An Honest Man – President Stephen Grover Cleveland

This is the story of a quite unique come back. In fact is as unique as to be the only time that such a thing has happened in the U.S. history. This is the story of President Stephen Grover Cleveland, the 22nd and 24th President of the United States of America.
Grover Cleveland was also Mayor of Buffalo and Governor of New York prior to the assumption of the presidency. And he was consider an honest man, at such an extent as to survive politically to the constantly spread rumors of his spawning of a multitude of children outside his marriage which, in a cultural and political environment as straightforward as the United States one, could be considered almost miraculous.
What is more interesting is that Cleveland won the popular vote three consecutive times, in 1884, 88, and 92, but was defeated, probably because of fraud, in the electoral vote in 1888(fortunately for me, who now have a theme for this article, but no so for Cleveland). Alas, this was a case of a great woman behind a maybe not so great a man: allegedly, when Frances, Cleveland’s wife, was leaving the White House, she told to a member of the staff to take good care of everything in the House, because she wanted to find everything just as it was when “coming back four years from today”. It turned out to be just as she said.
Speaking of unique events, the 1892 campaign was extraordinary: clean, quiet, with no accusations of fraud and, in fact, no actual campaigning on the part of the main candidates. Republican candidate Harrison’s wife was dying of tuberculosis, what lead to her husband not campaigning personally; to his credit, Cleveland decided to do as well not to take advantage of Mrs. Harrison’s illness. Then Cleveland won, for the first and only time, his second non-consecutive term as President of the United States.
We are not to discuss his policies, that not being the theme of our current series, but it is important to mention what was one of his favorite sayings: I just have one thing to do, and that is to do the right thing. For us, 21st Century people, hearing that from the mouth of a politician would probably result in a burst of laughter, but the important thing here is that Cleveland really believed in what he said. And thus, he was able to come back from the civil world to the Presidency even against a great portion of his own Party, and reject another attempt when he was in open conflict with his Party political platform. Amidst an era of Republican holding of the Presidency, Cleveland was probably a nice brushing of politics even inside his own party. Coming to that, is sad to think that, against his own party, and against the political and economic tendencies of our days, Grover Cleveland would have been, most probably, a simple outsider, or a thorn in the side of the system. Well, if you think of it as it is, maybe we need more Cleveland’s now than they do back in the XIXth century…
So, this was probably, an honest man. Surely, a come back master. Hopefully an example to follow.

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