Benjamin Harrison

Summary

Benjamin Harrison, born August 20, 1833 in Hamilton County, Ohio, and died March 13, 1901 in Indianapolis, Indiana, was an American military officer, jurist and statesman. He was the 23rd president of the United States, serving from 1889 to 1893.

Grandson of the 9th U.S. President William Henry Harrison, he spent his childhood in Ohio before moving to Indianapolis at the age of 21. During the Civil War, he participated in the battles of Atlanta and Nashville as a brigadier general in the Army of the Cumberland. He entered politics after the war in the Republican Party and ran unsuccessfully for governor of Indiana before becoming a federal senator in 1881.

In the 1888 presidential election, Harrison lost the popular vote to incumbent Grover Cleveland but won a majority in the Electoral College and was elected. His presidency was marked by an ambitious foreign policy, the admission of six new states into the Union, important economic legislation such as the McKinley Tariff (the brainchild of future President William McKinley) and the Sherman Antitrust Act, and the fact that federal spending exceeded one billion dollars for the first time. The Democrats attacked the Billion Dollar Congress, and this spending issue, coupled with growing unpopularity with high tariffs, led to his party’s defeat in the 1890 mid-term elections.

After his defeat by Cleveland in the presidential election of 1892, Harrison retired from politics. He acted as counsel for Venezuela in a border dispute with the United Kingdom and traveled to Europe (Paris Arbitration) in connection with the case in 1900. He died a year later of complications from influenza.

Childhood

Benjamin Harrison was born on August 20, 1833 in North Bend, Ohio. He was the second of eight children whose parents were John Scott Harrison (who became an Ohio Representative) and Elizabeth Ramsey Irwin. The Harrison family was one of the earliest in Virginia and its presence in the New World dated back to the arrival of an Englishman named Benjamin Harrison at Jamestown in 1630. He was a grandson of President William Henry Harrison and a great-grandson of Benjamin Harrison V, former governor of Virginia and signer of the U.S. Declaration of Independence. Harrison was seven years old when his grandfather was elected president, but he did not attend the inauguration. Despite the Harrison family’s influence, he did not grow up in a wealthy home, as most of John Scott Harrison’s farm income was invested in his children’s education. Despite this low income, Harrison’s childhood was enjoyable and he spent much time fishing and hunting.

Benjamin Harrison’s education began at a small school near his home, but he received tutoring to help him get into high school. Harrison and his brother Irwin enrolled at Farmer’s College near Cincinnati in 1847 and met Caroline Scott, the daughter of a science teacher and Presbyterian minister named John Witherspoon Scott. In 1850, he enrolled at Miami University in Oxford, Ohio. He joined the Phi Delta Theta fraternity and graduated in 1852. There he met John Alexander Anderson, who served as Ohio’s representative for 24 years, and Whitelaw Reid, who was his vice presidential running mate in 1892. In college, Harrison was greatly influenced by one of his professors, Robert Hamilton Bishop, who taught history and economics. He joined the Presbyterian Church, to which his mother belonged, and remained a member until his death. After graduation, Harrison continued his legal studies by becoming an assistant in the Cincinnati law firm of Storer & Gwynne

Lawyer in Cincinnati

Before completing his law studies, Harrison returned to Oxford to marry Caroline on October 20, 1853 in a ceremony performed by Caroline’s father. They had two children, Russell Benjamin (12 August 1854 – 13 December 1936) and Mary (3 April 1858 – 28 October 1930).

After his marriage, Harrison returned to live on the family farm while finishing law school. That same year he inherited $800 (about $292,000 in 2012 dollars) after the death of one of his aunts and used the money to move to Indianapolis, Indiana in 1854. He was admitted to the bar and began working in the law office of John H. Ray. That same year, he became a town crier for the federal court in Indianapolis, which paid him $2.50 (about $56.40 in 2012) a day. He was responsible for announcing the court’s decisions on the street.

While in Indianapolis, Benjamin Harrison was both the first president of the University Club, a private gentlemen’s club, and the first president of the city’s Phi Delta Theta fraternity club. Harrison grew up in a Whig family and was a supporter of Whig politics in his youth. However, he joined the Republican Party shortly after its formation in 1856 and campaigned for presidential candidate John Charles Frémont. He was also elected city attorney of Indianapolis, an office that brought him an annual salary of $400 (about $142,000 in 2012).

