Daily Tidbits 3/18 – Grover Cleveland

On 3/18/1837 Grover Cleveland was born.  Cleveland was the 22nd and 24th President of the United States.  As seen in the study on the names of the Presidents, Cleveland’s name is speaking of Jacob becoming Israel.

His full name was Stephen Grover Cleveland.

Stephen comes from the Greek Στεφανος ‘Stephanos’ meaning a crown.

Grover comes from the Old English ‘graf’ which means a grove of trees. In Hebrew a grove is אשרה ‘asherah’ which comes from the root אשר ‘asher’ which means upright.  This is also the root of ישרון ‘yeshurun’ the ‘pet’ name of Israel.

Isa 44:2  So says Jehovah, who made you and formed you from the womb. He helps you. Do not fear, My servant Jacob; and you, Jeshurun whom I have elected.

Cleveland comes from the Old English meaning ‘hilly land.’  The land of Israel is described as a “Hilly land” (Deuteronomy 8:7; 11:11).

Grover Cleveland’s first Presidency is a picture of Jacob wrestling with The Man, becoming Israel, the prince who rules with God.

Grover Cleveland’s second term is speaking of Jacob’s time in the land of Canaan and being protected by God’s fear upon the inhabitants of the land.

In a letter accepting his nomination to run for president in 1884, Cleveland promised to rely “upon the favor and support of the Supreme Being Who, I believe, will always bless honest human endeavor in the conscientious discharge of public duty.”

Biographer Allan Nevins wrote: “in Grover Cleveland the greatness lies in typical rather than unusual qualities. He had no endowments that thousands of men do not have. He possessed honesty, courage, firmness, independence, and common sense. But he possessed them to a degree other men do not.”

Cleveland was known for his honesty and uprightness, depicted in his last name Grover which comes from אשר  ‘asher.’  אשר ‘asher’ means upright, or honest.

In Greek the word for honesty is καλός ‘kalos’ which means honesty, beauty, goodness and honor.  There are some interesting connections between the usage of this word in Scripture and the Presidency and life of Grover Cleveland.

1Ti 1:8  But we know that the law is good {καλός ‘kalos’}, if a man use it lawfully;
Before becoming president, Cleveland was a lawyer and then sheriff, the connection here to the law is obvious.

Joh 10:14  I am the good {καλός ‘kalos’} shepherd, and know my sheep, and am known of mine.

A shepherd is one who leads and protects, in English the word governor, of which Cleveland was in New York, has the same meaning.  The English word ‘governor’ comes from the Old French ‘governeor’ which meas to direct, or steer and guide as well as protect.  Cleveland was also known as the ‘guardian President’ because he helped to balance the power of the executive and legislative branches.  He vetoed any legislation passed by Congress which he saw as unconstitutional which caused him to also be called the ‘veto president.’

Rom 12:17  Recompense to no man evil for evil. Provide things honest {καλός ‘kalos’} in the sight of all men.
Rom 12:18  If it be possible, as much as lieth in you, live peaceably with all men.

In Romans 12 there is a connection between honesty and living at peace with other men.  Grover Cleveland held to a strict interpretation of the founders of non-interventionism when it comes to other nations.   He said America should “never get caught up in conflict with any foreign state unless attacked or otherwise provoked.”

Jas 2:7  Do not they blaspheme that worthy {καλός ‘kalos’} name by the which ye are called?

This portion of Scripture links to Grover Cleveland’s political stance as a Libertarian.  He is described as the last libertarian President.  Libertarianism is summed up in the words of Messiah ‘do unto others as you would have them do unto you’ (Matthew 7:12).

Jas 2:8  If ye fulfil the royal law according to the scripture, Thou shalt love thy neighbour as thyself, ye do well:
Jas 2:12  So speak ye, and so do, as they that shall be judged by the law of liberty.

Gal 6:9  And let us not be weary in well doing {καλός ‘kalos’}: for in due season we shall reap, if we faint not.

This verse sums up the life of Grover Cleveland who strove to do that which was right and honest throughout his days.

“I have quite often, lately, found myself longing for the rest of idleness, and and the peace of inactivity; and I have sometimes even given entrance to the thought that these were my due. But you have written words to me that will help me to constantly appreciate the fact that God who has blessed me above all other men, and directed all my ways, deserves my service, and every good cause deserves my best endeavour, as long as my life and strength shall last.

