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Come celebrate the birthday of our two nonconsecutive presidents and learn what a Mugwump is.
The 22nd and 24th president of the United States was born on this day, 184 years ago. It’s the same person, which is convenient. He won the popular vote three times, and as a Democrat, he broke up the dynastic hold the Republican Party held on the White House.
He's also related to Moses. Moses Cleveland, that is.
Say Happy Birthday to Grover Cleveland, everyone!
According to the internet machine, Grover was the 56th most popular boy name in the 1800s, below Herbert and Earnest but above Bert and Rufus. However, his last name instantly shoots to the top of the misery index.
Cleveland was born in Buffalo and became the sheriff, the mayor, then the governor of New York. His reputation grew as an honest person with incorruptible rectitude. Basically, after the Civil War, everyone lost their minds and got what they thought was theirs – bribes, all that stuff, and Grover Cleveland was somehow above all that. When first elected, he told everyone he wouldn't fire Republicans from politically appointed positions if they did a good job.
I know, I'm laughing too, but it's true. It's 1885, and the Statue of Liberty has yet to ship over from France.
He Did What, Now?
Okay, so Grover couldn't be bought, but man, the dude, was racist. He signed the Chinese Exclusion Act, which is exactly how it sounds. He gave up trying to implement any of the necessary Reconstruction changes. Oh, did I mention Cleveland paid for his way out of the Civil War? Didn't I? Well, he did. Don’t worry; the guy he paid off survived.
Cleveland entered the White House as a bachelor, but two years later, at 49, he married a 21-year-old woman, the daughter of one of his friends. Her name was Frances. This First Lady was something. When they lost in 1888 to Benjamin Harrison, she basically told the staff not to change anything because the Cleveland's would be back in four years – and she was right! DAAAAAAAAAAANGGGG!
Like I said, Cleveland lost his reelection, despite winning the popular vote and went off to be a lawyer before returning and winning the rematch. Much like in '84, when many Republicans flipped their votes to Cleveland (they were called Muwamps for some silly reason), Cleveland received broad support.
Cleveland basically boosted the power of the president. He vetoed a ton of stuff, never wanted to create legislation, and steered the country toward the Progressive Era, which is funny when you say, "Cleveland started the Progressive Era." Cleveland. Progressive. I'm hungover, just like you.
Cleveland wouldn't win the nomination in '96; too many people disliked his goody-goody style. He died in New Jersey 8 years later.
Interesting tidbit –
Cleveland Park area of DC is named after Grover because he bought a farm out there to get out of the city. I went to the Cleveland Park Grill around this time with MY BRACKETS!