In 1858, Harrison formed a partnership with William Wallace and they opened the firm of Wallace & Harrison. He was the Republican candidate for Indiana Supreme Court reporter in 1860, his first foray into politics. During the debates, he faced, on behalf of his party, Thomas Hendricks, the Democratic candidate for governor and future vice president of the United States. After his partner was elected city clerk in 1860, Harrison formed a new firm with William Fishback called Fishback & Harrison, where he worked until he entered the army.

Civil War

At the outbreak of the Civil War, Harrison wanted to join the Union Army but hesitated because his young family might need financial support. In 1862, President Abraham Lincoln requested more recruits for the army. When Governor Oliver Hazard Perry Morton visited, Harrison found him desperate for men to answer the last call and said, “If I can be of any help, let me know. Morton then asked Harrison if he could recruit a regiment even if he did not require him to be in it. Harrison raised a regiment of mostly northern Indiana soldiers and Morton offered him command, but Harrison refused, citing his lack of military experience, and was made a second lieutenant. In August 1862, when the regiment left Indiana to join the Union Army in Louisville, Kentucky, Harrison was promoted by Morton to colonel and his regiment became the 70th Indiana Infantry.

The 70th Regiment was assigned to reconnaissance and railroad protection in Kentucky and Tennessee for most of its first two years. In 1864, Harrison and his regiment joined General William T. Sherman’s Atlanta campaign and were placed in the front lines. On January 2, 1864, he was given command of the 1st Brigade, 1st Division, XX Corps, which he led into battle at the battles of Resaca, Cassville, New Hope Church, Kennesaw Mountain, Marietta, Peachtree Creek and Atlanta. When Sherman’s forces completed the march to the sea, Harrison’s brigade was transferred to the Etowah District and participated in the Battle of Nashville. On March 22, 1865, Harrison was promoted to brigadier general and participated in the Great Military Parade in Washington, D.C. before leaving the army on June 8, 1865.

Political career in Indiana

While serving in the army, Harrison was re-elected in October 1864 to the position of reporter of the Indiana Supreme Court for another four years. The position was not politically powerful, but it allowed Harrison to live comfortably. Harrison’s name became known to the public when President Grant appointed him to represent the federal government in a case brought by Lambdin P. Milligan, whose wartime treason convictions had been overturned by the Supreme Court. As a result of Harrison’s work, the compensation paid by the government was minimal. Indiana Republicans pressed Harrison to run for Congress, but he was content to support other Republican candidates, earning high praise from his colleagues.

In 1872, Harrison entered the race for the Republican nomination for governor of Indiana. He failed to win the support of former Governor Oliver P. Morton, who favored his opponent Thomas M. Browne. He returned to his legal practice and despite the economic crisis of 1873, he was able to afford to build a large house in Indianapolis in 1874. He continued to make speeches on behalf of Republican candidates and policies.

In 1876, Harrison did not seek his party’s nomination for governor, but when the Republican candidate withdrew from the race, Harrison accepted the offer to take his place. His campaign was based on the economy and he advocated deflation. His program proved popular, but he was defeated in the only round by James D. Williams. Despite his defeat, Harrison remained an influential politician in the state, and when the great railroad strike reached Indianapolis, he helped mediate between the workers and management to maintain law and order.

When Senator Morton died in 1878, the Republicans nominated Harrison but he failed to win a majority in the legislature and Democrat Daniel W. Voorhees was elected in his place. President Rutherford B. Hayes appointed Harrison to the Mississippi Valley Division in 1879, which had been created to facilitate development on the river. He was a delegate to the 1880 Republican presidential convention the following year and was instrumental in the negotiations that led to the nomination of James A. Garfield.

Senator from Indiana

After Harrison led the Republican delegation to the national convention, he was considered a possible Senate candidate. He gave speeches in support of Garfield in Indiana and New York, which further enhanced his standing in the party. When the Republicans took over the Indiana legislature, he was elected to the Senate over his Republican rival, Judge Walter Quintin Gresham. After Garfield’s election in 1880, Gresham offered him a position in his cabinet, but Harrison declined the offer, preferring to begin his term as a senator.

