Harrison, Benjamin

Harrison, Benjamin

biographical name


Benjamin Harrison, photograph by George Prince, 1888.—Library of Congress, Washington, D.C.

(born Aug. 20, 1833, North Bend, Ohio, U.S.—died March 13, 1901, Indianapolis, Ind.) 23rd president of the U.S. (1889–93). The grandson of William H. Harrison, the 9th president of the U.S., he practiced law in Indianapolis from the mid-1850s. He served in the Union army in the American Civil War, rising to brigadier general. After a single term in the U.S. Senate (1881–87), he won the Republican nomination for president and defeated the incumbent, Grover Cleveland, in the electoral college, though Cleveland received more popular votes. His presidency was marked by passage of the Sherman Antitrust Act. His secretary of state, James Blaine, presided at the conference that led to the establishment of the Pan-American Union, resisted pressure to abandon U.S. interests in the Samoan Islands (1889), and negotiated a treaty with Britain in the Bering Sea Dispute (1891). Defeated for reelection by Cleveland in 1892, Harrison returned to Indianapolis to practice law. In 1898–99 he was the leading counsel for Venezuela in its boundary dispute with Britain.

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