Out of all the different Presidents that have served the United States over the years, Grover Cleveland is one of the names that typically stands out with others like Washington, Lincoln, or Kennedy. He is the only POTUS to have served two terms as President, but not in consecutive order. That’s right – he’s officially known as the 22nd and the 24th Presidents. He won in 1884 and 1892. After failing to secure a fourth nomination in 1986, he decided to retire from politics. Here are 5 more interesting facts about this man who stands alone in American history.
1. His Name Isn’t Actually Grover
Grover Cleveland’s first name is actually Stephen. No one really knows why he started calling himself Grover instead. There is some speculation that he didn’t like the idea that his first and last names kind of rhymed. There’s also the fact that he was a rather large fellow. If he went by Grover, then “Big Grover” didn’t sound as good as “Big Steve.” He weighed over 250 pounds and is only eclipsed by William Taft as the heaviest President to serve.
2. He’s Considered the Unhealthiest President of All
Grover loved himself some vices. His two favorite things to do, in fact, were to drink beer and smoke cigars. He wasn’t afraid of a little controversy either. When Republicans accused Grover of being the father of an illegitimate child, he basically just shrugged his shoulders. “Yeah – it could have been me,” he was reported to have said. Grover also admitted that his partner in the law office could also be the father. Because of his honesty, the GOP scandal that was brewing died an early death.
3. One Vote Really Does Matter
Although no Presidential election has ever been decided by just one vote, before the hanging chads of Florida in the 2000 elections, Cleveland had the narrowest margin of victory for a President without having the election results thrown into Congress. In his first successful bid for President, the state of New York came through for him with a 1,200 vote margin and it ended up being the swing state in the electoral college as well.
4. Those Crazy Third Party Independents
Grover Cleveland is one of those Presidents who benefited from a well-run third party campaign and for his second term in office, it gave him an electoral college landslide. The Populist Party in that election got 8% of the vote, so Cleveland won the overall election by over 130 points in the Electoral College. If the 8% of the vote hadn’t been there, it’s a good chance that the election would have actually been a dead heat.
5. Blame It On the Depression
Like a few other Presidents, Cleveland’s legacy wound up being the economic climate of the country during his second term in office. A depression his in 1893 and drove tens of thousands of workers out of their job. It became the point of emphasis in the second term and not only wound up driving Cleveland into retirement, but caused the entire Democratic party to fall out of power rather quickly.
Grover Cleveland may have been an average President according to history, but his non-consecutive double term still stands strong in the eyes of history. Because of that, he will never be forgotten.