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Administration of Benjamin Harrison

Benjamin Harrison, the victor in the Election of 1888, was noted for his dignity, honesty, and conscientiousness, but was deficient in arousing popular opinion to support his policies. He was thus unable to check those who profits from the Spoils System, in a party largely controlled by the Sedretary of State, James G. Blaine. Harrison focused his domestic policy on strengthening protectionism through the McKinley Tariff, but then attempted to satisfy other constituencies in the Sherman Antitrust Act, the Sherman Silver Purchase Act and the Dependent Pension Act. His actions with civil service reform satisfied no one. In foreign affairs, Secretary of State James G. Blaine settled nagging problems with Britain in the Bering Sea and with Germany over Samoa. Efforts were made to promote Pan-American cooperation and to diffuse a crisis in Chile. Reciprocal Trade Treaties were negotiated to offset retaliation for high tariffs. Harrison was frustrated in an attempt to annex Hawaii. Benjamin Harrison's strong reaction to the Homestead Steel strike undercut support and contributed to his loss to Grover Cleveland in the Election of 1892. After he was defeated, Benjamin Harrison returned to private law practice.