A fresh look at the only president to serve nonconsecutive terms.
Though often overlooked, Grover Cleveland was a significant figure in American presidential history. Having run for President three times and gaining the popular vote majority each time -- despite losing the electoral college in 1892 -- Cleveland was unique in the line of nineteenth-century Chief Executives.
In this book, presidential historian Henry F. Graff revives Cleveland's fame, explaining how he fought to restore stature to the office in the wake of several weak administrations. Within these pages are the elements of a rags-to-riches story as well as an account of the political world that created American leaders before the advent of modern media.
"History professor Graff points out that whatever public remembrance exists for Grover Cleveland rests almost entirely on his unique role as the only president to serve two nonconsecutive terms in the White House. In this latest addition to the publisher's American Presidents series, the basics of Cleveland's life and career are presented with workable, even admirable, concision. Cleveland rose quickly through New York State politics, establishing himself early on as "a straight arrow." Political reform was in the air, and "Cleveland, the politician of integrity, manifestly was riding with the wind of change at his back." Notice of his honesty and integrity spread nationwide, and he was elected president in 1884. Defeated for reelection in 1888, Cleveland recovered the Oval Office in 1892, and even though his interpretation of the role of president generally fit into the late-nineteenth-century mold of rather passive leadership, he nonetheless earned the admiration of the American public during his two administrations. --Brad Hooper"
From Booklist, Copyright (c) American Library Association. Used with permission.
Publisher's Weekly Review:
"In this brief, excellent volume written for Arthur Schlesinger's American Presidents series, Columbia professor emeritus Graff (The Tuesday Cabinet) picks up the often neglected Grover Cleveland, dusts him off and reminds us how substantial he was. After serving as mayor of Buffalo and governor of New York, Cleveland (1837-1908) was the first Democrat to be elected president after the Civil War. He forced America's railroad titans to return 81,000,000 western acres previously granted by the federal government and regulated them with the Interstate Commerce Act. Although defeated in the electoral college by Benjamin Harrison in 1888, Cleveland won the popular vote, which set the stage for his return to the presidency in 1892 in the midst of nationwide depression. As usual, Cleveland acted decisively. He repealed the inflationary Sherman Silver Purchase Act and, with the aid of Wall Street, maintained the Treasury's gold reserve. When Chicago railroad strikers violated an injunction against further disruption, Cleveland dispatched federal troops. Cleveland's no-nonsense treatment of the strikers stirred many Americans, as did the way he forced Great Britain to accept arbitration of a disputed boundary in Venezuela. But many of Cleveland's hard-hitting policies during the depression proved unpopular in the long term; in 1896, his party nominated William Jennings Bryan for the presidency. In clean, matter-of-fact prose, Graff sums up the plainspoken Cleveland as a man of action and uncompromising integrity a man who, though publicly identified as the father of a bastard child, nevertheless restored dignity to the office of the president in the wake of several weak administrations. (Aug. 20) Forecast: Because Cleveland lacks the popular appeal of Teddy Roosevelt or James Madison (with bios already published in this series), this fine volume may be more for completists. (c) Copyright PWxyz, LLC. All rights reserved"
(c) Copyright PWxyz, LLC. All rights reserved