Research pres_harrison_benjamin.jpg Benjamin_Harrison,_head_and_shoulders_bw_photo,_1896.jpg

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Political Party: Republican

· Years in office :
March 4, 1889 – March 4, 1893

· Brief historical background
Born in 1833 on a farm by the Ohio River below Cincinnati, Harrison attended Miami University in Ohio and read law in Cincinnati. He moved to Indianapolis, where he practiced law and campaigned for the Republican Party. He married Caroline Lavinia Scott in 1853. After the Civil War--he was Colonel of the 70th Volunteer Infantry--Harrison became a pillar of Indianapolis, enhancing his reputation as a brilliant lawyer.

o Path to president
In the 1880's he served in the United States Senate, where he championed Indians. homesteaders, and Civil War veterans. In the Presidential election, Harrison received 100,000 fewer popular votes than Cleveland, but carried the Electoral College 233 to 168. Although Harrison had made no political bargains, his supporters had given innumerable pledges upon his behalf.


o Highlights/Lowlights of career His highlights were definitely the McKingley Tariff, Sherman Anti-Trust Act and Pan American Conference. His major lowlight was when the Republicans did badly in midterm elections and his legislation failed to pass such as when he wanted to annex Hawaii.

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Two domestic policy issues Sherman Anti Trust Act:

Every contract, combination in the form of trust or otherwise, or conspiracy, in restraint of trade or commerce among the several States, or with foreign nations, is declared to be illegal". The Act also provides: "Every person who shall monopolize, or attempt to monopolize, or combine or conspire with any other person or persons, to monopolize any part of the trade or commerce among the several States, or with foreign nations, shall be deemed guilty of a felony [. . . ]" The Act put responsibility upon government attorneys and district courts to pursue and investigate trusts, companies and organizations suspected of violating the Act.
Tariff Regulations: Harrison tried to make the tariff more acceptable by writing in reciprocity provisions. To cope with the Treasury surplus, the tariff was removed from imported raw sugar; sugar growers within the United States were given two cents a pound bounty on their production.


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Two foreign policy issues
First PanAmerican Conference under his presidency


Interesting Fact:
When Boss Matt Quay of Pennsylvania heard that Harrison ascribed his narrow victory to Providence, Quay exclaimed that Harrison would never know "how close a number of men were compelled to approach... the penitentiary to make him President."

Presidential Report Card
(Be sure to include a letter grade and at least two comments)

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Character: A
Harrison championed Indians, Homesteaders and Civil War Veterans. He was described as a kind leader. He was optimistic which reflected how the nation was at the time.
"The masses of our people are better fed, clothed, and housed than their fathers were. The facilities for popular education have been vastly enlarged and more generally diffused. The virtues of courage and patriotism have given proof of their continued presence and increasing power in the hearts and over the lives of our people."

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Morals: A
Again, he was a champion of those without much of a voice at the time such as Indians and Civil War Veterans. He was confident and ambitious with a great following of supporters but did not take part in political bargains.

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Economics: A
The Sherman Anti-Trust At and McKingley Tarff were important economic legislation and Harrison was a key part of each other them.

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Effectiveness: B
He did well at the beginning but after the Republicans did poorly in the 1890 Congressional elections he found it hard to pass legislation such as his ambition to expand in the Pacific specifically Hawaii.

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Political Skill: B
After the devastating midyear election in 1890 Harrison did not have the political skill to combat the House being against him politically. He had the vision but not the skill to get Hawaii to pass.

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Vision: A
Harrison had a lot of vision for his country. He had a lasting affect on foreign policy especially in the Pacific. He foreshadowed the political activism which began with McKingley.

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Leadership: B
Harrison was an incredible leader beloved by his supporters. Although not well known thus losing the popular vote, with the elector college he pulled ahead to lead the country to the first Pan American conference and help shape US foreign policy.

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OVERALL: B+
Most scholars consider Harrison to be underrated. He accomplished a lot in his four year term. He was confident, hard-working and visionary. He had a long term impact on our presidents especially his ambition.