10 Interesting Facts About Benjamin Harrison

10. A President’s grandson

Benjamin Harrison was the grandson of  President William Henry Harrison, the 9th President of the United States. Benjamin was seven years old when his grandfather was elected president.

9. First electricity in the White House

Harrison was the first president to use electricity in the White House, installed by Edison General Electric Company. However, he and his wife would not touch the light switches for fear of being electrocuted and often went to bed with the lights left on.

8. Harrison was a big talker

Once, over a period of thirty days, Harrison made 140 completely different speeches.

7. Indiana roots

Benjamin Harrison was the first and only president from Indiana.

6. Harrison had ice in his veins

Harrison was known by some as the “human iceberg” because he was often very formal and stiff when dealing with people.

5. Harrison shuffled the deck

On November 2, 1889, President Harrison signed the proclamations admitting North and South Dakota to the Union. Due to a rivalry which existed between the two states, Harrison ordered the papers to be shuffled and for the names to be hidden from him while signing so there would be no argument over which he signed first. We don’t actually know which one was signed first because it was never recorded. However, since North Dakota is before South Dakota alphabetically, its proclamation was printed first in the Statutes At Large, thus North Dakota has always been considered the 39th state.

4. Harrison lost the popular vote

In the Election of 1888, Harrison lost the popular vote by 90,000 votes but won in the Electoral College by a margin of 233 to 168, giving him the presidency.

3. Billion dollar Congress

During Harrison’s administration, Congress appropriated $1 billion in annual spending for the first time.

2. A unique voice

Harrison was the first president known to have his voice preserved. In 1889, a thirty-six second speech was recorded on a wax phonograph cylinder.

1. The first President to lose to a former President

Benjamin Harrison defeated the incumbent President Grover Cleveland in the election of 1888. However, in his bid for re-election in 1892, Harrison was defeated by Cleveland making it the only time an incumbent president was defeated by a former president.

The Election of 1892 also gave us another first. It was the first time no candidate campaigned in a presidential election. Neither Harrison nor Cleveland actively campaigned, relying on surrogates instead.

6 thoughts on “10 Interesting Facts About Benjamin Harrison”

    1. In 2016, Donald Trump became the fourth U.S. president elected while winning a majority of electoral votes but having lost the popular vote. In 1824, John Quincy Adams was elected president despite not winning either the electoral vote or popular vote. Andrew Jackson won both but neither candidate reached the majority of electoral votes and the election was decided by the House of Representatives, which voted for Adams. Counting Adams, that makes a total of five presidents elected without winning the popular vote.

  1. I am sorry but you are mistaken about this president. It was Rutherford B. Hayes who won the presidency without the popular vote. That happened in 1979. Hayes promised some southern states that had not committed their electors the end of reconstruction which meant the removal of occupying troops from southern states and those states, South Carolina, Florida and another gave him their electors and Samuel Tilden who won the popular vote was defeated.

    1. There have been a total of five U.S. presidents elected without winning the popular vote including John Adams, Rutherford Hayes, Benjamin Harrison, George W. Bush and Donald Trump, so the article is correct about President Harrison losing the popular vote. By the way, Rutherford B. Hayes was elected in 1876, not 1979.

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