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Presidential Key Events

Benjamin Harrison

 

Benjamin Harrison - 03/04/1889: Republican Benjamin Harrison is inaugurated as the…
Republican Benjamin Harrison is inaugurated as the twenty-third President after losing the popular vote to Grover Cleveland. The Republicans hold small majorities in both houses of Congress, making this the first time since 1875 that Republicans control both Congress and the White House. March 04, 1889

Benjamin Harrison - 03/07/1889: The Harrison Cabinet meets for the first time. It …
The Harrison Cabinet meets for the first time. It decides against the use of an informal “Kitchen Cabinet” and criticizes the practice of “senatorial courtesy” and the spoils system. Secretary of State James G. Blaine serves as a prominent figure in Harrison's core group, campaigning heavily for American interests in Latin America and Hawaii. March 07, 1889

Benjamin Harrison - 04/29/1889: The Berlin Conference on Samoan Affairs begins, wi…
The Berlin Conference on Samoan Affairs begins, with the United States, Germany, and the United Kingdom attempting to bring peace to the troubled area. The conference will conclude with the making of a treaty, “The Final Act of the Berlin Conference on Samoan Affairs,” which declares the neutrality and nominal independence of Samoa while creating a three-power protectorate over the islands. Secretary of State Blaine handles the negotiations. April 29, 1889

Benjamin Harrison - 05/03/1889: Harrison invites Theodore Roosevelt to the White H…
Harrison invites Theodore Roosevelt to the White House and appoints him Civil Service Commissioner on May 7. Roosevelt, a reform Republican from New York, heads the department until 1895. May 03, 1889

Benjamin Harrison - 08/06/1889: Building on the work of President Arthur, Harrison…
Building on the work of President Arthur, Harrison tours New England and reveals plans for an expanded merchant marine and two-ocean Navy. Expansion of the Navy will be a distinguishing feature of Harrison's presidency. August 06, 1889 - December 13, 1901

Benjamin Harrison - 10/02/1889: Secretary of State Blaine initiates the first Pan-…
Secretary of State Blaine initiates the first Pan-American Conference, primarily to increase U.S. commercial interests in Latin America. Blaine hopes to heighten the American presence in Latin America to the detriment of Britain. October 02, 1889

Benjamin Harrison - 11/02/1889: North and South Dakota join the Union as the thirt…
North and South Dakota join the Union as the thirty-ninth and fortieth states. November 02, 1889

Benjamin Harrison - 11/08/1889: Montana becomes the forty-firs…
Montana becomes the forty-first state. November 08, 1889

Benjamin Harrison - 11/11/1889: Washington is admitted as the forty-second state. …
Washington is admitted as the forty-second state. November 11, 1889

Benjamin Harrison - 12/03/1889: Harrison sends his first message to Congress. Amon…
Harrison sends his first message to Congress. Among his recommendations are civil rights and civil service reform, naval legislation, improved conditions for railroad workers, and pensions for veterans. December 03, 1889

Benjamin Harrison - 12/04/1889: Harrison nominates David J. Brewer to the Supreme …
Harrison nominates David J. Brewer to the Supreme Court. The Senate approves the choice two weeks later. December 04, 1889

Benjamin Harrison - 06/27/1890: The Dependent Pension Bill is passed, providing be…
The Dependent Pension Bill is passed, providing benefits to Union veterans as well as to their children and widows. Former President Cleveland vetoed the same bill three years earlier. By 1907, the law will have cost the government more than a billion dollars. June 27, 1890

Benjamin Harrison - 07/02/1890: The Sherman Anti-Trust Act is enacted, forbidding …
The Sherman Anti-Trust Act is enacted, forbidding business practices that restrain trade and commerce or attempt to create monopolies. Until the presidency of Theodore Roosevelt, the government will rarely invoke the law: between the act's inception and 1901, only eighteen antitrust suits appear, with four of them coming against labor unions. July 02, 1890

Benjamin Harrison - 07/03/1890: Idaho is admitted as the forty-third sta…
Idaho is admitted as the forty-third state. July 03, 1890

Benjamin Harrison - 07/10/1890: Wyoming is admitted as the forty-fourth …
Wyoming is admitted as the forty-fourth state. July 10, 1890

Benjamin Harrison - 07/14/1890: Harrison signs into law the Sherman Silver Purchas…
Harrison signs into law the Sherman Silver Purchase Act after convincing free silver senators to compromise on the legislation. Support comes from farmers who argue that increased silver coinage will inflate the currency supply and raise prices, as well as from leaders of new western states with silver mines. The law permits the Treasury to buy 4.5 million ounces of silver each month, doubling the previous purchase amount. Nevertheless, the bill has little effect on the economy. July 14, 1890