Harrison was a senator from March 4, 1881 to March 4, 1887. He was chairman of the Committee on Coastal Transportation during his first term and then of the Committee on Energy and Natural Resources during his second and third terms. The main problem Harrison faced in 1881 was the budget surplus. The Democrats wanted to reduce tariffs to limit government revenues, while the Republicans wanted to use the surplus for public works and to fund pensions for Civil War veterans. Harrison followed his party’s lead and argued for generous pensions for veterans and their widows. He also unsuccessfully supported financial aid for the education of Southerners, especially the children of freed slaves after the war, because he believed that education was necessary to make the black and white populations politically and economically equal. Harrison opposed the Chinese Exclusion Act against the advice of his party, believing it violated existing treaties with China.

In 1884, Harrison and Gresham again faced each other at the 1884 Republican convention. James Blaine was chosen, but in the 1884 presidential election he was defeated by Democrat Grover Cleveland. In the Senate, Harrison succeeded in passing a veterans’ pension bill, but it was overridden by a presidential veto. His efforts to bring new western states into the Union were blocked by Democrats, who feared that these new states would elect Republicans to Congress.

In 1885, Democrats redrawn Indiana’s districts, resulting in a Democratic legislature in 1886 despite the majority Republican vote. Harrison failed in his bid for re-election to the Senate against David Turpie. He returned to his law practice in Indianapolis but remained active in national and federal politics.

In 1888, the favorite for the Republican nomination was initially the previous candidate James G. Blaine of Maine. However, Blaine wrote numerous letters stating that he had no desire to participate in the election, and his supporters divided among the other candidates. John Sherman of Ohio was the new favorite over Chauncey Depew of New York, Russell Alexander Alger of Michigan and Harrison’s old opponent, Walter Q. Gresham, now a federal judge in Chicago, Illinois. Blaine did not name any candidate as his successor, so none of them entered the convention with a majority of his supporters.

Harrison came in fourth on the first ballot with Sherman in the lead, and subsequent votes did not change the standings. Blaine’s supporters rallied around Harrison, who they believed could attract the most delegate votes. He was finally nominated on the eighth ballot and Levi Morton of New York was chosen to run for vice president on the presidential ticket.

Harrison’s opponent in the election was incumbent Grover Cleveland. He ran a “stoop campaign,” typical of the time, in which the candidate did not campaign personally but received delegations and made speeches from his own home. The Republicans campaigned on the issue of tariffs, which allowed them to win back protectionist votes in the important northern industrial states. The election focused on the swing states of New York, New Jersey, Connecticut and Indiana. Harrison won Indiana and New York by fraudulent means, but lost in the other two states. Turnout was 79.3 percent and nearly 11 million votes were cast. Although Harrison received 90,000 fewer votes than Cleveland, he was elected by 233 votes to 168 in the Electoral College.

When Matthew Quay, the “boss” of Pennsylvania, heard that Harrison attributed his narrow victory to divine providence, he said Harrison would never know “how many men risked the penitentiary to make him president. Harrison was dubbed the “Centennial President” because his inauguration coincided with the centennial of George Washington’s first inauguration in 1789.

Investiture

Harrison was sworn in on Monday, March 4, 1889 in the presence of Chief Justice Melville Fuller. Harrison’s swearing-in ceremony took place in the pouring rain in Washington D.C. Cleveland attended the ceremony and held the umbrella over Harrison’s head as he took the oath. His speech was brief, lasting only half as long as that of his grandfather William Henry Harrison, who holds the record for the longest inaugural address. In his speech, Harrison attributed the nation’s growth to the influences of education and religion, urged the agricultural states to reach the industrial proportions of the northeastern states, and promised the implementation of protectionist tariffs. He called for the early granting of statehood to the territories and increased pensions for veterans, to which he received long applause. In foreign affairs, Harrison reaffirmed the Monroe Doctrine as the cornerstone of his foreign policy. While he called for the construction of a modern navy and a merchant fleet, he reaffirmed his commitment to an international peace achieved through non-intervention in the internal affairs of another state. John Philip Sousa’s United States Marine Band played at the inaugural ball in the National Building Museum, which was well attended.