“I know as no one else can know my limitations, and how fixed and inexorable they are . . . but I shall trust God, as I have in the past, for strength and opportunity for further usefulness.” — {Letter to Rev. Wilton Merle Smith, D.D., 21 March 1906}

First Inaugural Address Wednesday, March 4, 1885

“And let us not trust to human effort alone, but humbly acknowledging the power and goodness of Almighty God, who presides over the destiny of nations, and who has at all times been revealed in our country’s history, let us invoke His aid and His blessings upon our labors.”  First Inaugural Address

“Above all, I know there is a Supreme Being who rules the affairs of men and whose goodness and mercy have always followed the American people, and I know He will not turn from us now if we humbly and reverently seek His powerful aid.”  {Second Inaugural Address – Saturday, March 4, 1893}

The American people have always abundant cause to be thankful to Almighty God, whose watchful care and guiding hand have been manifested in every stage of their national life, guarding and protecting them in time of peril and safety leading them in the hour of darkness and of danger.

It is fitting and proper that a nation thus favored should on one day in every year, for that purpose especially appointed, publicly acknowledge the goodness of God and return thanks to Him for all His gracious gifts.

Therefore, I, Grover Cleveland, President of the United States of America, do hereby designate and set apart Thursday, the 26th day of November instant, as a day of public thanksgiving and prayer, and do invoke the observance of the same by all the people of the land.

On that day let all secular business be suspended, and let the people assemble in their usual places of worship and with prayer and songs of praise devoutly testify their gratitude to the Giver of Every Good and Perfect Gift for all that He has done for us in the year that has passed; for our preservation as a united nation and for our deliverance from the shock and danger of political convulsion; for the blessings of peace and for our safety and quiet while wars and rumors of war have agitated and afflicted other nations of the earth; for our security against the scourge of pestilence, which in other lands has claimed its dead by thousands and filled the streets with mourners; for plenteous crops which reward the labor of the husbandman and increase our nation’s wealth, and for the contentment throughout our borders which follows in the train of prosperity and abundance.

And let there also be on the day thus set apart a reunion of families, sanctified and chastened by tender memories and associations; and let the social intercourse of friends, with pleasant reminiscence, renew the ties of affection and strengthen the bonds of kindly feeling.

And let us by no means forget while we give thanks and enjoy the comforts which have crowned our lives that truly grateful hearts are inclined to deeds of charity, and that a kind and thoughtful remembrance of the poor will double the pleasures of our condition and render our praise and thanksgiving more acceptable in the sight of the Lord.

Done at the city of Washington, this 2d day of November, A.D. 1885, and of the Independence of the United States of America the one hundred and tenth.


It has long been the custom of the people of the United States, on a day in each year especially set apart for that purpose by their Chief Executive, to acknowledge the goodness and mercy of God and to invoke His continued care and protection.

In observance of such custom I, Grover Cleveland, President of the United States, do hereby designate and set apart Thursday, the 25th of November, instant, to be observed and kept as a day of thanksgiving and prayer.

On that day let all our people forego their accustomed employments and assemble in their usual places of worship to give thanks to the Ruler of the Universe for our continued enjoyment of the blessings of a free government, for a renewal of business prosperity throughout our land, for the return which has rewarded the labor of those who till the soil, and for our progress as a people in all that makes a nation great.
And while we contemplate the infinite power of God in earthquake, flood, and storm let the grateful hearts of those who have been shielded from harm through His mercy be turned in sympathy and kindness toward those who have suffered through His visitations.

Let us also in the midst of our thanksgiving remember the poor and needy with cheerful gifts and alms so that our service may by deeds of charity be made acceptable in the sight of the Lord.

In witness whereof I have hereunto set my hand and caused the seal of the United States to be affixed.
Done at the city of Washington, this 1st day of November, A.D. 1886, and of the Independence of the United States of America the one hundred and eleventh.

The goodness and the mercy of God, which have followed the American people during all the days of the past year, claim their grateful recognition and humble acknowledgment. By His omnipotent power He has protected us from war and pestilence and from every national calamity; by His gracious favor the earth has yielded a generous return to the labor of the husbandman, and every path of honest toil has led to comfort and contentment; by His loving kindness the hearts of our people have been replenished with fraternal sentiment and patriotic endeavor, and by His unerring guidance we have been directed in the way of national prosperity.

To the end that we may with one accord testify our gratitude for all these blessings, I, Grover Cleveland, President of the United States, do hereby designate and set apart Thursday, the 24th day of November next, as a day of thanksgiving and prayer, to be observed by all the people of the land.

