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Grover Cleveland
Date Issued: 1986-05-22
Postage Value: 22 cents

Commemorative issue
Presidents souvenir sheet - III
Grover Cleveland

Grover Cleveland is the only U.S. president to have served non-consecutive terms. He had a rapid rise to the presidency, beginning in 1881 when he won election as mayor of Buffalo, NY. He ran as a reform candidate and held to his promise by vetoing several proposals by the city council because of their expense. The following year he won the gubernatorial election and after taking office in 1883 angered some voters by vetoing a bill to reduce fares on New York City elevated railroads to five cents.

He continued to be at odds with the New York City Democratic machine, Tammany Hall, even though he himself was a Democrat. Cleveland was the Democratic choice against Republic candidate James G. Blaine for the 1884 presidential contest, in an attempt to highlight charges against Blaine for influence peddling. The campaign was marked by mudslinging. Cleveland won by a plurality rather than a majority. During his first term, he bowed to Democratic pressure on patronage, although he had been considered a civil service reformer. He did bring about the repeal of the Tenure of Office Act. In late 1887 he sent Congress a message urging reduction of tariff levels. Tariffs then were the chief source of federal revenue. Congressional leaders, however, were unable to produce a reform bill, and the issue hurt Cleveland's chances for re-election. He lost to Benjamin Harrison.

Cleveland easily won the Democratic nomination in 1892 and defeated Harrison in the general election. On taking office, he was faced with a national crisis: the treasury's gold reserves were dwindling and a national depression was beginning. He was able to secure repeal of the Sherman Silver Purchase Act. In foreign affairs, he resisted growing expansionism and withdrew recognition of revolutionaries who had overthrown the native Hawaiian monarchy. He also refused to intervene in Cuba. Late in 1895, he issued a warning to Britain that the United States would not accept intervention in the Venezuela boundary dispute, thus affirming the Monroe Doctrine. Britain capitulated and agreed to arbitration.

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