Friday, January 9, 2009

Little Ben

Good Morning and again I am writing about Presidents because this is the season. America gets a new one on the 20th of January. I also chose Benjamin Harrison to research because I used to live and work in Indianapolis.

President Benjamin Harrison was the 23rd President of the United States. He was born in 1833. The folks in Indianapolis, Indiana are proud of little Ben. He was called that because of his short stature. He was 5 foot, six inches tall.

He was a one-term president. He served from 1889 to 1893 and he gets skipped over in the history books.

Actually a lot was accomplished during his administration. The pledge of Allegiance was adopted during his term. Six states, Washington, Montana, Idaho, Wyoming and North and South Dakota, were admitted to the union when Harrison was president.

Harrison was known as a Civil War hero and has been called the father of the modern navy. The Sherman antitrust act was passed during his tenure and he was a staunch environmentalist. 17 National Parks were created during his four years. Not bad for a little known President.

He was the grandson of President William Henry Harrison and that provided campaign fodder for the Democrats. It must have bothered little Ben for he once said in a speech, “I want it understood that I am the grandson of nobody. I believe that every man should stand on his own merits.”

It is interesting to note that he received 100-thousand fewer popular votes than his opponent Grover Cleveland, but carried the Electoral College 233 to 168. Florida didn’t have chads then. Skulduggery again!

Incidentally, one time, in honor of his birthday sesquicentennial the city of Indianapolis ordered a statue of him sand blasted clean. It was the first cleaning in 75 years.

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