The American Presidents Series
When Grover Cleveland took office in 1885,
one world was ending and a new one was emerging. The signs were everywhere:
transcontinental railroads were still being built, the telephone was still a
novelty, and the light bulb had just been invented. In the political arena,
Cleveland bridged the time between the old and the new -- from when Congress
dominated national affairs to the modern era when they would become more
sharply focused to the president.
If Cleveland is well remembered today than he ought to be, it is because he
brought to the White House not flamboyance and bluster but quiet dignity and
integrity. He came to the office with no program, no pretence, no military
record -- and no wife. Self-reliant to a remarkable degree, he was the kind
of man, a friend said "who would rather do something badly for himself
than have someone else do it well." It if public presence was ordinary
and even colorless, his fellow citizens found these characteristics to be
just what they wanted. He was, in fact, the only Democrat elected twice in
three-quarters of a century between Andrew Jackson's day and Woodrow
Wilson's. Cleveland fitted perfectly his decade in power, conducting the
presidency with one telephone and only rudimentary electric lighting, and
sometimes answering the door himself. He ignored the press -- the last
president to dare to do so -- and went his own way, relying on his instincts
and his policies courage to define his public policies. In an era marked by
harsh economic times and labor disputes, Cleveland struggled mightily gains
the political culture of his time, and his policies are often viewed as
severe by modern critics.
In this volume, the renowned presidential historian Henry F. Graff traces the
if of a historically significant chief executive who never curried the people
favor, yet won it just the same.
"Books on minor historical figures are often heavy going, but in this slim volume, part of the American President series, historian Henry F. Graff does a workmanlike job." --Mike Oppenheim, American History
"An absorbing study . . . deftly sketched . . . Graff points out Cleveland's political domination of his time: a politician of integrity, sincerity, and decency at a time of widespread political corruption." --Kirkus Reviews
"The basics of Cleveland's life and career are presented with workable, even admirable, concision." --Brad Hooper, Booklist
"As part of the American Presidents series under the editorial direction of Arthur Schlesinger Jr., distinguished historian Graff offers new insight into a President who is often overlooked . . . This slim volume is a valuable edition to the literature on the Presidency and is a compelling argument for taking Cleveland seriously as a President." --Michael A. Genovese, Loyola Marymount University, Library Journal
Grover Cleveland is available at all fine bookstores.
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