Civil service reform

Civil service reform was an important issue that soon came into the hands of the new president. Harrison had campaigned for a system based on merit, not spoils. Although some services had been reorganized on the basis of merit by the Pendleton Civil Service Reform Act (en) during the Arthur administration, Harrison spent most of his first months in office placing politicians in administrative positions. Congress was sharply divided on the issue of reform, and Harrison was reluctant to decide the issue for fear of alienating one side or the other. Harrison appointed Theodore Roosevelt and Hugh Smith Thompson, two reformers, to the Civil Service Commission, but did little more to advance the cause of reform.

Harrison saw the rapid implementation of the Dependent and Disability Pension Act in 1890, which he had fought for while in Congress. In addition to providing pensions to disabled veterans (whether the disability was conflict-related or not), the act reduced part of the budget surplus. Spending in this area reached $135 million (about $140 billion in 2012 dollars), a sum never before reached in American history, particularly because of the broad interpretation of the law by the head of the pension office, James R. Tanner. Harrison, who privately considered Tanner’s selection to be a mistake, asked him to resign and replaced him with Green B. Raum.

Economic policy

The question of the level of tariffs had been a recurring issue of contention since the Civil War and was the central issue in the election of 1888. High tariffs had created a budget surplus that many Democrats (as well as members of the Populist Party) wanted to reduce by lowering tariffs. Most Republicans preferred to keep the tariffs and use the money for public works and to eliminate certain taxes.

Representative William McKinley and Senator Nelson W. Aldrich, both Republicans, proposed the McKinley Tariff, which would further increase tariffs, some of which would intentionally make imports prohibitively expensive to protect U.S. industries. After concerns were raised by Secretary of State James Blaine, Harrison tried to make the text more palatable by asking Congress to add reciprocity clauses that would allow the president to reduce tariffs if other countries reduced their import duties on U.S. products. As a result, tariffs on raw sugar imports were eliminated and U.S. sugar producers were subsidized to the tune of 2 cents (about $0.52 in 2012 dollars). Even with these exemptions and reciprocity, the McKinley Tariff put in place the highest tariffs in U.S. history and the surpluses generated contributed to the reputation of the Billion-Dollar Congress.

Members of both parties were concerned about the growing power of trusts and monopolies, and one of the first acts of the 51st Congress was to enact the Sherman Antitrust Act, sponsored by Senator John Sherman of Ohio. The bill passed both houses by large majorities and prohibited illegal cartels. It was the first federal law of its kind and marked the beginning of a new use of federal power. While Harrison approved of the law and its purpose, there is no evidence that he sought to enforce it rigorously. The government won only one case during Harrison’s presidency (against a Tennessee coal company), although other groups were prosecuted.

One of the most explosive issues of the 1880s was whether the currency should be based on gold and silver or only on gold. The issue cut across partisan lines as Western Republicans and Southern Democrats jointly called for silver coinage while Northeastern congressmen strongly advocated the gold standard. Not minting silver allowed for greater stability of the dollar; this satisfied the business community, but western farmers complained of lack of liquidity. Since silver was worth less than its legal equivalent in gold, taxpayers paid taxes in silver while international creditors demanded payment in gold, thus depleting the country’s gold reserves. Because of global deflation in the late nineteenth century, the strict application of the gold standard had led to a reduction in wages without a reduction in debt, causing debtors and the poor to demand silver money as an inflationary measure.

The coinage of silver had not been mentioned much in the 1888 campaign and Harrison’s position on the subject was unclear. Nevertheless, the choice of Treasury Secretary William Windom to support silver coinage encouraged silver supporters. Harrison proposed a compromise with a silver coin, but one whose value would not be fixed in relation to gold. This proposal did not satisfy either party, and in July 1890, Senator Sherman proposed the Sherman Silver Purchase Act, which was passed by both houses. Harrison signed the bill, thinking it would end the controversy. However, the act worsened the depletion of the federal gold stock and the problem was not resolved until the second Cleveland administration.

Civil rights

After regaining control of both houses of Congress, some Republicans led by Harrison attempted to pass legislation to protect the civil rights of African Americans. Attorney General William H. H. Miller, through the Justice Department, launched indictments for voting rights violations in the South, but white juries acquitted most of the defendants. This prompted Harrison to urge Congress to pass legislation that would “secure to all our citizens the free exercise of suffrage and all other civil rights granted by the Constitution and laws.

