Sample Term Paper

Words 2,300


Benjamin Harrison was born in 1833 in North Bend, Ohio, to a prominent family that had a legacy of political activism. He was tutored at home and read widely on his own, and he would always be more comfortable in the company of books than with other people. Over time, he developed an effective public speaking style, and he was popular among Civil War veterans because of his service as a Union general. Privately, however, Harrison was a frigid character, so stiff and aloof that he was sometimes referred to as “the human iceberg.”

Political and Military Activism

As a young lawyer, Harrison quickly became involved in the affairs of the new Republican Party, supporting its first presidential candidate, General John C. Fremont in 1856 and working for Abraham Lincoln in 1860. Following the war, Harrison turned to political life. In 1880, he became a part of the United States Senate by the Indiana state. In the Senate, he championed pensions for Civil War veterans, high protective tariffs, a modernized navy, and conservation of western lands — all issues that he would uphold as President. He also broke with his party to oppose an act designed to close America to Chinese immigrants. The Chinese Exclusion Act passed without his support. (Copeland, 1994)

In 1888, Harrison declared himself a “rejuvenated Republican,” and announced his candidacy for the party’s presidential nomination. After the elections, when the votes were tallied, Cleveland had received the larger number of popular votes, but Harrison had carried the Electoral College, thus giving Harrison the victory in the 1888 election.

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