Declaration of Independence

We hold these truths to be self-evident, that all men are created equal, that they are endowed by their Creator with certain unalienable Rights, that among these are Life, Liberty and the pursuit of Happiness. - That to secure these rights, Governments are instituted among Men, deriving their just powers from the consent of the governed.

Monday, February 13, 2012

Greatness of Grover Cleveland

                    Grover Cleveland was the first Democrat to be elected to the office of President of the United States after the Civil War.  He was also the only President to serve two terms of office that were not consecutive.  He was elected President in 1884 but lost the office four years later to Benjamin Harrison.  He campaigned for office against Harrison in 1892 and won a second term.  His honesty and common sense led people to trust him and elect him to leadership.  A previous article about the facts of his life can be found here.

                    President Cleveland is considered to be a conservative even though he was a Democrat because he had the courage to say "no" to special interest groups.  He is known for saying "no" often - "farmers who sought easy money to pay their debts, manufacturers who wanted high protective tariffs, and to veterans who wanted bigger pensions.  These `No's' made Cleveland unpopular in his time, but have added to the respect with which history holds him."  (World Book Encyclopedia, Vol. 4, p. 668).

                    Cleveland faced a Republican Senate and used his veto powers often; in fact, he used the power to veto more often than any previous President.  "He vetoed hundreds of private pension bills for American Civil War veterans, believing that if their pensions requests had already been rejected by the Pensions Bureau, Congress should not attempt to override that decision.  When Congress, pressured by the Grand Army of the Republic, passed a bill granting pensions for disabilities not caused by military service, Cleveland also vetoed that [bill].

                    President Cleveland signed his most-famous veto in 1887 when he vetoed the Texas Seed Bill.  A drought had ruined crops in several counties in Texas, and Congress appropriated $10,000 to purchase seed grain for the affected farmers.  Cleveland shared his theory of limited government when he vetoed this bill.  "I can find no warrant for such an appropriation in the Constitution, and I do not believe that the power and duty of the general government ought to be extended to the relief of individual suffering which is in no manner properly related to the public service or benefit.  A prevalent tendency to disregard the limited mission of this power and duty should, I think, be steadfastly resisted to the end that the lesson should be constantly enforced that, though the people support the government, the government should not support the people.  The friendliness and charity of our countrymen can always be relied upon to relieve their fellow-citizens in misfortune.  This has been repeatedly and quite lately demonstrated.  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, while it prevents the indulgence among our people of that kindly sentiment and conduct which strengthens the bonds of a common brotherhood."

                    President Cleveland was totally correct in his assessment of the American people.  The "fellow-citizens" donated ten times more money to help the farmers as the President vetoed.  I like this quote so well that I included in both my articles written about Cleveland.  The second article is entitle "Life, Liberty and Property" and can be found herel

                    We can tell a lot about people by the things they say, especially if their actions are aligned with their words.  The following quotes were listed among Cleveland's top ten statements.  

                    "Public officers are the servants and agents of the people, to execute the laws which the people have made."

                    "The ship of democracy, which has weathered all storms, may sink through the mutiny of those on board."

                    "I know there is a Supreme Being who rules the affairs of men and whose goodness and mercy have always followed the American people, and I know He will not turn from us now if we humbly and reverently seek His powerful aid."

                    "It is better to be defeated standing for a high principle than to run by committing subterfuge."

                    "A government for the people must depend for its success on the intelligence, the morality, the justice, and the interest of the people themselves."

                    The Grover Cleveland Library listed the following quotes that could easily apply to our day.

                    "The lessons of paternalism ought to be unlearned and the better lesson taught that while the people should patriotically and cheerfully support their Government, its functions do not include the support of the people."

                    "What is the use of being elected or reelected, unless you stand for something?"

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

                    "This vigilance on the part of the citizen, and an active interest and participation in political concerns, are the safeguards of his rights; but sluggish indifference to political privileges invites the machinations of those who wait to betray the people's trust."

                    "Parties may be so long in power, and may become so arrogant and careless of the interests of the people, as to grow heedless of their responsibility to their masters.  But the time comes, as certainly as death, when the people weigh them in the balance."

                    We could certainly use a President who thinks like Cleveland.  We need someone in the office who knows how to define and defend conservative values.  Cleveland lived and governed by conservative principles; even though his peers didn't appreciate his principles, his adherence to his principles helps to make him great. 

No comments:

Post a Comment