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Ben - We Hardly Knew Ya!
You can summarize this administration in one page - so we did!
Today we commemorate the passing of the 23rd president of the United States – Mr. Benjamin Harrison.
Harrison, like most presidents of the 19th century, is almost completely unknown. But his administration provided some interesting tidbits, not only in how we view the presidents in totality, but also laws he signed that are very relevant to today's political climate.
Okay. Harrison was born in Ohio. His great grandfather signed the Declaration of Independence. His grandfather, William Henry Harrison, was the 9th president of the United States. His father, John, is the only person in the country's history to be both the son and father of a president.
Congrats on that, John.
Harrison would fight in the Civil War, join the newly dominant Republican party, serve as a Senator from Indiana, and then secure the presidential nomination to face off with incumbent Democrat Grover Cleveland in 1888. Having won the first round, Harrison lost the rematch, which is why we have 46 presidents but only 45 dudes who have served.
Harrison is one of five presidents elected who lost the popular vote but won because Alexander Hamilton thought people were too dumb to elect a leader and created the Electoral College.
Ben was big on Civil Rights. He was big on Antitrust. He was big on Pensions. He was big on building up the Navy. He was the first Big Ben.
The Harrison administration welcomed six states into the union. He is the first president whose voice was recorded. Harrison hooked up the White House with electricity, which I'm sure allowed him to binge-watch his favorite shows.
His legacy lies in one successful law and one failed attempt for equality.
The Sherman Antitrust Act was signed in 1890 to prevent monopolies from ruining the country like Facebook would do in 2016. Sherman Act is named after John Sherman, whose brother William Tecumseh Sherman is a personal hero.
One area Harrison failed, through no fault of his own, was passing legislation to protect black people's rights, especially the right to vote. Imagine that- Republicans not being afraid of elections. He never succeeded because being an antiracist is too hard.
Republicans back then were fierce protectionists, and the McKinley Act, which put tariffs on a bunch of imported stuff, provided massive revenue to the government. Harrison wanted to use that for infrastructure, which must blow your mind that this is the same party as Ted Cruz.
Cleveland won back the job in 1892 because people thought the government was wasting spending; Harrison returned to Indianapolis, caught the flu, died of pneumonia in 1901.
Harrison has been ranked 30th overall in the DPPR for the past two iterations. Does he stay there this time around? I don't know yet. What are your thoughts? I mean when you google Benjamin, Harrison is like the 12th option. Not very memorable.