Thursday, October 06, 2016

Benjamin Harrison by Charles W. Calhoun

My book for August was Benjamin Harrison: The American Presidents Series: The 23rd President, 1889-1893 by Charles W. Calhoun. This is part of my long term project to read books about all of the presidents. This book is on a New York Times list of recommended books for each president.

Benjamin Harrison was the grandson of William Henry Harrison. I read a book about William Henry Harrison in 2013. Harrison was a prominent local attorney, Presbyterian church leader and politician in Indianapolis, Indiana. He ran for governor of Indiana twice unsuccessfully before being elected to the U.S. Senate by the Indiana legislature.

Harrison served one term between the two nonconsecutive Glover Cleveland terms. He defeated Cleveland in 1888 and then was defeated by Cleveland in 1892. Although Harrison received 90,000 fewer popular votes than Cleveland in 1888, he carried the Electoral College by 233 to 168. In 1892, Cleveland had 277 electoral votes to Harrison's 145. Cleveland also won the popular vote by 380,000.

Harrison presidency included the McKinley Tariff Act which imposed historic protective trade rates, the Sherman Antitrust Act, the Sherman Sliver Purchase Act and the Forest Reserve Act. He proposed federal education funding as well as voting rights enforcement for African Americans, but failed.

Harrison wife died in October of 1892 as he was running for reelection. In 1896, Harrison married Mary Scott Lord Dimmick, the widowed 37-year-old niece and former secretary of his deceased wife.

At only 166 pages, it is a short book. It is very readable. It is not quite as interesting as some of the other presidential biographies that I have read...

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