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Grover Cleveland and the Democrats Who Saved Conservatism
The American Conservative ^ | 08-28-2019 | Daniel Bring

Posted on 08/28/2019 11:13:49 AM PDT by NRx

Known at the moment for its full-throated acceptance of socialism, it’s worth noting that the Democratic Party once represented the most conservative elements of American politics. The memory of those long-gone Democrats can serve conservatives very well at a moment when it seems like everything is up in the air.

From 1861 to 1913, only one Democrat, Grover Cleveland, took office as president of the United States. Best known for his non-consecutive terms (1885 to 1889 and 1893 to 1897), Cleveland was a staunch conservative and an honest man who punctuated all those years of radical Republican rule. During a period of unprecedented political corruption, his success was unlikely. Yet his political and personal virtues were a product of the group of conservative Democrats he led and from which he originated.

The erstwhile governor of New York, Cleveland was the most successful member of a cohort, dubbed the “Bourbon Democrats” by their Republican enemies. The critics intended the name to suggest Southern sympathies and counter-revolutionary pieties. The Bourbons were a curious coalition of New Yorkers and Southerners. They saved the Democratic Party—and American conservatism—in the years immediately after the Civil War. Defenders of states’ rights, republican liberty, and economic temperance, they opposed military Reconstruction, direct democracy, and redistributive measures.

Unsurprisingly, they have been slandered as reactionary racists for their opposition to plans like those of Grant and Sherman to transform the South. The Bourbons were the reputed heirs to the notorious “Doughfaces,” those Northern Democrats like Buchanan and Pierce who tried to be judicious in handling the sectional crises of the 1840s and ‘50s. Despite all this maligning, they were remarkably successful at winning the support of voters and protecting the tradition of American conservatism in what Kirk might have called a “rear guard action.”

(Excerpt) Read more at ...

TOPICS: History
KEYWORDS: grovercleveland; nonsense; revisionism; vetoking
Not a fan at all of Pierce or Buchanan, but otherwise this is a good read.
1 posted on 08/28/2019 11:13:49 AM PDT by NRx
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To: NRx
Some Bourbons were anti-racist. It was the socialist Populists who were Racists in the South. In the 1870s and 1880s, Blacks some rights in the south.
2 posted on 08/28/2019 11:35:06 AM PDT by cowboyusa (America Cowboy Up)
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To: NRx
Cleveland had more popular votes than Benjamin Harrison in 1888, but Harrison had more electoral votes. In 1884 Cleveland won by carrying New York state very narrowly, after a prominent supporter of James Blaine denounced the Democrats as the party of "rum, Romanism and rebellion," offending Catholics who might otherwise have voted for Blaine...or so the usual explanation goes. It could be that ballot-stuffing in New York City made the difference in the outcome.

I had a great-uncle, born in 1885, whose middle name was Cleveland. His father was a Democrat.

3 posted on 08/28/2019 12:04:56 PM PDT by Verginius Rufus
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To: NRx

Good general background on Cleveland...

4 posted on 08/28/2019 12:17:23 PM PDT by NRx (A man of honor passes his father's civilization to his son without surrendering it to strangers.)
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To: NRx

In November 1882, Cleveland was mayor of Buffalo. In March of 1885, he was President of the United State. In between, he was Governor of New York. Compare THAT to the trajectory of YOUR career.

5 posted on 08/28/2019 12:21:06 PM PDT by fhayek
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To: Verginius Rufus

As many of you probably know, there was a big league pitcher by the name of Grover Cleveland Alexander. Born in 1887. Hall of Famer. He has the unique distinction of being the only person who was named after one president, and played by another (future) president in a movie. Now, THERE’S a record that will never be broken.

6 posted on 08/28/2019 12:36:23 PM PDT by fhayek
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To: Verginius Rufus
Yup. Besides the "Rum, Romanism & Rebellion" soundbite from the campaign, there were:

Blaine! Blaine! James G. Blaine.
The Continental Liar from the State of Maine!

And ......

Maw! Maw! Where's my Paw?
Gone to the White House! Haw haw haw!

The latter referred to Grover's fathering a child out of wedlock.

Jingles were a very important part of political campaigns back around this time - when my grandparents were born. Some would be set to a tune and published as single pages of sheet music, with little artistic embellishments around the edges.

The R R & R quote wasn't really a jingle. It was one line in a longwinded bloviation by one of the after-dinner speakers at a NYC fundraiser. Blaine & the other Republicans had had their brains so thoroughly numbed by the boring speech that they didn't hear the slur on Catholics, or else they would have certainly repudiated it right there, as they knew how important Catholic sensitivities were to keeping NY State in the GOP column to counteract the Solid South. But a member of the MSM ("newspaper reporter" in those days) was listening intently for anything that might be used to bring down the GOP. And he certainly found it. Huge headlines everywhere the next day.

7 posted on 08/28/2019 1:11:22 PM PDT by CardCarryingMember.VastRightWC ("Blessed are the young, for they shall inherit the national debt" - Pr. Herbert Hoover)
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To: fhayek

He was also the only president to have ever personally hanged two convicted murderers. As sheriff of Buffalo, he could have delegated the task, but chose not to do so in order to set an example of duty.

8 posted on 08/28/2019 2:08:10 PM PDT by Vigilanteman (The politicized state destroys aspects of civil society, human kindness and private charity.)
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To: CardCarryingMember.VastRightWC
A cartoon from 1884 shows a young woman holding the baby (supposed to be Grover's child) but I think the child was then about 10 years old. Apparently she was an alcoholic and had had affairs with several men so it wasn't clear who the real father was, but Grover was the only one who was single so he assumed responsibility. It would be interesting if someone could track down a descendant of the child and do a DNA test to determine if Grover was really the biological father.

Grover Cleveland was still a bachelor when he was elected but married during his first term. Supposedly the Baby Ruth candy bar was named in honor of his daughter Ruth.

9 posted on 08/28/2019 2:43:01 PM PDT by Verginius Rufus
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To: Vigilanteman

Good for him!

10 posted on 08/28/2019 3:02:49 PM PDT by YogicCowboy ("I am not entirely on anyone's side, because no one is entirely on mine." - J. R. R. Tolkien)
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