Grandson of former President William Henry Harrison, Benjamin Harrison was born in 1833 on a farm near Cincinnati, Ohio. He studied law in Ohio and later practiced law in Indiana.
After he served as a colonel during the Civil War, Harrison returned to law. The 1880s found him in the U.S. Senate, where he took a special interest in American Indians, homesteaders, and Civil War veterans.
Harrison ran for President in 1888. Although he received 100,000 fewer popular votes than President Cleveland, he carried the Electoral College vote of 233 to 168 and entered the White House.
President Harrison supported the first meeting of the Pan American Congress, which strengthened relations between countries in the Americas. The information center it established later became the Pan American Union. He also authorized the nation's first commemorative coins, produced by the United States Mint: 5 million souvenir half dollars for the World's Columbian Exposition.
At the end of his administration, Harrison submitted a treaty to the Senate to annex Hawaii, but his successor (Cleveland) withdrew the treaty. He also signed important bills to fund national improvements, naval expansion, and subsidies for steamship lines. The first federal attempt to regulate trusts was the Sherman Anti-Trust Act, designed "to protect trade and commerce against unlawful restraints and monopolies."
He was re-nominated by his party in 1892 but lost to Grover Cleveland, who became the only President in U.S. history to serve two non-consecutive terms in office. (That makes Harrison the only President whose predecessor was the same as his successor!) Harrison died in 1901.
Back to Presidential $1 Coin Program