POTUS EssayBy: Roberto PiantiniPresident Grover ClevelandGrover Cleveland is

POTUS EssayBy: Roberto PiantiniPresident Grover ClevelandGrover Cleveland is the only President of the United States who has won for two non-consecutive terms, becoming both the 22nd and 24th President of the United States. President Grover Cleveland was born on March 18, 1837 in Caldwell New Jersey, later moving to Fayetteville New York. He was the fifth in a family of nine siblings.  When he was a young child his father died forcing him to drop out of school so he could work to support his family. This tough upbringing helped him understand the importance of hard work since early on in his life, and this priority would reflect during his terms in office. While living in New York, his uncle introduced him to important lawyers who helped him attend law school, and he ended up working as a lawyer in 1859.   Perhaps having been given this opportunity, one that changed his life, as president he would go on to appoint his officials based on merit, and in this way sought to make government more efficient.  On his road to becoming president, he went through many public positions: as the Sheriff of Erie County NY in 1870 to 1873, Mayor of Buffalo New York of 1882, and he associated with the Democratic party and became Governor of the state of New York from 1883 through 1885. He ran for the presidency of the United States, and was elected as its 22nd President in 1885.  He won the popular vote for three presidential elections, in 1884, 1888, and 1892, and was one of only two Democrats, with Woodrow Wilson, to be elected president during the era of Republican political domination dating from 1861 to 1833.  He lost reelection to Benjamin Harrison, yet in 1893 he ran for office against Harrison, and won as the 24th President of the United States. Although Grover Cleveland’s presidencies may be seen as having a mix of positive and negative traits, he was ultimately an unworthy leader if one considers his impact on racial relations and equality, the progress of women’s rights and the economic health of the nation.On the issue of race, President Cleveland comes across as having been intolerant.  This fact is supported by his treatment of three racial groups:  the African Americans in the South, the Chinese in the west coast, and the general status of the Native Americans in United States.  Just as white Southerners, he refused to consider African Americans as social and political equals to white men.  He reached out to former Confederates and Democrats.  He also opposed integrated schools in New York and suffrage efforts of African Americans.  Regarding the Chinese of the West Coast, he seemed ambivalent in his approach towards them.   Although in his first term he opposed actions that had been taken against them, soon after he changed his mind arguing that due to the immense difference in culture between the Chinese and the Americans, the United States could not absorb this group.  The general prejudice towards was too ingrained in American thought.  He differentiated the Chinese from other immigrant communities by upholding that they refused to blend in to American culture and society. From then on his focus was on limiting Chinese migration and prohibiting their re-entry.    The third group affected by his policies as  leader were the Native American.  He depicted himself as an Indian reformer, pushing them into abandoning their traditional ways.  He argued for their assimilation and at the same time passed the Dawes Act of 1887, where a lot of the reservation land was distributed between individual Indians and public property.  Native Americans lost their land, and their way of life did not improve in his efforts towards this forced assimilation Grover Cleveland’s treatment of these three distinct groups in the United States furthered racial inequality and violated human rights in his country, supporting his classification as an unworthy leader. Cleveland was not a promoter of women’s equality either.   On the contrary, he was mostly  silent on issues like women’s suffrage. He wrote in an article in The Ladies Home Journal that trust in God’s Divine wisdom  “will enable dutiful men and women to know the places assigned to them,” (newspapers.bc.edu, The Sacred Heart Review, October 7, 1905).  This means that he believed in separate and static roles for each where new opportunities for women were not an option. “Sensible and responsible women do not want to vote.” https://www.brainyquote.com/quotes/grover_cleveland_105179 ).  While Cleveland understood the importance of women’s organizations and clubs in persuading fathers’ and husbands votes, theirs was a supplementary and supporting role.   He did not speak in favor of women actually casting their own votes.  Women made yet another part of the population that Cleveland refused to support in terms of equality to white males.   It is a president’s duty to govern in favor of all citizens.  His failure to do so is another trait that made him an unworthy leader.  In 1893 the United States entered the worst depression in history to that moment.  Mr. Cleveland completely mishandled this economic crisis.   By 1894, confidence in the  US economy was low, and nearly 18% of workers were unemployed. Charities and relief organizations did not have enough resources.   Cleveland did not listen to his advisors or to the Governor of Illinois when they counselled him not to use federal troops to break up a strike that had risen by the Pullman’s Car workers outside Chicago which rose for this economic hardship.  With this action, people of the time wondered if the country was on the verge either of total anarchy or of a tyranny where people had no right to protest.   The greatest shift of voters since the Civil War was seen during the 1894 congressional elections.  This switch to another party was caused by the President’s failure to deal with the depression.  Difficult times have hit during the terms of many presidents, but especially during these times, a nation needs a leader who will help it recover and bring back  a sense of confidence, stability and hope to its citizens.  Cleveland’s handling of the economic crisis and general hopelessness of the people is further proof that he was an unworthy president.    Grover Cleveland left the White House in 1897.  He was convinced that he had been betrayed by his own party. He was embittered.  He possessed many human traits that could have made him a complete and worthy leader:  he was a hard worker, fought corruption and appointed civil servants based on their merits.  However his flaws greatly outweighed these benevolent traits.   As he stated:  ” Though the people support the government; the government should not support the people.” (quotes.thefamouspeople.com).  His own words illustrate his failure as a leader. His lack of strong support during economic hardships, and his policies which supported inequality of entire groups of the population in favor of the white man, made him an unworthy leader.

Written by