Benjamin Harrison - 07/29/1890: Harrison sends a special message to Congress in wh…
Harrison sends a special message to Congress in which he requests legislation to ban lottery ticket sales by mail. July 29, 1890

Benjamin Harrison - 09/02/1890: Congress passes the Anti-Lottery Bill proposed by …
Congress passes the Anti-Lottery Bill proposed by John Caldwell of Ohio. It is signed into law on September 19. September 02, 1890

Benjamin Harrison - 10/01/1890: Congress passes the McKinley Tariff, introduced by…
Congress passes the McKinley Tariff, introduced by Ohio Senator William McKinley, future President of the United States. Average duties on manufactured goods are increased to 49.5 percent. It is the most controversial legislation passed during Harrison's term, greatly expanding the power of the President in foreign trade. A section of the tariff allows the President to negotiate reciprocity agreements for certain commodities. Secretary of State Blaine endorses this portion of the bill, believing it will enable Harrison to influence Latin American countries to lower rates on American exports. In June, Harrison will sign several such accordance agreements. October 01, 1890

Benjamin Harrison - 11/07/1890: The mid-term elections result in a Democratic swee…
The mid-term elections result in a Democratic sweep of the House, while in the Senate the Republican majority falls to eight. The Democratic victory reflects society's displeasure with the higher tariffs imposed by the McKinley Tariff. November 07, 1890

Benjamin Harrison - 12/29/1890: Harrison appoints Henry B. Brown to the Supreme Co…
Harrison appoints Henry B. Brown to the Supreme Court. December 29, 1890

Benjamin Harrison - 03/03/1891: Harrison signs a historic measure creating nine Ci…
Harrison signs a historic measure creating nine Circuit Courts of Appeals. The new Courts are set up to relieve the demands on the Supreme Court. March 03, 1891

Benjamin Harrison - 03/14/1891: A mob in New Orleans lynches eleven Italian immigr…
A mob in New Orleans lynches eleven Italian immigrants from Sicily, resulting in Italy severing its diplomatic ties to the United States and threatening war. Those murdered are among a group of nineteen Italian immigrants indicted for the murder of police chief David C. Hennessey. Amidst allegations of threats and bribes to the jury, all nineteen had been cleared. The incident helps usher the word “mafia” into common parlance. March 14, 1891

Benjamin Harrison - 05/06/1891: Responding to a request from the Balmaceda governm…
Responding to a request from the Balmaceda government of Chile, the United States seizes a Chilean rebel ship, the Itata, as it is carrying an arms shipment from San Diego. The rebels eventually defeat the Balmaceda government in a civil war, leading to the emergence of tense relations between the United States and Chile. May 06, 1891

Benjamin Harrison - 10/16/1891: A brawl between American sailors and Chilean natio…
A brawl between American sailors and Chilean nationals in Valparaiso, Chile, results in the deaths of two Americans and many arrests. Tensions between the United States and Chile escalate, and many fear the outbreak of war between the two nations. October 16, 1891

Benjamin Harrison - 12/09/1891: In his annual message to Congress, Harrison denoun…
In his annual message to Congress, Harrison denounces the Valparaiso attack as “savage, brutal, unprovoked.” December 09, 1891

Benjamin Harrison - 12/16/1891: Harrison nominates Stephen B. Elkins as the new se…
Harrison nominates Stephen B. Elkins as the new secretary of war. December 16, 1891

Benjamin Harrison - 01/01/1892: Harrison states that all members of his cabinet ar…
Harrison states that all members of his cabinet are in favor of war with Chile. During the first three weeks of January, Secretary of State Blaine is the only cabinet member arguing against an ultimatum. January 01, 1892 - December 13, 1901

Benjamin Harrison - 01/21/1892: The United States sends an ultimatum to …
The United States sends an ultimatum to Chile. January 21, 1892

Benjamin Harrison - 01/25/1892: In a special message to Congress, Harrison asks th…
In a special message to Congress, Harrison asks that lawmakers take “appropriate action” regarding Chile. January 25, 1892

Benjamin Harrison - 01/26/1892: Chile backs down in the conflict. Ultimately, it p…
Chile backs down in the conflict. Ultimately, it pays an indemnity of $75,000. January 26, 1892

Benjamin Harrison - 05/23/1892: Harrison decides to run for re…
Harrison decides to run for re-election; party bosses oppose him. May 23, 1892

Benjamin Harrison - 06/04/1892: Secretary of State Blaine resigns. His disagreemen…
Secretary of State Blaine resigns. His disagreements with the President have increased. Additionally, Blaine has grown increasingly ill and will die less than eight months after leaving office. June 04, 1892

Benjamin Harrison - 06/07/1892: Harrison is nominated on the first ballot at the R…
Harrison is nominated on the first ballot at the Republican National Convention in Minneapolis. Whitelaw Reid of New York is nominated as his running mate. June 07, 1892 - December 13, 1901

