Miller Center

American President

A Reference Resource

Daniel Manning (1885–1887): Secretary of the Treasury

Born to a modest family in Albany, New York, Daniel Manning dropped out of school at age eleven to support his family, gaining employment as a page in the state assembly. Manning worked his way up to stenographer and moved on to become a political reporter for Albany newspapers and the Associated Press.

Manning’s success as a writer, editor, and business manager led him to assume part ownership and become president of the Albany Argus in 1873. That same year, he was named president of the National Commercial Bank in Albany. A close friend of Governor Samuel Tilden, Manning served in the Democratic state leadership of New York and opposed the corrupt power of New York City’s Tammany Hall.

On Tilden’s request, President Grover Cleveland named Manning his secretary of the treasury in 1885, a selection that raised many eyebrows. Despite criticism of his nomination, Manning soon became one of Cleveland’s most trusted and skilled advisors. Fiscally conservative, he worked hard to preserve the Treasury’s cash surplus and increase its reserves of gold; he also pushed Cleveland toward a policy of tariff reduction.

The work strained Manning physically, however, and he resigned after an aneurysm on May 31, 1887. Manning died of heart disease that winter in New York City.