On that day let all secular work and employment be suspended, and let our people assemble in their accustomed places of worship and with prayer and songs of praise give thanks to our Heavenly Father for all that He has done for us, while we humbly implore the forgiveness of our sins and a continuance of His mercy.

Let families and kindred be united on that day, and let their hearts, filled with kindly cheer and affectionate reminiscence, be turned in thankfulness to the source of all their pleasures and the giver of all that makes the day glad and joyous.

And in the midst of our worship and our happiness let us remember the poor, the needy, and the unfortunate, and by our gifts of charity and ready benevolence let us increase the number of those who with grateful hearts shall join in our thanksgiving.

In witness whereof I have hereunto set my hand and caused the seal of the United States to be affixed.
Done at the city of Washington, this 25th day of October, A.D. 1887, and of the Independence of the United States of America the one hundred and twelfth.

Constant thanksgiving and gratitude are due from the American people to Almighty God for His goodness and mercy, which have followed them since the day He made them a nation and vouchsafed to them a free government. With loving kindness He has constantly led us in the way of prosperity and greatness. He has not visited with swift punishment our shortcomings, but with gracious care He has warned us of our dependence upon His forbearance and has taught us that obedience to His holy law is the price of a continuance of His precious gifts.

In acknowledgment of all that God has done for us as a nation, and to the end that on an appointed day the united prayers and praise of a grateful country may reach the throne of grace, I, Grover Cleveland, President of the United States, do hereby designate and set apart Thursday, the 29th day of November instant, as a day of thanksgiving and prayer, to be kept and observed throughout the land.

On that day let all our people suspend their ordinary work and occupations, and in their accustomed places of worship, with prayer and songs of praise, render thanks to God for all His mercies, for the abundant harvests which have rewarded the toil of the husbandman during the year that has passed, and for the rich rewards that have followed the labors of our people in their shops and their marts of trade and traffic. Let us give thanks for peace and for social order and contentment within our borders, and for our advancement in all that adds to national greatness.

And mindful of the afflictive dispensation with which a portion of our land has been visited, let us, while we humble ourselves before the power of God, acknowledge His mercy in setting bounds to the deadly march of pestilence, and let our hearts be chastened by sympathy with our fellow-countrymen who have suffered and who mourn.

And as we return thanks for all the blessings which we have received from the hands of our Heavenly Father, let us not forget that He has enjoined upon us charity; and on this day of thanksgiving let us generously remember the poor and needy, so that our tribute of praise and gratitude may be acceptable in the sight of the Lord.

Done at the city of Washington on the 1st day of November, 1888, and of the Independence of the United States of America the one hundred and thirteenth.

Grover Cleveland: A Study in Character by Alyn Brodsky

“Historians rate Cleveland among the better half of presidents, and some have even labeled him “near-great.” But he didn’t fight a war and he didn’t schmooze and slither his way to political power; nor did he exercise power as if he loved it for its own sake.

He did the public’s business honestly and frugally and otherwise left people alone. Historians who are deluded into thinking that “greatness” means expanding the frontiers of the coercive state and throwing America’s weight around the world don’t have much time for titans of limited government like Grover Cleveland.

In many ways, Cleveland was a political freak even for his day. As Brodsky capably explains with numerous vivid examples, he time and again refused to do the politically expedient. The first Democrat in the White House since James Buchanan, he appointed the best people he could find, often earning the wrath of friends and party bigwigs because they didn’t get the nod. As Brodsky puts it, “Here, indeed, was that rarest of political animals: one who believed his ultimate allegiance was to the nation, not to the party.”

The New York Times, which today endorses charlatans, panderers, and statists routinely, endorsed Cleveland for president in 1884 by declaring three reasons for voting for him: “1. He is an honest man. 2. He is an honest man. 3. He is an honest man.”

In foreign policy, he didn’t see it as the duty of the American government to plant its flag smack in the middle of the affairs of other nations. If it wasn’t clearly spelled out in the Constitution, Cleveland said forget it.

What I admire most about Cleveland, and what comes through clearly in Brodsky’s work, is that his “character rather than his mind” informed his presidencies. He wasn’t a Princeton brain like Wilson or a Rhodes Scholar like Clinton, but he drew strength from a reservoir of principled character with which neither Wilson nor Clinton will ever be associated. He favored freedom and limited government because he saw honesty as their antecedents.”


blessing 4




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