Harrison approved the Federal Elections Bill drafted by Representative Henry Cabot Lodge and Senator George Frisbie Hoar in 1890, which ensured greater representation of African Americans in public life, particularly in the South, but the bill was defeated in the Senate. Following the failure of this legislation, Harrison continued to speak in favor of African American rights in his speeches before Congress. While Harrison felt that the Constitution did not allow him to stop the practice of lynching, he argued that if the states had authority over civil rights then “we have a right to ask them if they are working on it. He also defended legislation proposed by Senator Henry W. Blair that would have provided federal funding to schools regardless of the color of the students’ skin.

During Harrison’s tenure, the Lakota, previously confined to Indian reservations in South Dakota, became agitated under the influence of religious leader Wovoka, who encouraged them to participate in a spiritual movement called the Spirit Dance. Unaware of the exact nature of the beliefs surrounding this religious movement, many officials in Washington thought it was a militant movement to stir up Native Americans to rise up against American rule. On December 29, 1890, men of the 7th Cavalry Regiment confronted the Lakota at Wounded Knee. At least 146 Native Americans, including many women and children, were killed and buried in a mass grave. Harrison ordered Major General Nelson Miles to investigate the incident and deployed 3,500 troops to South Dakota. The unrest ceased, and Wounded Knee is considered the last confrontation of the Indian Wars in the 19th century. Harrison wanted to encourage the assimilation of Native Americans into white society through a system of distributing Native American lands to individual tribal members, as the federal government had previously held them on behalf of the tribes. This idea, embodied in the Dawes Act of 1887, was championed by reformers, but its ultimate effect was to weaken tribal leaders and allow tribal members to sell their land to speculators and keep the money.

Foreign Policy

Although relations between Harrison and his Secretary of State James G. Blaine were sometimes strained, both men were in full agreement on the need to expand American influence abroad. Blaine were sometimes strained, the two men were in complete agreement on the need to expand American influence abroad. While touring the United States in 1891, Harrison said in San Francisco that the country was entering a “new age” of trade and that an expansion of the navy would protect shipping and extend American influence and prestige overseas. The first Conference of American States was held in Washington, D.C., in 1889 and laid the groundwork for the future Organization of American States. The conference did not produce any major breakthroughs, but it did allow Blaine to propose reciprocal tariffs with the Latin American nations. Harrison appointed Frederick Douglass as ambassador to Haiti but failed to establish a naval base there.

Harrison’s first international crisis was the issue of fishing rights on the Alaskan coast. Canada claimed rights to fish and seal around the Aleutian Islands in violation of American law. As a result, the U.S. Navy boarded several Canadian ships. In 1891, negotiations mediated by the United Kingdom led to a compromise.

In 1891, a diplomatic crisis broke out in Chile. The American ambassador to Chile, Patrick Egan, granted asylum to Chileans seeking refuge from the civil war. This increased tensions between the two countries and on October 16, 1891, when sailors from the USS Baltimore were allowed to go ashore in the port of Valparaíso, a gun battle broke out resulting in the death of two Americans and the arrest of fifty others. With Blaine not present in Washington, Harrison asked the Chilean government for reparations. The Chilean foreign minister replied that Harrison’s message was “erroneous or deliberately incorrect” and said the Chilean government would treat the case like any other criminal matter. Harrison then threatened to sever diplomatic relations between the two countries unless he received an acceptable apology. Eventually, Blaine returned to Washington, D.C., and calmer negotiations began that resulted in Chilean compensation.

In the last days of his term, Harrison had to deal with the issue of Hawaii’s annexation. After a coup against Queen Liliʻuokalani, the new government of Hawaii presided over by Sanford B. Dole sought annexation to the United States. Harrison was interested in expanding American influence in the Pacific and building a naval base at Pearl Harbor but had never considered the issue before. The American consul in Hawaii, John L. Stevens, recognized the new government on February 1, 1893, and conveyed its demands to Washington. A month before leaving office, the administration signed a treaty on February 14 and sent it to the Senate with Harrison’s approval. The Senate did not ratify it, however, and President Cleveland withdrew the treaty shortly after taking office.

Technology

During his tenure, the United States entered the Second Industrial Revolution and new technologies spread rapidly. Harrison is the longest-recorded president, and this 36-second speech was originally recorded on a wax phonograph cylinder in 1889 by Giuseppe Bettini. Harrison also had electricity installed in the White House by the Edison General Electric Company, but he and his wife refused to touch the switches for fear of being electrocuted, and they often went to bed with the lights on.

