President Grover Cleveland a Corporate Puppet?

“No harm shall come to any business interest as the result of administrative policy so long as I am President … a transfer of executive control from one party to another does not mean any serious disturbance of existing conditions.” (Grover Cleveland, Chapter 11)

President Cleveland was a democrat presidential candidate in 1884, he ran against republicans candidate, James Blaine. Common perception throughout the country during the presidential campaign was that the Cleveland would stand against the big corporations and provide relief for the small and new businesses. However, after being elected, Cleveland was seen surrounded by big businesses and their interests to keep the poor and rioting rebels under control. He personally assured the industrialist and corporates that the government during his presidency won’t make any such policies that would contradict their interests.

He used every opportunity to help big business and completely neglected the needs for the rest. Howard zinn gives an example of 1887 when Cleveland vetoed a relief bill of $100,000 for the Texas farmers who were suffering from drought but later on during the same year he used his gold surplus to pay off wealthy bondholders at $28 above the $100 value of each bond-a gift of $45 million. Cleveland appointed his chief adviser William Whitney as Secretary of the Navy. William started to work on “steel navy” and started to buy steel from Carnegie’s plants at scandalously inflated prices. What Howard Zinn is trying to assert is that Cleveland was truly a corporate puppet, who served the industrialist with all his will. While neglecting small business, such as farmers in Texas who were not able to buy grains and seeds due to drought that had taken over their lands.