Science Fair Project Encyclopedia
This article is about the President. For the Angband member, see Ben Harrison
A grandson of President William Henry Harrison, Benjamin was born in North Bend, Hamilton County, Ohio to John Scott Harrison (later a U.S. Congressman from Ohio) and Elizabeth Ramsey Irwin. He attended Miami University, Oxford, Ohio, where he was a member of the fraternity Phi Delta Theta, and graduated in 1852. He studied law in Cincinnati then moved to Indianapolis in 1854. He was admitted to the bar and became reporter of the decisions of the supreme court of the State.
Harrison served in the Union Army during the Civil War, brevetting as a brigadier general, and mustering out in 1865. While in the field in October 1864 he was re-elected reporter of the State supreme court and served four years. He was an unsuccessful Republican candidate for Governor of Indiana in 1876. He was appointed a member of the Mississippi River Commission in 1879, and elected as a Republican to the United States Senate, where he served from March 4, 1881, to March 3, 1887. He was chairman of the U.S. Senate Committee on Transportation Routes to the Seaboard (47th Congress ) and U.S. Senate Committee on Territories (48th and 49th Congresses ).
Harrison was elected President of the United States in 1888. In the Presidential election, Harrison received 100,000 fewer popular votes than Cleveland, but carried the Electoral College 233 to 168. Although Harrison had made no political bargains, his supporters had given innumerable pledges upon his behalf. When Boss Matt Quay of Pennsylvania heard that Harrison ascribed his narrow victory to Providence, Quay exclaimed that Harrison would never know "how close a number of men were compelled to approach... the penitentiary to make him President." He was inaugurated on March 4, 1889, and served until March 3, 1893. Harrison was also known as the "centennial president" because his inauguration was the 100th anniversary of the inauguration of George Washington.
Harrison was proud of the vigorous foreign policy which he helped shape. The first Pan American Congress met in Washington in 1889, establishing an information center which later became the Pan American Union. At the end of his administration Harrison submitted to the Senate a treaty to annex Hawaii; to his disappointment, President Cleveland later withdrew it.
Substantial appropriation bills were signed by Harrison for internal improvements, naval expansion, and subsidies for steamship lines. For the first time except in war, Congress appropriated a billion dollars. When critics attacked "the billion-dollar Congress," Speaker Thomas B. Reed replied, "This is a billion-dollar country." President Harrison also signed the Sherman Anti-Trust Act "to protect trade and commerce against unlawful restraints and monopolies," the first Federal act attempting to regulate trusts.
The most perplexing domestic problem Harrison faced was the tariff issue. The high tariff rates in effect had created a surplus of money in the Treasury. Low-tariff advocates argued that the surplus was hurting business. Republican leaders in Congress successfully met the challenge. Representative William McKinley and Senator Nelson W. Aldrich framed a still higher tariff bill; some rates were intentionally prohibitive.
Harrison tried to make the tariff more acceptable by writing in reciprocity provisions. To cope with the Treasury surplus, the tariff was removed from imported raw sugar; sugar growers within the United States were given two cents a pound bounty on their production.
Long before the end of the Harrison Administration, the Treasury surplus had evaporated, and prosperity seemed about to disappear as well. Congressional elections in 1890 went stingingly against the Republicans, and party leaders decided to abandon President Harrison although he had cooperated with Congress on party legislation. Nevertheless, his party renominated him in 1892, but he was defeated by Cleveland.
After he left office, Harrison returned to Indianapolis, and married the widowed Mrs. Mary Dimmick Harrison in 1896. A dignified elder statesman, he died in 1901 and is interred in Crown Hill Cemetery. The Benjamin Harrison Law School in Indianapolis, Indiana, was named in his honor. In 1944 Indiana University acquired the school and renamed it Indiana University_School of Law - Indianapolis.
|Vice President||Levi P. Morton||1889–1893|
|Secretary of State||James G. Blaine||1889–1892|
|John W. Foster||1892–1893|
|Secretary of the Treasury||William Windom||1889–1891|
|Secretary of War||Redfield Proctor||1889–1891|
|Stephen B. Elkins||1891–1893|
|Attorney General||William H. H. Miller||1889–1891|
|Postmaster General||John Wanamaker||1889–1893|
|Secretary of the Navy||Benjamin F. Tracy||1889–1893|
|Secretary of the Interior||John W. Noble||1889–1893|
Supreme Court Appointments
Harrison appointed the following Justices to the Supreme Court of the United States:
- David Josiah Brewer - 1890
- Henry Billings Brown - 1891
- George Shiras, Jr. - 1892
- Howell Edmunds Jackson - 1893
- Sherman Antitrust Act (1890)
- Sherman Silver Purchase Act (1890)
- McKinley Tariff (1890)
- Ocala Demands (1890)
- Wounded Knee Massacre (1890)
States Admitted to the Union
- North Dakota – November 2, 1889
- South Dakota – November 2, 1889
- Montana – November 8, 1889
- Washington – November 11, 1889
- Idaho – July 3, 1890
- Wyoming – July 10, 1890
- It is quite possible that Benjamin Harrison was the first U.S. President whose voice was ever recorded. This recording, which was originally recorded on a wax cylinder, can be easily accessed via the Internet.
- U.S. presidential election, 1888
- U.S. presidential election, 1892
- History of the United States (1865-1918)
- Inaugural Address
- Audio clip of Benjamin Harrison's voice
- First State of the Union Address of Benjamin Harrison
- Second State of the Union Address of Benjamin Harrison
- Third State of the Union Address of Benjamin Harrison
- Fourth State of the Union Address of Benjamin Harrison
|- style="text-align: center;" | width="30%" |Preceded by:
James G. Blaine | width="40%" style="text-align: center;" |Republican Party Presidential candidate
1888 (won), 1892 (lost) | width="30%" |Succeeded by:
|- style="text-align: center;"
| width="30%" |Preceded by:
Grover Cleveland | width="40%" style="text-align: center;" |President of the United States
March 4, 1889 – March 3, 1893 | width="30%" |Succeeded by:
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