Judicial Appointments

Harrison appointed four justices to the U.S. Supreme Court. The first was David J. Brewer, a judge of the Court of Appeals for the Eighth Circuit who was also the nephew of Associate Justice Stephen J. Field. Justice Stanley Matthews died shortly after Brewer’s appointment, and Harrison put forward the name of Henry B. Brown, a Michigan judge and maritime law expert, whom he had previously considered to replace Matthews. When Joseph P. Bradley died in 1892, he appointed George Shiras, a controversial choice because he was 60 years old, beyond the usual age of candidates. Shiras was also opposed by Senator Matthew Quay of Pennsylvania because they were in rival factions of the Republican party; however, the nomination was confirmed. Finally, Harrison nominated Howell Edmunds Jackson to replace Justice Lucius Q. Q. Lamar who had died in January 1893. Harrison knew that the upcoming Senate would be controlled by the Democrats and he chose Howell H. Jackson, a respected Democrat from Tennessee, to ensure that his nomination would not be rejected. The nomination did go through without a hitch, but Jackson died after only two years on the Court.

In addition to these Supreme Court appointments, Harrison appointed ten judges to the federal courts of appeals, two to the circuit courts, and 26 to the federal district courts. Since Harrison was in office when Congress eliminated the circuit courts and incorporated them into the courts of appeals, he and Cleveland were the only presidents to appoint judges to both bodies. Among Harrison’s appointments, future President William Howard Taft was appointed to the Court of Appeals for the Sixth Circuit.

States admitted to the Union

When Harrison took office, no new states had been admitted for more than a decade, largely because of the reluctance of Democrats to accept states they considered Republican. Shortly after he took office, the lame duck session of Congress passed the laws that allowed four states to join the Union: North Dakota and South Dakota on November 2, 1889, Montana on November 8, and Washington State on November 11. Within two years, two new states were also admitted to the Union: Idaho on July 3 and Wyoming on July 10, 1890. The first delegations from these states were effectively Republican. More states were admitted during Harrison’s presidency than in any other since George Washington’s.

Long before the end of the Harrison administration, the Treasury surplus had evaporated and the nation’s economy had weakened as the conditions that led to the Panic of 1893 approached. The congressional elections of 1890 were unfavourable to the Republican party and many party leaders distanced themselves from the president, so it was clear that Harrison would face a stormy convention. Most of his critics pushed for Blaine’s nomination until Blaine declared that he did not wish to be a candidate in February 1892. Despite this, speculation about a Blaine candidacy continued and was reinforced when he resigned as secretary of state in June. At the 1892 Republican convention in Minneapolis, Minnesota, Harrison came out ahead on the first ballot with no real opposition.

The Democrats chose former President Cleveland as their candidate, and the election of 1892 was a rematch of the 1888 election. The issue of tariffs had worked in favor of the Republicans in 1888, but the various changes made under the Harrison administration had made imported goods so expensive that many voters wanted a revision of the tariffs. Many Westerners, traditionally Republicans, rallied behind the new populist party’s candidate, James B. Weaver, who promised a new tariff. Weaver, who promised bimetallism, generous pensions for veterans and the eight-hour day. The effects of the suppression of the Homestead strike also worked against the Republicans even though no federal action had been taken.

Just two weeks before the election, on October 25, Harrison’s wife died of tuberculosis. Harrison did not campaign actively and stayed with his wife. Their daughter Mary Harrison McKee took on the role of first lady after her mother’s death. The other candidates also stopped campaigning and on November 8 Cleveland won the election with 227 electors to 145. He also won the popular vote with 5,556,918 votes to 5,176,108.

After leaving office, Harrison visited the 1893 World’s Fair in Chicago and then returned home to Indianapolis. For a few months in 1894, he lived in San Francisco, California, and lectured at Stanford University. In 1896, some Republicans tried to convince him to run for president in 1896. He declined and gave many speeches in support of William McKinley.

From July 1895 to March 1901, Harrison served on the Purdue University Board of Trustees; Harrison Hall, a campus dormitory, was named in his honor. In 1896, he remarried Mary Scott Lord Dimmick, his late wife’s niece, 37 years old and 25 years his junior. Harrison’s two adult children, Russell and Mary, aged 41 and 38 respectively, did not attend the wedding as they disapproved of the union. The couple had a daughter, Elizabeth (February 21, 1897 – December 26, 1955).

