Front Matter The Beginning of the U.S Franklin's Return Troubles After the War The Constitution The First President Washington's Troubles A Wonderful Invention Death of Washington The U.S. Buys Land War With African Pirates Death of Somers The First Steamboat The Gerrymander The War of 1812 "Don't Give Up the Ship" The Star-Spangled Banner Clinton's "Big Ditch" More Land Bought Jackson Stories Jackson's Presidency New Inventions Whitman's Ride The Mormons The First Telegraph The Mexican War The Slavery Quarrel Daniel Webster's Youth Webster's Speeches Early Times in California Discovery of El Dorado Rush to California The Underground Railroad The First World's Fair John Brown's Raid Lincoln's Youth The First Shot The Call to Arms The President's Decision Admiral Farragut The Monitor and Merrimac The Penninsular Campaign Barbara Frietchie Lincoln's Vow The Battle of Gettysburg The Taking of Vicksburg Riots, Raids, and Battles The Burning of Atlanta The March to the Sea Sheridan's Ride The Doings of the Fleet Lee's Surrender Decoration Day Lincoln Stories Lincoln's Rebukes A President's Son A Noble Southerner Hard Times in the South The Atlantic Cable Best Way to Settle Quarrels Our One Hundredth Birthday Gold for Greenbacks A Clever Engineer Death of Garfield The Celebration at Yorktown The Great Statue A Terrible Flood Lynch Law The Great White City The Explosion of the Maine The Battle of Manila Hobson's Brave Deed Surrender of Santiago The Hawaiian Islands The Annexation of Hawaii The Philippine War Assassination of McKinley The Panama Canal Roosevelt's Administration Two Presidents German Views The World War Since the World War

Story of the Great Republic - Helene Guerber

The Great Statue

In 1885, Grover Cleveland became the twenty-second President of the United States. He was the first Democratic President seen in the White House for twenty-four years. Even some Republicans voted for him in preference to Blaine, their own candidate, because they knew he would uphold the civil-service reform.

Cleveland, the son of a minister, was left alone at sixteen, without any money at all. But he was strong and very ambitious, and studied so hard in his leisure moments that he became a successful lawyer.

He practiced in Buffalo, took an interest in politics, and after being governor of New York, became President of the United States. Shortly after his inauguration, people were greatly interested to hear that he was engaged to a young lady noted for her charming manners and kind heart. Their marriage took place in the Blue Room, in the White House, and although there had been eight weddings there before, this one was considered the grandest of all, because the President himself was the bridegroom. When he and Mrs. Cleveland came home from their wedding trip, the bride was "the first lady of the land," and soon won the hearts of all who saw her.

The year after Cleveland's inauguration is known as "Strike Year," because many laboring men, who had joined a union called the "Knights of Labor," refused to work unless they received more pay and had shorter hours. Although the strike began in New York, it soon spread all over the country, north and south.

In some places, the men grew so excited that there were riots, and the troops had to be called out to suppress them. The worst disturbance of all, however, was at Chicago, where some anarchists—men who wanted to overthrow all the laws—not only excited the people, but threw a dynamite bomb when the police came to scatter them.

Several men were killed and wounded, and as pistol shots were heard in the mob, the police had to resort to force. Many of the strikers were killed, and others were seized, tried, and punished. But when the Chicago workmen found out later that their ringleaders were foreigners who wanted to upset all laws, they ceased to listen to them.

[Illustration] from Story of the Great Republic by Helene Guerber


The strikes were hardly ended when a terrible earthquake occurred, which extended from Florida to Cape Cod. At Charleston the earth heaved so violently that tall buildings were shaken down like toy houses. Many people were crushed in the ruins, while the rest fled for their lives to the open fields and squares, where they knelt in prayer while the earth shook beneath them.

There were several distinct shocks, and when all was over, many of the buildings in the city lay in ruins. All hearts were touched by the news of this calamity, and as soon as telegraph wires were up again, and trains could run into the city, help was sent from all parts of the country.

While Cleveland was President, our nation received, as a present from France, Bartholdi's statue of "Liberty Enlightening the World." It is one of the largest statues ever made, and represents a woman holding aloft a lighted torch. The torch is more than three hundred feet above the water. It is reached by a staircase built inside of the statue.

Sent over from France in sections, this statue was set up on Bedloes Island, in New York Bay, where a pedestal was prepared for it. Many people now go out to see this wonderful statue, and, after climbing up the stairs, stand near the windows set all around the statue's crown, and watch the ships pass to and fro in the harbor.

Among the laws passed during Cleveland's rule is one forbidding the Chinese emigrants to come into our country. Laws had already been made to stop their coming over in large numbers, but they were not well kept. The Americans did not want any Chinamen in the country, because those who came over here merely wanted to earn as much money as they could to carry back to China. They did not try to learn English, would not wear ordinary clothes, and had no wish ever to become American citizens. Besides, they worked for such small wages that they took work away from Americans. Most of them knew nothing of American laws or Christian religion, so they were greatly disliked, and one California politician hated them so that he began and ended every one of his speeches with the words: "The Chinese must go!"

It was while Cleveland was President that Congress began to carry out the plan made by Secretary Whitney of the navy. He said that our ships had long been out of date, and that we ought to have a better navy. Since then many fine war ships have been built, and we now have a fleet of some of the strongest war vessels in the world.

Another important engineering event took place while Cleveland was President. This was the blasting of a great rock which had caused many a shipwreck in the part of the East River, in New York city, called Hell Gate. Engineer Newton tunneled this rock, and arranged dynamite and electric wires in such a clever way that when his baby daughter touched an electric button, the whole rock was blown to pieces. This made the passage safe for ships of all kinds, and put an end to sad accidents on that spot.

After making his grand tour of the world, Grant, ex-President of the United States, invested his money in business. Unfortunately for him, business was something which he did not understand, and as his partner proved dishonest, Grant suddenly found himself almost penniless. To earn money for his family, he now accepted an offer for writing his "Memoirs," and worked hard to finish them, although he soon became very ill. Before long his sufferings grew intense, and the doctors found that he had a cancer in his throat, caused, we are told, by too much smoking.

Grant was then taken to Mount McGregor, near Saratoga, N. Y., where the "Silent Man" wrote on and on, finishing his "Memoirs "only four days before his death. As he traced the last words, he sighed, "I am ready," for he felt that he had now finished life as well as his book. The last words he ever penned were for his wife, and that letter was found in his pocket when he had breathed his last.

After a private funeral at Mount McGregor, Grant's body was taken to New York, where it lay in state in the City Hall. Thence it was solemnly escorted by General Hancock and part of the Grand Army of the Republic to Riverside Drive, and laid in a plain brick tomb until a marble tomb could be built to receive it.

Grant's tomb


The funeral procession was eight miles long, and in it were seen the President, his Cabinet, and all the noted men who could be present. Veterans of the Civil and Mexican wars also took part in it, as well as other soldiers and sailors. That funeral showed that Grant's last and greatest wish, "Let us have peace," was granted, for among those present were many gallant Southerners, such as Johnston, Buckner, Hampton, and Fitzhugh Lee. In 1897, twelve years after Grant's death, his tomb was finished. At its dedication there was a procession even more imposing than the first; and many people daily visit the place where this great American rests in peace.