The People's President
Stephen Grover Cleveland was born on March 18, 1837, in Caldwell, New Jersey, to parents Reverend Richard Falley Cleveland and Ann (Neal) Cleveland. The fifth of nine children, Stephen Grover was so named in honor of the first pastor of the First Presbyterian Church of Caldwell, where his father was pastor at the time. He became known as Grover in his early adult life.
In 1841, the Cleveland family moved to Fayetteville, New York, where Grover spent much of his childhood. From an early age, he had an evident sense of humor and a fondness for outdoor sports. In 1850, Cleveland's father took a pastorate in Clinton, New York, and the family relocated there. Financial conditions forced Rev. Cleveland to remove Grover from school into a two-year mercantile apprenticeship in Fayetteville. Grover eventually returned to Clinton and his schooling at the completion of his apprentice contract. In 1853, the family relocated yet again to Holland Patent near Utica, where Rev. Cleveland served another local church.
After Rev. Cleveland passed away, Grover left school to support his family. He taught at the New York Institute of the Blind in the Bronx before heading west to Buffalo. There, he entered into a clerkship at the law firm of Rogers, Bowen, and Rogers. During his clerkship, he began to read law and passed the bar in 1859. After leaving to start his own practice, Grover rose to the position of assistant district attorney of Erie County in 1863.
Mr. Cleveland's legal career was wide and varied. He defended members of the Finnian Brotherhood pro bono. He won a libel case against the editor of Buffalo's Commercial Advertiser. Despite his position, Mr. Cleveland shunned high society in Buffalo, preferring instead to live in simple quarters so that he could use his income to support his mother and siblings.
His public service is well known to many of you from his previous campaigns. He served first as sheriff of Buffalo throughout the 1870s. In the aftermath of the Crab Nebula Attack of 1879, when many or our nation's best and brightest were killed or forever changed, Mr. Cleveland stepped into the leadership breach. He served first as mayor of Buffalo, then as Governor of New York, and eventually as President of these United States. All this despite opposition from the corrupt political bosses of Tammany Hall.
President Cleveland's first term is widely known and respected as being a time of reform in American politics. He worked fervently for a sensible Gold Standard to stabilize our economy. He took on the spoils system, creating a merit-based system of political appointments regardless of party affiliation. He reigned in America's imperial misadventures, calling for a sensible and moderate foreign policy. He rolled back President Arthur's unscrupulous executive orders, particularly around issues of Indian policy. Perhaps most importantly to President Cleveland, he married Francis Folsom during his first term, making her the youngest First Lady in our young nation's history.
After leaving office in 1888, President Cleveland and Frances returned to Manhattan. During that time, he has experienced what he refers to as "much needed respite" from the burdens of office. The president has maintained a modest law practice at Bangs, Stetson, Tracy, and MacVeigh. He has continued to passionately advocate for a true Gold Standard. And, just a few short months ago, Frances gave birth to their first child, baby Ruth.
"A government for the people must depend for its success on the intelligence, the morality, the justice, and the interest of the people themselves."
- Grover Cleveland