Calhoun dusts off an almost thoroughly forgotten chief executive, known primarily for serving between Cleveland's two terms, to disclose a harbinger of the modern, activist president. Although born in his grandfather's house--and Grandfather was William Henry Harrison, the president famed for dying one month after inauguration--Benjamin Harrison (1833-1901) wasn't to the manor born. He had to establish himself as an attorney before marrying, and become a hardworking high earner before his political ambitions bore fruit. He lost more elections than he won before his 1888 presidential victory; even then, he lost the popular vote because of huge Democrat majorities in the South. He passed more legislation, spent more money, and did more hands-on diplomacy than had any previous president. His single great failure was his legislation ensuring the voting rights of southern blacks. Democrats successfully stalled the bill in the Fifty-first Congress, and after they regained Congress in 1890 and the White House in 1892, the issue was dead until the 1960s. One of the most revelatory entries in the American Presidents series. Ray OlsonCopyright © American Library Association. All rights reserved
About the Author
Charles W. Calhoun is a professor of history at East Carolina University. A former National Endowment for the Humanities fellow, Calhoun is the author or editor of four books, including The Gilded Age, and a member of the editorial board of the Journal of the Gilded Age and Progressive Era. He lives in Greenville, North Carolina.