Sunday, October 14, 2012

President Benjamin Harrison

Benjamin Harrison
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23rd President of the United States
Under the Constitution of 1787
March 4, 1889 – March 4, 1893


By: Stanley Yavneh Klos

  • First United American Republic: United Colonies of North America: 13 British Colonies United in Congress was founded by 12 colonies on September 5th, 1774 (Georgia joined in 1775)  and governed through a British Colonial Continental Congress.  Peyton Randolph and George Washington served, respectively, as the Republic's first President and Commander-in-Chief;
  • Second United American Republic: The United States of America: 13 Independent States United in Congress was founded by 12 states on July 2nd, 1776 (New York abstained until July 8th), and governed through the United States Continental CongressJohn Hancock and George Washington served, respectively, as the Republic's first President and Commander-in-Chief; 
  • Third United American Republic: The United States of America: A Perpetual Union was founded by 13 States on March 1st, 1781, with the enactment of the first U.S. Constitution, the Articles of Confederation, and governed through the United States in Congress Assembled.  Samuel Huntington and George Washington served, respectively, as the Republic's first President and Commander-in-Chief; 
  • Fourth United American Republic: The United States of America: We the People  was formed by 11 states on March 4th, 1789 (North Carolina and Rhode Island joined in November 1789 and May 1790, respectively), with the enactment of the U.S. Constitution of 1787. The fourth and current United States Republic governs through  the U.S. House of Representatives and Senate in Congress Assembled, the U.S. President and Commander-in-Chief, and the U.S. Supreme Court.  George Washington served as the Republic's first President and Commander-in-Chief.



BENJAMIN HARRISON was born in his grandfather’s home in North Bend, Hamilton County, Ohio on August 20, 1833. His father, John Scott Harrison was the son of William Henry Harrison, the 9th President of the United States and the grandson of Benjamin Harrison of Virginia, who was one of the signers of the Declaration of Independence. Harrison’s mother was Elizabeth Irwin of Mercersburg, Pennsylvania and the couple settled on the family estate on the banks of the Ohio near the mouth of the Big Miami River.

Young Harrison started school in a log schoolhouse and at the age of fifteen he went to Cary’s Academy (which later became Farmer’s College) near Cincinnati. In 1850, he entered Miami University of Ohio as a junior. At Miami he renewed his acquaintance with Caroline Lavinia Scott, the daughter of John W. Scott who had taught Harrison science at Cary’s Academy and was the president of the Oxford Female Institute. Harrison graduated in 1852 with highest honors. Although deeply religious, he finally decided to study law with Storer and Gwynne a Cincinnati firm. He married Caroline on October 20, 1853 in the same year he was admitted to the Ohio bar. The Harrisons had two children: Russell Benjamin Harrison (1854 – 1936) and Mary Scott Harrison (1858 – 1930).



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Harrison and his bride moved to Indianapolis, Indiana, which seemed to him to be a promising location for a legal practice. He formed a partnership with William Wallace, son of a former Indiana governor and the firm prospered, as they were not specialized but took every case. Harrison achieved his training as an all around lawyer and he had few rivals. His ability as a lawyer aided well in his political career and in 1860, he was elected to the office of Reporter of the Supreme Court of the State of Indiana.

In August 1862 at the request of Governor Oliver P. Morton, Harrison entered the Union Army as a Colonel of the 70th Indiana Regiment and he was honorably discharged in June 1865, after participating in many important engagements during his three years of service.

Harrison returned to Indiana a war hero and he gained wide fame and some fortune with his law practice, Porter, Harrison & Fishback. In 1881, he was elected to the United States Senate by the Indiana Legislature and served until 1887, during which time he became one of the Senate’s strongest debaters. In 1888 he was presented to the Republican National Convention by the Indiana delegation as a nominee for president. He won the nomination on the eighth ballot and took a very active part in his campaign, making many speeches and aided by his historic name. He was elected in November receiving 233 electoral votes to Grover Cleveland’s 168.

On March 4, 1889, Harrison was inaugurated. He had received substantial campaign contributions from American manufacturers who favored his protectionist stance, but he displeased both party loyalists and reformers during his term in office. He sponsored the first Pan-American Congress and supported the McKinley Tariff Act, which increased import duties, and the Sherman Anti-Trust Act, which regulated monopolies. While manufacturers benefited from the high tariffs under Harrison, they did not pass the benefits on to labor. He was faced with mounting resentment among industrial workers and a depressed farm economy.


  Benjamin.Harrison Autograph letter signed to John Sherman, Indianapolis, Ind., 23 March 1896 asking about the legal status of gifts made to him while President.  Article I, Section 9 of the Constitution says that "no person holding any office or profit or trust" under the United States government, "shall, without the consent of the Congress, accept of any present, emolument, office, or title, of any kind whatever, from any king, prince, or foreign state." Here the former President asks the chairman of the Foreign Relations Committee about "two medals" presented to him while he was President, "one from Brazil at the time of the visit of the Brazilian Squadron and one from Spain in connection with the Columbian Exposition. As they came from Foreign Governments I thought I could not receive them and sent them over to [the] State Dept. where I suppose they still are. If it is appropriate that I should have them I would be glad to have them but not otherwise, and if you think so & your committee does, and any resolution is necessary I would be obliged if you would take the necessary steps. If the Govt. is to retain these & any like things, some provision should be made for their custody & putting them in the National Museum or some other appropriate place. Please let me know what you think would be appropriate."

Harrison was nominated again for president at the conclusion of his term but was defeated by Grover Cleveland – the same man he had defeated four years before.

