Benjamin Harrison


Biography of Benjamin Harrison

Benjamin Harrison (August 20, 1833 – March 13, 1901) was the 23rd President of the United States (1889–1893). Harrison, a grandson of President William Henry Harrison, was born in North Bend, Ohio, and moved to Indianapolis, Indiana, at age 21, eventually becoming a prominent politician there. During the American Civil War, he served the Union as a Brigadier General in the XX Corps of the Army of the Cumberland. After the war he unsuccessfully ran for the governorship of Indiana, and was later elected to the U.S. Senate by the Indiana legislature.

Harrison, a Republican, was elected to the presidency in 1888, defeating the Democratic incumbent Grover Cleveland. His administration is remembered most for economic legislation, including the McKinley Tariff and the Sherman Antitrust Act, and for annual federal spending that reached one billion dollars for the first time.

Democrats attacked the "Billion Dollar Congress." They used the issue, along with the growing unpopularity of the high tariff, to defeat the Republicans, in both the 1890 mid-term elections and in Harrison's bid for re-election in 1892. Harrison advocated, although unsuccessfully, for federal education funding and legislation to protect voting rights for African Americans. He also saw the admittance of six states into the Union.

Defeated by Cleveland in his bid for re-election in 1892, Harrison returned to private life in Indianapolis. He later represented the Republic of Venezuela in an international case against the United Kingdom. In 1900, he traveled to Europe as part of the case and, after a brief stay, returned to Indianapolis.

He died the following year from complications from influenza. He is to date the only U.S. president from Indiana and the only one to be the grandson of another president.

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