Cleveland, Grover (1837–1908)

Author:David Gordon

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The first Democratic President since JAMES BUCHANAN, Grover Cleveland supported civil service reform and tariff reduction. Cleveland devoted much of his two terms (1884?1888, 1892?1896) to eliminating corruption, inefficiency, and the exploitation of government for private benefit. Generally STATES ' RIGHTS and probusiness in viewpoint, he insisted that the federal government function within constrained constitutional limits. As the first executive in decades willing to fight Congress, he frequently used the VETO POWER. A 6?3 Supreme Court sustained Cleveland's view of presidential removal power in McAllister v. United States (1891). (See APPOINTING AND REMOVAL POWER.)

Cleveland played almost no part in passage of the INTERSTATE COMMERCE ACT. He had no public reaction to the unpopular decision in POLLOCK V. FARMERS ' LOAN & TRUST COMPANY (1895), voiding the income tax, for he believed criticism of the Court unseemly.

Cleveland was the second President with an opportunity to enforce the SHERMAN ANTITRUST ACT, but he expressed serious doubts about the act's effectiveness. Cleveland promised action "to the extent that [trusts] can be reached and restrained by Federal power," although he contended that state action provided the proper remedy. What antitrust successes his administration won (such as UNITED STATES V. TRANSMISSOURI FREIGHT ASSOCIATION, 1897, and United States v. Addyston Pipe & Steel Corp., 1899) belong to his second attorney general, Judson Harmon. Cleveland's last annual message even contains an exculpatory announcement about the "thus far ? ineffective" act.

Cleveland and his first attorney general, RICHARD OLNEY, helped secure a federal INJUNCTION against the Pullman strike in 1894. Over the Illinois governor's objections, Cleveland sent 2,000 troops to Chicago to protect the

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mails and insure the free flow of INTERSTATE COMMERCE, purposes specifically approved by the Court in IN RE DEBS (1895). The troops broke the strike, killing twelve workers; this incident gave rise to the epithet "government by injunction."

Cleveland appointed four...

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