THE LIZ LIBRARY PRESENTS:
This child was born in 1837 in New Jersey, the fifth of nine children. His mother was the daughter of a shoemaker, and his father was an itinerant preacher. The family moved frequently. The child was a happy-go-lucky boy who liked to play pranks as well as outdoor sports, and was particularly devoted to his mother and sisters.
When he was in his mid-teens, his father died, and he was forced to drop out of school and get a job to help support the family. Because he had been a good student, he was able to get a job as teaching assistant, but in order to take it, he had to leave home. He spent a year away doing this, and not liking it, wanting to return, but there were no jobs available in the small town in which his mother and sisters lived. Thus, after quitting, and then looking unsuccessfully for different work, he left home again, and obtained a job in a lawyer's office. This was lucky, because it enabled him to "read for the bar" -- a form of legal apprenticeship which was permitted in those days -- even though he had never even graduated from high school.
After passing the bar, he settled down to practice law in Buffalo, New York. He began gaining a reputation for being extraordinarily honest and principled. He also gained a reputation for being tough, as well as a bit eccentric and something of a character. But people really liked him.
He served for a while as the local prosecutor, then for some years as the town sheriff. While he held this office, he also acted as the town executioner, actually hanging two men!
Later he served as mayor of the city. Some time later, his popularity continuing to increase, he was elected governor of New York, bucking the powerful Tammany Hall political machine in New York City to achieve this.
And still later, he became President of the United States, winning the popular vote three times.
He was the only Democrat ever elected to the Presidency during the 19th Century Republican era known as "the Gilded Age". He was the most conservative Democrat president ever in office, supporting small government and big business. He was an ardent supporter of keeping America on the gold standard. He was the only President to serve two non-consecutive terms.
He also was the only President ever to be married while in office. He married for the first time when he was 51 years old -- to a woman who was only 24. They ultimately had five children together. His first child, who was born while he was in office, had a candy bar named after her.
He was the first President to be in the movies. He also liked to hunt, and named his favorite hunting rifle "Death and Destruction." And he was the only U.S. President who personally answered the White House telephone.
When he was a boy, his nickname was "Big Steve". Today we know him best by his middle name.
Stephen Grover Cleveland, a
boy from a "fatherless home."
* The term "fatherless" is used in this series as it is in current research and policy rhetoric by the U.S. federal government, DHHS and the National Fatherhood Initiative, most U.S. states in connection with child custody law and policy, and various family values and fatherhood interest policy and lobbying groups.
"...Just add Dad, the magic ingredient. It's hard to know where wishful thinking becomes deliberate deception. But this argument, advanced by the fathers' rights movement, is like saying that, since Mercedes Benz owners make more money than people who drive Hyundais, you will become wealthy if you buy a Mercedes..." Mike Peterson
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