BOARDS OF CEDAR…”
“I’ve got every degree in the Masons that there is.”—
Harry S Truman, thirty-third President of the United States
Mrs. Frances Cleveland had supreme confidence in the political abilities of her husband, the twenty-second president, Grover Cleveland. Indeed so much, that, in the aftermath of Cleveland’s defeat in the election of 1888, she instructed the White House staff to take good care of the ornaments and furniture, “for we are coming back just four years from today”. Mrs. Cleveland’s optimism and ability to predict the future was fortuitous, for the incoming administration—that of twenty-third President Benjamin Harrison—was doomed to go down in American history as a monumental non-event. Four years on, and frustrated beyond measure, the people were again looking for change, and a canny Democratic party was astute enough to re-nominate Cleveland, who returned triumphant to 1600 Pennsylvania Avenue at the following election.
Of course, there was nothing particularly odd about Grover Cleveland’s political comeback, taking place as it did in a mature democracy like America. As the first Democratic candidate to be elected to the Presidency since the Civil War, Cleveland had worked to distinguish himself during his first term especially as an opponent of political corruption,