Born Today

Grover Cleveland

March 18, 1837 – June 24, 1908


Stephen Grover Cleveland was an American politician and lawyer who served as the 22nd and 24th president of the United States from 1885 to 1889 and from 1893 to 1897. Cleveland is the only president in American history to serve two nonconsecutive terms in office. 

[b] He won the popular vote for three presidential elections—in 1884, 1888, and 1892—and was one of two Democrats (followed by Woodrow Wilson in 1912) to be elected president during the era of Republican presidential nomination dating from 1861 to 1933.

Born to a Presbyterian minister and his wife, Cleveland grew up in upstate New York. In 1881, he was elected mayor of Buffalo and later, governor of New York. Cleveland was the leader of the pro-business Bourbon Democrats who opposed high tariffs; Free Silver; inflation; imperialism; and subsidies to business, farmers, or veterans. 

His crusade for political reform and fiscal conservatism made him an icon for American conservatives of the era. Cleveland won praise for his honesty, self-reliance, integrity, and commitment to the principles of classical liberalism. He fought political corruption, patronage, and bossism. 

As a reformer, Cleveland had such prestige that the like-minded wing of the Republican Party, called "Mugwumps", largely bolted the GOP presidential ticket and swung to his support in the 1884 election. As his second administration began, disaster hit the nation when the Panic of 1893 produced a severe national depression.