|Grover Cleveland was born in Caldwell, New Jersey. When he was four his family moved to Fayetville, New York, and when Grover was 14, to Clinton, New York. Cleveland went to high school at the Clinton Liberal Institute, and the Fayetville Academy. He hoped to go on to college, but the death of his father forced him to go to work instead.
In 1855 he decided to settle in Buffalo where he had an uncle who hired him to edit the "American Shorthorn Handbook". His uncle also arranged for him to study law at a local law office. He was admitted to the bar in 1859.
From 1859 to 1863 and from 1865-1871 Cleveland practiced law in Buffalo and became active in the Democratic party. He did not serve in the Civil War, choosing instead to pay a substitute. From 1863-65, Cleveland served as the Assistant District Attorney for Erie County.
From 1871-73, Cleveland served as the Sheriff of Erie County. He established a reputation for competence and incorruptibility. After his term, he returned to his law practice, which he pursued until 1882, when he was elected as the Mayor of Buffalo. He served only one year as mayor, and again established a reputation for honesty and competence. Within a year, he was elected Governor of New York. As Governor he continued his maintained his reputation for competence. His public slogan became "Public Office is a Public Trust."
Cleveland's first term in the White House was uneventful. He built on his reputation for competence by expanding the civil service reform begun by his immediate predecessors. He was known to be a severe auditor of private pension and relief bills, vetoing many of them.
Cleveland was a strong supporter of the Interstate Commerce Act that gave the federal government the power to regulate railroads. Cleveland's most controversial action was his support for the reduction of tariffs, which he felt was causing an unneeded government surplus.
The high point in his Presidency was his wedding, on July 2, 1886, to the 21 year-old Frances Folsom, in the White House. It was the first White House wedding.
Cleveland's second term was dominated by his attempts to come to grips with worsening economic conditions in the country. One month before he took office, a financial panic developed because of the failure of the Philadelphia and Reading Railroads. The resulting depression caused the failure of thousands of businesses, and as a result unemployment soared. The President blamed the depression, in part, on the government's obligation under the Sherman Silver Purchase Act to purchase silver. The Act was repealed, but the depression was not lifted.
President Cleveland attempted to roll back some of the large tariff increases installed under the McKinley Tariff, but his attempts were only partially successful. During the Pullman Railway Strike of 1894, Cleveland dispatched federal troops to break the strike, justifying the use of massive force by the fact that federal mails were being stopped by the strike.
Cleveland managed to shore up his sagging popularity through publicizing his success in getting the British to agree to arbitration with Venezuela over a boundary dispute.