In 1899, Harrison was elected an honorary member of the Society of the Cincinnati of Pennsylvania and he also belonged to the Military Order of the Loyal Legion of the United States. His wife was the first president of the Daughters of the American Revolution from 1890 to 1891. That same year, he participated in the first Hague Conference. He wrote a series of articles about the federal government and the presidency that were collected in 1897 in a book entitled This Country of Ours.

In 1900, Harrison was Venezuela’s lawyer in its border dispute with the United Kingdom. The two nations were arguing over the delineation of the border between Venezuela and British Guiana. An international trial was agreed upon by both sides and Venezuela hired Harrison to represent them. He wrote an 800-page report and presented it in Paris. Although the verdict was in favor of the United Kingdom, his arguments earned him international recognition.

Harrison caught a cold in February 1901. Despite treatment with steam inhalation, his condition worsened and he died of influenza and pneumonia in his home on Wednesday, March 13, 1901 at the age of 67. Harrison was buried in Crown Hill Cemetery in Indianapolis with his two wives.

Harrison left the White House as the nation slowly lost confidence in Republican policies. As his successor lost popularity with the Panic of 1893, Harrison’s popularity increased upon his retirement. However, historians of the time were quite harsh with him and did not hesitate to call him a “loser. More recently, “historians have recognized the importance of the Harrison administration in the new foreign policy of the late 19th century. The administration faced challenges throughout the hemisphere, in the Pacific, and in its relations with European powers, and the implications were taken for granted in the 20th century. Harrison’s presidency belongs to the nineteenth century, but it “clearly pointed the way” to the modern presidency that emerged under William McKinley. Harrison’s reputation for integrity remained intact during and after his presidency. The Sherman Antitrust Act remained in effect for nearly 120 years and was the most important legislation of the 51st Congress. The civil rights legislation Harrison championed was the last to be proposed by Congress until the 1930s, and his tenacity in foreign policy was emulated by his successors, including Theodore Roosevelt.

After his death, Harrison was featured on six stamps, more than any other president. The first was a 13-cent stamp issued on November 18, 1902. The printed portrait was based on a photograph provided by Harrison’s widow. It appeared on the five-dollar bill in 1902. Harrison was also the last American president to wear a beard. A Liberty ship launched in 1942, the SS Benjamin Harrison was named in his honor. The ship was demolished a year later after a submarine attack. In 1951, Harrison’s house was opened to the public as a library and museum after being used as a dormitory by a music school after 1937. It has been a National Historic Landmark since 1964.

External links

Sources

  1. Benjamin Harrison
  2. Benjamin Harrison
  3. Calhoun 2005, p. 7-8 ; Moore et Hale 2006, p. 15 ; bien qu’il soit le huitième Benjamin de la famille, Harrison fut appelé Benjamin Harrison au lieu de Benjamin Harrison VIII.
  4. Calhoun 2005, p. 8.
  5. Calhoun 2005, p. 9 ; Sievers 1968, p. 21-23.
  6. 1 2 Benjamin Harrison // Encyclopædia Britannica (англ.)
  7. 1 2 Benjamin Harrison // Энциклопедия Брокгауз (нем.) / Hrsg.: Bibliographisches Institut & F. A. Brockhaus, Wissen Media Verlag
  8. a b c Benjamin Harrison: Life before the presidency. Miller Center of Public Affairs, University of Virginia (englisch), abgerufen am 18. April 2018.
  9. Benjamin Harrison: Campaigns and Elections. Miller Center of Public Affairs, University of Virginia (englisch), abgerufen am 18. April 2018.
  10. a b (en inglés) Web oficial: Presidents Archivado el 18 de septiembre de 2010 en Wayback Machine. The White House. Consultado el 3 de noviembre de 2012.
  11. Vincent Voice Library (15 de octubre de 2007). «Benjamin Harrison Twenty-third President 1889-1893» (en inglés). Consultado el 21 de octubre de 2022.
  12. Calhoun, Charles William (2005). Benjamin Harrison: The American Presidents Series: The 23rd President, 1889-1893 (en inglés). Henry Holt and Company. pp. 7-8. ISBN 978-0-8050-6952-5.
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