I N 1885 Arthur's term of office came to an end, and Grover Cleveland became President. He was the son of a clergyman, and it was intended that he should have a college education. But his father died when he was only sixteen, and he had to begin at once to earn his own living.
Grover Cleveland, however, determined to be a lawyer, and with twenty-five dollars in his pocket he set out from home to seek his fortune. He did two or three odd jobs by the way, but soon got a place as clerk in a lawyer's office in Buffalo.
His foot was thus on the first rung of the ladder which he wished to climb. And he climbed steadily, until twenty-six years later he was chosen Mayor of Buffalo. As Mayor he soon made a name for himself by his fearless honesty and businesslike ways. He would not permit unlawful or unwise spending of public money, and he stopped so many extravagant acts of the council that he became known as the "Veto Mayor," and he saved the town taxpayers thousands of dollars a year.
Next he became Governor of New York State. As Governor he continued his same fearless path, vetoing everything which he considered dishonest or in any way harmful.
And as President, Cleveland was just as fearless and honest as before. During the four years of his presidency he used his power of veto more than three hundred times.
As one would expect from such a man Cleveland stood firm on the question of civil service reform. "The people pay for the government," he said, "and it is only right that government work should be well done. Posts should be given to those who are fit to fill them, and not merely to those who have friends to push them into notice."
President Cleveland also tried to get the tariffs on imported goods reduced. He discovered that there was more money in the treasury than the country required. During the war, duties had been made high because the Government required a great deal of money. But after the war was over, and there was no need for so much money these high duties had still been kept on. The consequence was that millions of dollars were being heaped up in the Treasury, and were lying idle. The president therefore thought that the tariffs should be reduced, and he said so. But there were so many people in the country who thought that a high tariff was good that, when in the next presidency, a new tariff bill was introduced, the duties were made higher than ever.
In 1889 President Cleveland's presidency came to an end, and Benjamin Harrison became President. He was the grandson of that William Henry Harrison who died after he had been President for a few weeks.
During President Harrison's term of office six new states were admitted into the Union. The two first of these were North and South Dakota, the name in Indian meaning "allies." It was the name the allied North-Western tribes gave themselves. But their neighbours called them Nadowaysioux, which means "enemies." The white people, however, shortened it to Sioux, and North Dakota is sometimes called the Sioux State.
Both North and South Dakota were formed out of the Louisiana Purchase. In 1861 they had been organised as the territory of Dakota. Seventeen years or so later they were divided into North and South Dakota and were admitted as states in November, 1889.
Two or three days later Montana was admitted. This state was formed partly out of the Louisiana Purchase, and partly out of the Oregon country. The Rocky Mountains cross the state, and its name comes from a Spanish word meaning "mountainous."
After Lewis and Clark explored the country many fur traders were attracted to it. But it was not until gold was discovered there that settlers came in large numbers. In spite of terrible trouble with the Indians, and much war and bloodshed, year by year the settlers increased, and in 1889 the territory was admitted as a state.
A few days after Montana the State of Washington was admitted to the Union. It was part of the Oregon country, and was of course named after the great "Father of his country," George Washington.
In the following year Idaho became a state. Its name is Indian, meaning "gem of the mountains." This state, like Washington, was formed out of the Oregon country. The first white men who are known to have passed through it were Lewis and Clark. But, as in Montana, it was not until gold was discovered that settlers in any great numbers were attracted there. One very interesting thing about Idaho is that it was the second state to introduce women's suffrage. That is, women within the state have the same right of voting as men.
But the first state to introduce women's suffrage was Wyoming, which was admitted to the Union a few days after Idaho. This state was formed out of parts of all three of the great territories which had been added to the United States. The east was part of the Louisiana Purchase, the west was part of the Oregon country, and the south part of the Mexican cession. It has much fine pasture land and its Indian name means "broad valley."
In 1893 Harrison's term of office came to an end, and for the second time Grover Cleveland was elected President. This is the only time in the history of the United States that an ex-President has again come to office after an interval of years.
Four hundred years had now passed since Columbus discovered America, and it was decided to celebrate the occasion by holding a great World's Fair at Chicago. It was not possible, however, to get everything ready in time to hold the celebration in 1892, which was the actual anniversary, so the exhibition was opened the following year instead.
There had been other exhibitions in America of the same kind, but none so splendid as the Columbian Fair. It was fitting that it should be splendid, as it commemorated the first act in the life of a great nation. In these four hundred years what wonders had been performed! Since Columbus first showed the way across the Sea of Darkness millions had followed in his track, and the vast wilderness of the unknown continent had been people from shore to shore.
Millions of people from all over the world came to visit the White city as it came to be called; and men of every nation wandered through its stately halls, and among its fair lawns and gardens where things of art and beauty were gathered from every clime.
But most interesting of all were the exhibits which showed the progress that had been made in these four hundred years.
There one might see copies of the frail little vessels in which
Columbus braved the unknown horrors of the Sea
of Darkness, as well
as models of the ocean going leviathans of
During Cleveland's second term of office still another state entered the Union. This was Utah, the state founded by the Mormons. Polygamy being forbidden, it was admitted in 1896 as the forty-fifth state.