Harrison, Benjamin, 1833–1901, 23d President of the United States (1889–93), b. North Bend, Ohio, grad. Miami Univ. (Ohio), 1852; grandson of William Henry Harrison. After reading law in Cincinnati, he moved (1854) to Indianapolis, where he was a lawyer and politician. He served in the Civil War as commander of an Indiana volunteer regiment and in 1865 was brevetted brigadier general of volunteers. A well-established corporation lawyer, he was (1881–87) a member of the U.S. Senate as a Republican but was defeated for reelection. The Republicans chose him (1888) as presidential candidate against Grover Cleveland, and he was elected in the electoral college, though Cleveland had the larger popular vote. Harrison as President approved all regular Republican measures, including the highly protective McKinley Tariff Act. His equivocal stand on civil service reform displeased both reformers and spoilsmen. The first Pan-American Conference was held (1889) in his administration. Defeated for reelection in 1892 by Cleveland, Harrison returned to his Indianapolis law practice. He later represented Venezuela in the Venezuela Boundary Dispute. Harrison wrote This Country of Ours (1897) and Views of an Ex-President (1901).
See his public papers and addresses (1893, repr. 1969); biography by H. J. Sievers (3 vol., 1952–68).