top of page



Grover Cleveland - with Periodic Presidents 

The First Democrat elected after the Civil War, Grover Cleveland was the only date…to leave the White House and return for a second term four years later.

One of nine children of a Presbyterian minister, Cleveland was born in New Jersey in 1837. He was raised in upstate New York. As a lawyer in Buffalo, he became notable for his single-minded concentration upon whatever task faced him.

At 44, he emerged into a political prominence that carried him to the White House in three years. Running as a reformer, he was elected Mayor of Buffalo in 1881, and later, Governor of New York.  Cleveland won the Presidency with the combined support of Democrats and reform Republicans, the “Mugwumps,” who disliked the record of his opponent James G. Blaine of Maine.


The election of 1884 was rooted in the character traits, both good and bad, of the candidates. Cleveland stood for changing politics, making it less corrupt.  He had previously made a name for himself by taking on corrupt businesses and political groups.  His opponent, James Blaine, had the opposite record, finding himself in political scandals. Cleveland’s personal life was not so glamorous, and his possible fathering of an illegitimate son became the focus of the Republican campaign.

In the end, Cleveland won by a very small margin…winning the electoral college 219 to 182.  Americans agreed with the Democrats.  They voted for the candidate with the clean public reputation over the candidate with the clean personal reputation.

After winning the popular vote but losing the electoral college, thus losing the election of 1888,  to Republican Benjamin Harrison, the election of 1892 was a rematch, but with different results. The Populist party emerged during this election, focused on a strong currency and farmers’ protections.  And the Republicans had lost some favor among Americans with high tariffs that led to higher prices. In 1892, Cleveland again won the popular vote, but this time he also won in the electoral college.  His win makes him the only president to serve two non-consecutive terms.


After leaving the White House, Cleveland lived in retirement in Princeton, New Jersey. He died in 1908.

PayPal ButtonPayPal Button
bottom of page