23. Benjamin Harrison (1889-1893)

Party: Republican

Vice President – Levi P. Morton


  • Won the election of 1888 by a hair (approximately 7,000 votes)
  • Billion-Dollar Congress: under Speaker of the House Thomas B. Reed, the Democratic slight majority was compelled into legislation by Reed’s actions to get Republican issues up for debate and votes
  • Sherman Anti-Trust Act 1890 was legislation designed to break up business monopolies, especially over control of interstate trade; the law was also used to break up unions – later supplemented by the Clayton Anti-Trust Act of 1914
  • Sherman Silver Purchase Act 1890 allowed an increase in the amount of silver coinage as well as the issuing of paper currency backed by silver; largely passed to pacify silver miners, farmers, and debtors – it failed to increase the money supply and was repealed after the panic of 1893 since it had allowed the gold supply to dwindle to dangerously low levels


  • McKinley Tariff Act of 1890 boosts Federal Treasury surpluses to their highest peacetime levels up to that time
  • Dismissal of German Chancellor Bismarck by Emperor Wilhelm II over policies with Russia, Austria, and Great Britain