Harrison’s wife Caroline had died two weeks before the election so as a widower he returned to his law practice and his home in Indianapolis. He was hired by Senator Stanford to deliver a course of lectures at the Leland Stanford Jr., University in California on Constitutional law. He was prominent in the Presbyterian councils and was a member of the Committee on Revision. In April 1896, Harrison married Mrs. Mary Scott Lord Dimmick, his first wife’s niece and in 1897, their daughter, Elizabeth Harrison was born. In the same year, he published This Country of Ours, his book explaining how the federal government operates.

Harrison died in Indianapolis on March 13, 1901 of pneumonia. His Views of an Ex-President, which was edited by his widow, was published posthumously. Mary Scott Lord Dimmick Harrison survived him by nearly 47 years.


Speeches of Benjamin Harrison Biography




BENJAMIN HARRISON, twenty-third President of the United States, was born Tuesday, August 20, 1833, at North Bend, Hamilton County, Ohio. He is the second son of the late John Scott and Elizabeth Irwin Harrison.  His father—the third son of President William Henry Harrison and Anna Symmes—was born at Vincennes, Indiana, was twice elected to Congress as a Democrat, from the Cincinnati district, and died in 1878.

General William Henry Harrison, ninth President of the United States, was the third son of a famous signer of the Declaration of Independence—Benjamin Harrison, of Virginia, and his wife Elizabeth Bassett. This Benjamin Harrison, "the signer," was one of the first seven delegates from Virginia to the Continental Congress. He reported the resolution for independence, was Speaker of the House of Burgesses, and was thrice elected Governor of Virginia, dying in 1791; he was the eldest son of Benjamin and Anna Carter Harrison, both of whom were descended from ancestors distinguished for their high character and their services to the colony of Virginia.

Ben Harrison's boyhood was passed upon his father's farm in Ohio. At the age of 14, with his elder brother Irwin, he attended Farmer's College at Cincinnati, preparatory to entering Miami University at Oxford, Ohio, from which institution he graduated in 1852.

He studied law in the office of Judge Belamy Storer at Cincinnati, and in March, 1854—with his bride, Miss Caroline W.Scott, to whom he was wedded October 20, 1853—he located at Indianapolis and began the practice of the law.

In 1860 he was elected reporter of the decisions of the Supreme Court of Indiana, as a Republican, receiving 9,688 majority.

In July, 1862, he was commissioned by Gov. Oliver P" Morton as second lieutenant, and raised Company A of the Seventieth Indiana Volunteer Infantry, was commissioned captain, and on the organization of the regiment was commissioned colonel. In August his regiment entered the field and became a part of the 1st Brigade of the 1st Division of the 20th Army Corps, Gen.W. T. Ward, of Kentucky, brigade commander. At the battle of Resaca, Sunday, May 15, 1864, the Seventieth Regiment led the brigade in a gallant charge, and its colonel signally distinguished himself, being among the first to scale the bloody parapet. He actively participated in the engagements at Cassville, New Hope Church, Gilgal Church, Kulps Hill, and Kenesaw. Following that great captain in the Atlanta campaign, initiatory to his famous march to the sea, Colonel Harrison at the battle of Peach Tree Creek, July 20, 1864, in the crisis of the fight, without awaiting orders, seized an important position and successfully resisted, at great loss, the terrific assaults of a large detachment of Hood's army. For this brilliant achievement, upon the recommendation of Major-General Joe Hooker, he was brevetted in March, I860, by President Lincoln, a brigadier-general, to date from January 23, 1865.

In October, 1864, while at the front, he was reelected, by 19,713 majority, reporter of the Supreme Court, which office he had lost by accepting a commission in the army. After four years as reporter he resumed his law practice, forming a partnership with Albert G. Porter and W. P. Fishback. About 1870 Mr. Fishback retired, and the firm became Porter, Harrison & Hines; upon Governor Porter's retirement W. H. H. Miller took his place, and in 1883 Mr. Hines retired, and, John B. Elam coming in, the firm became Harrison, Miller & Elam.

In 1876 Hon. Godlove S. Orth was nominated as Republican candidate for Governor of Indiana, but pending the canvass he unexpectedly withdrew. In this emergency, during General Harrison's absence on a trip to Lake Superior, the Central Committee substituted his name at the head of the ticket. Undertaking the canvass despite adverse conditions, he was defeated by Hon. James D. Williams "Biue Jeans " by a plurality of 5,084 votes.

In 1878 he was chosen chairman of the Republican State Convention,

In 1879 he was appointed by President Hayes a member of the Mississippi River Commission.

In 1880 he was chairman of the delegation from Indiana to the National Convention, and with his colleagues cast 34 consecutive ballots for James G. Blaine in that historic contest.  President Garfield tendered him any position but one in his Cabinet, but the high honor was declined.

In January, 1881, he was elected United States Senator—the unanimous choice of his party—to succeed Joseph E. McDonald, and served six years to March 3, 1887.

In 1884 he again represented his State as delegate at large to the National Convention.

January, 1887, he was a second time the unanimous choice of his party for United States Senator, but after a protracted and exciting contest was defeated on the sixteenth joint ballot, upon party lines, by 2 majority.


US Military Commission signed by President Benjamin Harrison and Secretary of War Stephen Benton Elkins - Historic.us image

June 25, 1888, he was nominated at Chicago by the Republican National Convention for President, on the eighth ballot, receiving 544 votes against 118 for John Sherman, 100 for Russell A.Alger, and 59 for Walter Q. Gresham. He was chosen President by 233 electoral votes against 168 for Grover Cleveland. The popular vote resulted: 5,536.242 (48.63 per cent.) for the Democratic ticket, 5,440,708 (47.83 per cent.) for the Republican ticket, 246,876 (2.16 per cent.) for the Prohibition, 146,836 (1.27 per cent.) for the Union Labor, and 7,777 (0.11 per cent.) scattering.


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