
Married: Caroline Lavinia Scott Harrison Children: Russell, Mary, Elizabeth Nickname: Little Ben, Kid Gloves Harrison
What is Benjamin Harrison most known for?
Benjamin Harrison is known for being president between the two terms of Grover Cleveland as well as being the grandson of the 9th president of the United States, William Henry Harrison. He is also known for having signed the Sherman Antitrust Act while president.
Benjamin grew up in a famous family that included his father the congressman and his grandfather the president. His grandfather became president when he was seven years old. Despite his famous family, he did not grow up wealthy, but on a farm where he spent much of his childhood outdoors fishing and hunting.
Benjamin Harrison on a US Stamp Source: US Postal Service
Benjamin was educated in a local one-room schoolhouse. He later graduated from Miami University in Ohio. After graduating, he moved with his wife Caroline to Indianapolis, Indiana where he passed the bar exam and became a lawyer.
Harrison worked as a lawyer until the Civil War broke out. He joined the Union Army and fought under General Sherman in Atlanta for a time. By the time he left the army in 1865 he had reached the rank of brigadier general.
Before He Became President
After the war, Harrison was elected to be the reporter for the Supreme Court of Indiana. He became involved heavily with the Republican Party. He ran for governor twice and Senator once, but was not elected.
In 1881, Harrison was finally elected to the U.S. Senate. He served in the Senate for the next six years until 1887. In 1888 Harrison received the Republican nomination for president. He lost the popular vote by over 90,000 votes, but managed to win the electoral vote and was elected over Grover Cleveland.
Benjamin Harrison's Presidency
Harrison's presidency was mostly uneventful. Some of the events and his accomplishments are outlined below:
Big Budget - The federal budget grew massively while Harrison was president. He had the first budget to exceed $1 billion when there wasn't a war going on. A lot of the budget was used to improve the navy and harbors throughout the U.S. coasts.
Additional States - Six states were added during his presidency including Montana, North Dakota, South Dakota, Washington, Idaho, and Wyoming. Democrats did not want the states added as they were afraid they would vote Republican. Harrison felt it was important that the country continue to expand west.
The Sherman Antitrust Act - This law was to help prevent large monopolies where big companies would buy up their competition and then raise prices unfairly.
Civil Rights Bills - Harrison fought hard for civil rights legislation while in office. He failed to get any of it to pass congress, but he laid the groundwork for the future.
Benjamin Harrison by Eastman Johnson
How did he die?
After leaving the office of president Harris returned to his law practice. At one point he had a famous case where he represented the Republic of Venezuela in a boundary dispute against Great Britain. He died of pneumonia at home in 1901.
Fun Facts About Benjamin Harrison
He came from a famous family. Not only was his grandfather William president, his father was a U.S. Congressman and his great-grandfather signed the Declaration of Independence.
Like many candidates at the time, Harrison ran his campaign mostly from his home where he would speak to crowds who gathered outside. At one point they had 40,000 drummers visit him from surrounding states. That must have been a loud meeting!
His wife died while he was president. He later married her niece who was 25 years younger than him.
He was the first president to have electricity in the White House. He was also the first president to have his voice recorded.
Some people called him the "human iceberg" because he had such a stiff personality.