Benjamin Harrison - 06/23/1892: The Democrats nominate Grover Cleveland and Adlai …
The Democrats nominate Grover Cleveland and Adlai E. Stevenson. June 23, 1892

Benjamin Harrison - 07/06/1892: After being locked out over a contract dispute, st…
After being locked out over a contract dispute, steel workers at the Homestead plant (part of Carnegie Steel) in Pennsylvania fight with men from the Pinkerton Detective Agency, who have been brought in to bust the strike. Seven Pinkertons and nine workers die. Six days later, 8,000 militiamen accompany and protect the Pinkerton men. July 06, 1892

Benjamin Harrison - 07/11/1892: Silver miners at Coeur d’Alene, Idaho, go on a vio…
Silver miners at Coeur d'Alene, Idaho, go on a violent strike. Thirty men are killed as they fight non-union help. Harrison sends in federal troops to restore order. July 11, 1892

Benjamin Harrison - 07/30/1892: Harrison privately supports mediation in the Homes…
Harrison privately supports mediation in the Homestead Steel Strike and sends Whitelaw Reid as an emissary to Henry Clay Frick, the man whom Carnegie has left in charge of Homestead. This proves to be fruitless; the strike lasts five months, breaks the union, and deals a major blow to organized labor. When the strike ends on November 20, Carnegie realizes his major aim as the union is virtually destroyed. July 30, 1892

Benjamin Harrison - 10/25/1892: After suffering from tuberculosis, Harri…
After suffering from tuberculosis, Harrison's wife dies. October 25, 1892

Benjamin Harrison - 11/08/1892: Garnering 43 percent of the popular vote, Harrison…
Garnering 43 percent of the popular vote, Harrison is defeated by Grover Cleveland, who gains 46 percent in the presidential election. Cleveland receives 277 electoral votes to Harrison's 145. November 08, 1892

Benjamin Harrison - 01/17/1893: Queen Liliuokalani of Hawaii is deposed on January…
Queen Liliuokalani of Hawaii is deposed on January 17, with a provisional government being established under Sanford B. Dole. News of the revolt reaches Washington on January 29. Harrison responds by deploying 150 marines to Hawaii to protect the new government. January 17, 1893

Benjamin Harrison - 02/16/1893: Harrison sends a treaty to the Senate requesting “…
Harrison sends a treaty to the Senate requesting “full and complete” annexation of Hawaii. The Senate, intensely divided, refuses to act. February 16, 1893

Benjamin Harrison - 03/04/1893: Grover Cleveland is inaugurated as President, and …
Grover Cleveland is inaugurated as President, and Harrison returns to Indianapolis. March 04, 1893

Benjamin Harrison - Pan-American Conference Begins

On October 2, 1889, the first Pan-American Conference began in Washington, D.C. The conference was a meeting between the United States and various countries in Latin America. Its goal was to improve economic and political relations between participants.

Secretary of State James Blaine had first proposed a Pan-American Conference in 1881 during his brief tenure under President James Garfield. After Garfield's assassination and Blaine's subsequent resignation, President Chester Arthur's secretary of state, Frederick Frelinghuysen, cancelled the conference. After the cancellation, President Arthur appointed a commission to investigate the possibility of holding such a conference, and the commission's findings favored the scheduling of a new conference.

President Grover Cleveland and Secretary of State Thomas Bayard did not support the idea of a conference, but on May 10, 1888, Blaine's initial proposal was revived and the conference was scheduled. Blaine was again secretary of state when the conference took place on October 2, 1889, during the administration of President Benjamin Harrison. Harrison and Blaine hoped to reach agreements at the conference to create a customs union for free trade and establish a system for arbitration of international disputes.

Although the Pan-American Conference convened in Washington, D.C., the participants from eighteen countries quickly left the capital to tour the industrial centers of the United States. The negotiations began when the conference reconvened in Washington in November. Secretary of State Blaine did not give instructions to the U.S. delegation, making the discussions difficult. Many South and Central American nations did not trust the United States and thought the customs union was a plan unilaterally favorable to the Americans. In addition, the U.S. delegates had trouble negotiating the customs union for free trade due to the embarrassing fact that the Republican-controlled Congress was simultaneously working on legislation to strengthen tariffs.

The final agreement failed to establish the customs union; delegates instead settled for a clause that encouraged reciprocity agreements. The issue of arbitration was also not resolved because the Latin American countries viewed the U.S. proposals as a violation of sovereignty. A relatively weak system, signed by fewer than half of the delegations, was established that allowed nations to refuse any arbitration that they felt threatened independence. The conference did set up the International Bureau of American Republics, also known as the Pan-American Union, to hold additional meetings in the future. The conference ended with mixed results, and another Pan-American Conference was held in Mexico City in 1901.

October 02, 1889