Wednesday, October 13, 2010
Nickname: Little Ben
People found that Harrison had about only two qualifications to be president; a clean record, and being grandson of former president William Henry Harrison. Harrison basically campaigned from his front porch, literally. His campaign managers poured money into swing states and corporations who detested Cleveland and his lower tariffs, supported Benjamin Harrison. The race was closer than some, but Harrison won due to the support of corporations. Cleveland left his first term with a surplus, which quickly faded into Harrison's presidency.The House spent the money quickly with their thin margin of Republicans over Democrats. Cleveland had vetoed bills for Civil War pensions to veterans because the risk of fraudulent claims ran too high. Congress resubmitted these bills to Harrison, who only too willingly signed them into law. Civil War pension costs soon became one of the largest expenses in the federal budget. To fix the debt, Congress passed the McKinley Tariff, a dramatic increase in import fees. The tariff angered Americans by increasing the prices of many consumer goods. The public showed their dissatisfaction by giving both houses to the Democrats during the mid-term elections. Lingering anger over the tariff led to Cleveland being voted back into the presidency. Harrison went back to Indianapolis, and continued his law firm. He went on to help Venezuela in the settlement of its border dispute with Great Britain.
Harrison was not a corrupt person, which helped him during his presidency, but was perhaps just a little too trusting. Giving pension to anyone who claimed to have fought in the Civil War was a huge mistake. Harrison backing that up and the McKinley Tariff was not the best thing to do in the economic climate they were in. Harrison is guilty more of bending over to Congress. They came up with the crazy plans, but Harrison agreed.