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Benjamin Harrison: 23rd President: Old Tippecanoe's Grandson

Angela loves history and feels it is essential to our future to know the past—or else be destined to repeat it.

Official Presidential Photo

Harrison's Early Years

Benjamin Harrison, the 23rd President of the United States, was born in 1833 to a long line of politicians at a farm near the Ohio River below Cincinnati. He was one of the few Presidents to have had a relative also be a previous president. His grandfather William Henry Harrison was the ninth President who was known ass "Old Tippecanoe." His great grandfather also signed the Declaration of Independence.

Benjamin attended Miami University, then studied law in Cincinnati. After he got married in 1853 to Caroline Lavinia Scott, he moved to Indianapolis, Indiana, where he gained a solid reputation as a successful lawyer. He used his connections to help campaign for the Republican Party.

He took a brief hiatus from his law practice to fight in the Civil War as a Colonel of the 70th Volunteer Infantry. He returned soon after.

Harrison's Narrow Win

He was not known for a friendly demeanor. Many thought he was cold, although many respected him. His reputation caused him to lose the election for the Indiana governor in 1876. Fortunately, he did become a U.S. Senator in 1880, which paved the way to run for President, although winning was not an easy task. In the election, he ran against Cleveland and ended up with 100,000 fewer popular votes. Despite fewer popular votes, he still won the Electoral College 233 to 168!

Benjamin Harrison's Presidential Accomplishments

Harrison mostly agreed with Congress when handling problems, although he did focus greatly on foreign policies. He attempted to get Hawaii annexed and also established the basis of the Pan American Union, which met for the first time in Washington in 1889.

Although he did not have success with Hawaii, six new states were admitted to the Union: North Dakota, South Dakota, Idaho, Montana, Washington, and Wyoming, which caused the country to reach from one coast to the other officially.

He also was well known for signing the Sherman Anti-Trust Act, which protected " and commerce against unlawful restraints and monopolies," which was the first Federal act attempting to regulate trusts.

He did run for a second term in 1892 but lost to former President Grover Cleveland. The same man he narrowly won the election the prior term.

After he left office, he returned to Indianapolis, where he married widowed Mrs. Mary Dimmick four years later. He died in 1901.

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Fun Facts

  • Because he was only 5 feet 6 inches, he was nicknamed by Democrats, "Little Ben," but Republicans would retort that he was big enough to wear the hat of his grandfather, "Old Tippecanoe."
  • In 1889, he placed the first Christmas tree in the White House.
  • In 1892, his wife was one of three first ladies to die while their husbands were in office.
  • His grandfather was the ninth President of the United States, William Henry Harrison.
  • His great-grandfather signed the Declaration of Independence.
  • He was the first President to use electric light in the White House. He also was the last president to date to have a beard.

Exerpt from History Channel

Basic Facts



August 20, 1833 - Ohio

President Number




Military Service

United States Army

Wars Served

American Civil War

Age at Beginning of Presidency

56 years old

Term of Office

March 4, 1889 - March 3, 1893

Years Served as President

4 years

Vice President

Levi P. Morton

Age and Year of Death

March 13, 1901 (aged 67)

Cause of Death


List of the United States Presidents

1. George Washington

16. Abraham Lincoln

31. Herbert Hoover

2. John Adams

17. Andrew Johnson

32. Franklin D. Roosevelt

3. Thomas Jefferson

18. Ulysses S. Grant

33. Harry S. Truman

4. James Madison

19. Rutherford B. Hayes

34. Dwight D. Eisenhower

5. James Monroe

20. James Garfield

35. John F. Kennedy

6. John Quincy Adams

21. Chester A. Arthur

36. Lyndon B. Johnson

7. Andrew Jackson

22. Grover Cleveland

37. Richard M. Nixon

8. Martin Van Buren

23. Benjamin Harrison

38. Gerald R. Ford

9. William Henry Harrison

24. Grover Cleveland

39. James Carter

10. John Tyler

25. William McKinley

40. Ronald Reagan

11. James K. Polk

26. Theodore Roosevelt

41. George H. W. Bush

12. Zachary Taylor

27. William Howard Taft

42. William J. Clinton

13. Millard Fillmore

28. Woodrow Wilson

43. George W. Bush

14. Franklin Pierce

29. Warren G. Harding

44. Barack Obama

15. James Buchanan

30. Calvin Coolidge

45. Donald Trump


  • Freidel, F., & Sidey, H. (2009). Benjamin Harrison. Retrieved April 22, 2016, from
  • Sullivan, George. Mr. President: A Book of U.S. Presidents. New York: Scholastic, 2001. Print.
  • What are some interesting facts about presidents and first ladies? (n.d.). Retrieved April 22, 2016, from

© 2017 Angela Michelle Schultz


Dianna Mendez on October 17, 2017:

Great share on the history of this president.

Angela Michelle Schultz (author) from United States on October 16, 2017:

Thank you so much!

Doug West from Missouri on October 16, 2017:

Good article.

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