After the Civil War, the rebuilding of the U.S. began. After the Presidents Johnson and Grant, the next Presidents were James Garfield, Chester Arthur, Grover Cleveland, and Benjamin Harrison. Let us study them today.
James A. Garfield was born in Ohio in 1831, to a poor family. He worked his way to college and graduated from Williams College in 1856. He served in the Union Army during the Civil War. He was elected to Congress 1862. He ran for president in 1880 and won. He promoted a moderate view of Reconstruction and legislation in favor of civil rights. On July 2, 1881, when he was on his way to visit Williams College, he was shot in the chest by Charles J. Guiteau. He remained very sick until September 19, 1881, when he died. His Vice President, Chester Arthur, took over the office of President.
Chester A. Arthur was born in 1829 and grew up in upstate New York. He became a lawyer. During the Civil War, he served as quartermaster general for the Union. He served as Collector of the Port of New York for several years. Afterward, he was chosen as the Vice President candidate to run with Garfield. After Garfield was assassinated, people thought Arthur was incapable of being President. But when he was elected he proved to be a very good president. The members of Garfield’s cabinet soon stepped down, so Arthur appointed the best men for the positions. Arthur opposed the spoils system, which basically said the victors get the spoils. This means the people a President appointed to a cabinet were his political friends and not the best men for the job. Arthur died on November 18, 1886.
Grover Cleveland was born in 1837, in New Jersey. In 1855, he traveled to Buffalo, New York. There he became a law clerk. He became a lawyer in 1859. In 1884 he was chosen as the Democrat nominee. He barely won the popular vote, by a margin of ¼; but he won the electoral vote, 219-182. Cleveland supported free market; he opposed inflation, high tariffs, and subsidies to businesses. When he ran again, he was defeated by Benjamin Harrison. But Cleveland had not given up yet. When Harrison ran again Cleveland ran against and won! Sadly Cleveland’s second Presidency was doomed. In 1893 a panic struck the nation. Only His character saved his reputation. He died on June 24, 1908.
Benjamin Harrison was born in Ohio in 1833. He graduated from college in 1852. He went into law in 1858. He was chosen as the Republican in the 1888 election. Harrison decided to give speeches and campaign from his hometown. He won the electoral vote, 233-168. He supported high tariffs inflation, and big government spending. He annexed Hawaii as a territory (not a state). He lost the 1892 election to Cleveland. He died on March 13, 1901
As we see from these presidencies, America is no longer a nation trying to recover from the Civil War. Instead, it is a strong nation on its way to being a world superpower.
Samuel Duarte JM