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Pride in America: Grover Cleveland

Pride in America: Grover Cleveland

Ronald M. Nate, Ph.D.
June 19, 2023

Welcome to Pride in America Month. Every day in the month of June and through Independence Day, we will highlight a figure who has demonstrated and defended American values. Consider it a healthy alternative to the Left's June celebration that has taken over the media and corporate America.

Perhaps the last US President to truly know what it means to “preserve, protect and defend the Constitution of the United States,” Grover Cleveland deserves a lofty position on our Pride In America series of US heroes.  Elected as a “mugwump” candidate in 1884 after opposing the terrible leftist, James Blaine of Maine, Cleveland exemplified what a Constitutional leader should do in office. 

Here is a snippet of his Presidency.  In 1887, US Congress passed the Texas Seed Bill to direct the Commissioner of Agriculture to distribute seed grain to destitute farmers in Texas who were devastated by an early summer drought.  The cost of the seed and distribution was $10,000 (not much even in those days). 

President Cleveland vetoed the measure because, as he put it, he could “find no warrant for such an appropriation in the [C]onstitution.”  Further he states, “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. . . ”

Cleveland’s defense of the Constitution was never situational, it was his rock solid foundation.  As he put it, “A prevalent tendency to disregard the limited mission of (the government’s) power and duty should be steadfastly resisted, the end that the lesson should be constantly enforced that, though the people support the Government, the Government should not support the people.”

President Cleveland’s record proves his resolve. He vetoed private pension bills aimed at benefiting Civil War veterans because they were based on fraudulent claims. When Congress, pressured by a veterans’ lobby group, passed a bill granting pensions for disabilities outside of military service, Cleveland vetoed it, too. In his first term alone, Cleveland vetoed 414 bills.  

In his first term, Cleveland showed his free-market economic bona fides by calling on Congress to reduce high protective tariffs. Told that he had given his opponents a powerful campaign issue for the election of 1888, he retorted, “What is the use of being elected or re-elected unless you stand for something?” 

Cleveland lost in 1888, but was re-elected in 1892 to continue his amazing record of principled leadership.  He was a Constitutional hero and perhaps our last true laissez-faire President.  Praise be to President Grover Cleveland, another true exemplar of Pride in America.

Do you have a great American who deserves to be celebrated this month? Let us know!

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