Benjamin Harrison was nominated for 23rd American President on the eighth ballot at the 1888 Republican Convention. He conducted one of the first "front-porch" campaigns, delivering short speeches to the delegations that visited him in Indianapolis. Democrats called him “Little Ben,” referring to his less than average height of only 5 feet, 6 inches tall. But the Republicans replied that he was big enough to wear the hat of his grandfather, "Old Tippecanoe." Early Life Born in 1833 on a farm by the Ohio River below Cincinnati, Harrison attended Miami University in Ohio and read law in Cincinnati. He moved to Indianapolis, where he practiced law and campaigned for the Republican Party. He married Caroline Lavinia Scott in 1853. His father explained to young Benjamin about how the political lifestyle was difficult and high-pressured, but his wife was supportive, and even encouraging, of his political aspirations. While living in Indiana, Benjamin Harrison started ...

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Grover Cleveland remains the only President to leave the White House and return for a second term four years later. He filled the office as both the 22nd and the 24th American President. Early Life Grover Cleveland was born in New Jersey in 1837. He had a large family consisting of his eight siblings and his father who was a Presbyterian minister. He grew to adulthood in upstate New York, where he later became a lawyer in Buffalo. Cleveland became well-known for his single-minded concentration toward whatever task faced him. At 44, he emerged into a political prominence that carried him to the White House in three years. Running as a reformer, he was elected Mayor of Buffalo in 1881, and later, Governor of New York. The Presidency Grover Cleveland won his first Presidency with the combined support of Democrats and reform Republicans, the "Mugwumps," who disliked the record of his opponent James G. Blaine ...

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Chester Alan Arthur was the 21st President of the United States. He succeeded James Garfield upon the latter's assassination. Even though he became president unexpectedly, he made significant contributions to the civil service sector. His time in office was marked by an abundance of dignity and an absence of corruption. Humble beginnings Chester Arthur was the son of a Baptist preacher who emigrated from Northern Ireland. He was born in Fairfield, Vermont in 1829. He earned a degree from Union College in 1848 and went on to teach at a school. In the early 1850s, he served as the principal of schools in North Pownal, Vermont, and Cohoes, New York. In 1854, he was admitted to the New York bar and began practicing law in New York City. In 1859, Arthur married Ellen “Nell” Lewis Herndon, the Virginia-born daughter of a U.S. naval officer. The couple had two children who survived to adulthood: Chester ...

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As the last of the “log cabin” American Presidents, James A. Garfield attacked political corruption and help the office of the Presidency earn back a measure of prestige and respect it had lost during the Reconstruction period. Early Life He was born in Cuyahoga County, Ohio, in 1831. His father died when James was two years old. In order to pay for his education, he spent time driving canal boat teams. He graduated from Williams College in Massachusetts in 1856, and he returned to the Western Reserve Eclectic Institute (later known as Hiram College) in Ohio as a professor of the classics. Within a year, he was made its president. Path to the White House Garfield was elected to the Ohio Senate in 1859 as a Republican. During the secession of the Southern states, he supported coercing the seceding states back into the Union. In 1862, when the South was winning the majority of the ...

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Rutherford B. Hayes became the 19th President of the United States in a hard won battle that many historians say was one of the most controversial elections in the nation's history. He pulled troops out of the Southern states in what many anti-slavery advocates considered a betrayal. His intention to bring peace and return the power back to the local governments was indeed necessary to the health of the country. Early Years Rutherford Hayes was born in Ohio in 1822. He earned his higher education at Kenyon College and Harvard Law School. After practicing law for five years in Lower Sandusky, he moved to the larger city of Cincinnati, where he exceeded expectations as a Whig lawyer. He fought with the Union in the Civil War, but was wounded in action. His final rank when he left the Army was brevet major general. While he was still in the Army, Cincinnati Republicans campaigned ...

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Gen. Ulysses S. Grant quarreled with President Andrew Johnson and aligned himself with the Radical Republicans. He was, as the symbol of Union victory during the Civil War, their logical candidate for the18th President of the United States in 1868. The American people who were responsible for electing him hoped for an end to the turmoil caused by the Civil War and Reconstruction. However, Grant provided them with neither vigor nor reform. Looking to Congress for direction, he seemed overwhelmed. One visitor to the White House made the remark that Grant was "a puzzled pathos, as of a man with a problem before him of which he does not understand the terms." Early Years Born in 1822, Ulysses Grant was the son of an Ohio tanner. He went to West Point against his will, and he graduated in the middle of his class. He went on to fight in the Mexican War under ...

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Andrew Johnson unexpectedly became the 17th American President after Abraham Lincoln’s assassination. He was responsible for many of the policies adopted for the Reconstruction period after the Civil War. Many historians consider him one of the worst presidents, after James Buchanon, because he favored Southern whites and hindered the nation’s healing process. Early Life Andrew Johnson was born in December, 1808 in Raleigh, North Carolina. His father was a constable and his mother worked as a laundress. Johnson was three years old when family faced even harder financial burdens because of his father untimely death. There were even rumors that Andrew was fathered by another man because he did not resemble his siblings. Andrew was apprenticed to a tailor when he was ten years old. The contract specified that he remain until the age of twenty-one, but he ran away after five years. He was provided a rudimentary education in reading while he was ...

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The 16th American President, Abraham Lincoln, entered into office at one of the most tumultuous times in the country’s history. States had already decided to secede from the Union because of the slavery issue. He is ultimately credited with the decision to end slavery in the United States. Historians have consistently ranked him as one of the top three presidents. Early Life Lincoln was born on February 12, 1809, in a one-room log cabin in Hardin County, Kentucky. His family moved to southern Indiana in 1816. Lincoln’s formal education was limited to three brief periods in local schools because he had to work to help support his family. In 1830, his family moved to Macon County in southern Illinois, and Lincoln worked on a river flatboat hauling freight down the Mississippi River to New Orleans. He moved again and settled in the town of New Salem, Illinois, where he worked as a ...

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James Buchanan, Jr. was the 15th American President and served immediately before the American Civil War. He is, to date, the only president from Pennsylvania and the only president to remain a lifelong bachelor. When he left office, his popularity had suffered, and the Democratic Party had split. Early Years James Buchanan was born on April 23, 1791, in Cove Gap, Pennsylvania, to James Buchanan Sr., a merchant who had emigrated from Ireland, and Elizabeth Speer Buchanan. The young Buchanan graduated from Dickinson College in Carlisle, Pennsylvania, and then studied law. Following his acceptance to the bar in 1812, he opened a successful legal practice in Lancaster, Pennsylvania. As a member of the Federalist Party, Buchanan began his political career by serving in the Pennsylvania legislature from 1814 to 1816. In 1820, he was elected to the U.S. House of Representatives, where he remained for the next decade. In Congress, Buchanan aligned himself ...

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Franklin Pierce was the 14th President of the United States. Being a well-spoken intellectual, his priority was a united nation. However, his unsuccessful attempts to stem the partisan conflict, and the fact that, as a Northern Democrat, he signed the Kansas–Nebraska Act, set the stage for the Southern secession. Those choices have made him widely regarded as one of the worst presidents in U.S. history. Early Life Born November 23, 1804, in Hillsborough, New Hampshire, Franklin Pierce was the son of Benjamin Pierce, a hero of the American Revolution who was twice elected governor of New Hampshire. The young Pierce graduated from Bowdoin College in 1824 and began studying law; he was admitted to the bar in 1827. At the age of 24, he won election to the New Hampshire state legislature, and became the speaker after two years. As a member of the Democratic Party and a steadfast supporter of Andrew Jackson, Pierce ...

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