1885-1889DemocratMarch 18, 1837, in Caldwell, New YorkJune 24, 1908, in Princeton, New Jersey
Vice PresidentFirst LadiesPrevious OccupationsStates in Union
Thomas A. HendricksRose Elizabeth Cleveland (Sister)
Frances Folsom Cleveland (Wife)
Teacher, Lawyer38


Cleveland’s parents were Richard Falley and Anne Neal Cleveland. Cleveland married Frances Folsom in the White House in 1886. They had five children: Ruth, Esther, Marion, Richard Folsom, and Francis Grover.


Cleveland’s success in fighting political corruption as both mayor of Buffalo, New York, and governor of New York earned him a reputation for honesty that helped him garner the respect of both Democrats and Republicans and therefore also secure the presidency. As president Cleveland was committed to continuing the reform of the Civil Service initiated by Arthur, as well as ending government waste and fraud. Cleveland advocated a “hands off” approach to government, which led him to veto more legislation than any preceding president. He in fact delivered 413 vetoes in four years, which was more than twice the total number of vetoes issued by all 21 preceding presidents. Cleveland was often at odds with special interest groups seeking government funds. Many were particularly angered by his attempts to reduce the system of high tariffs that had been implemented during the Civil War.

Cleveland was defeated by Benjamin Harrison in 1888, but was later reelected to serve a second term in 1892 after defeating Harrison.


“The truly American sentiment recognizes the dignity of labor and the fact that honor lies in natural toil.”

“He mocks the people who proposes that the government shall protect the rich and that they in turn will care for the laboring poor.”

Upon vetoing a bill that would fund the distribution of seed grain to drought-stricken farmers in Texas, Cleveland wrote, “Federal aid in such cases encourages the expectation of paternal care on the part of the Government and weakens the sturdiness of our national character.”

At This Time

1885: Golf is introduced from Scotland to America by John M. Fox • 1886: The first Indian National Congress meets • Marx’s Das Kapital is published in English • The Statue of Liberty is dedicated • 1888: Tchaikovsky conducts Symphony No. 5 in St. Petersburg • Nikola A. Tesla constructs an electric motor

Did You Know?

Cleveland is the only president to have served two separate terms as president. He is also the only president to be married in the White House. He and Frances Folsom married in an intimate candlelit ceremony in the Blue Room on June 2, 1886.

Cleveland’s campaign slogan in 1884 was “A public office is a public trust.” His propensity toward honesty was admired by Joseph Pulitzer’s New York World, which listed four good reasons to vote for Cleveland: “1. He is an honest man. 2. He is an honest man. 3. He is an honest man. 4. He is an honest man.”

Learn More

Field Trips for Grover Cleveland

Grover Cleveland Birthplace Historic Site
Caldwell, New Jersey

The president was born in this house while his father was pastor of the nearby First Presbyterian Church. Open to the public, it is furnished faithful to 1837 and features some artifacts dating to the time of Cleveland’s occupancy.

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