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Harrison's Indianapolis

Harrison Offices

First Office: Space in the State Bank Building at 32 1/2 West Washington Street
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1898 Sanborn Map

The building has been demolished.
It would have stood east of the Conrad Hotel

The Harrisons moved to Indianapolis in April 1854. Here Benjamin found that establishing a law practice was much more difficult than he had anticipated. In 1855, he formed a law partnership with William Wallace. They enjoyed a steady stream of clients and a regular income.


 

1861 to 1873: Harrison & Fishback at 62 E. Washington Street
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1898 Sanborn Map

The building was demolished and is currently a parking
garage (between Pennsylvania St. and alley)

In 1860, Wallace was elected Clerk of Marion County, and the law partnership dissolved.  Harrison then formed a partnership with William Fishback.  Returning to Indianapolis after his service in the Civil War, Benjamin was filled with plans for renewing family relationships, re-establishing his law practice and returning to his office of Supreme Court reporter.  The firm of Porter, Harrison, & Fishback was formed.  By 1870, Harrison was with the firm Porter, Harrison, & Hines.


1873: Porter, Harrison, Hines at NE corner of Washington and Meridian Streets
1874: Harrison & Hines at 5 Yohns Block
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1898 Sanborn Map

Yohn's Block on the right (Library of Congress Photo).
The building has since been demolished.

In 1874, William Henry Harrison Miller replaced Porter in the firm. Then, Mr. Hines retired and was replaced by John Elam. The firm was then known as Harrison, Miller, and Elam.


 

1875 to 1898: 68 ½ East Market Wright's Block later 120 East Market Street Union Trust Building
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1898 Sanborn Map 1888 Photograph
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Civil War

civil warOn July 1, 1862, a full year after the bombardment of Fort Sumter, President Abraham Lincoln appealed for an additional 300,000 men in the Union Army. Along with 17 other governors, Governor Oliver P. Morton of Indiana pledged to aid in the call for reinforcements. Morton was having difficulty filling the Indiana quota of troops. It was during this period of time that Benjamin Harrison and a friend found themselves in the Governor's office on business. Morton asked the men to join him in his inner room at the conclusion of their business.

Morton shared his concerns about raising troops; he was quite depressed at the people's slow response. Harrison felt that he was addressing him personally. Harrison was so moved that he offered: "Governor, if I can be of any service, I will go." Morton immediately asked him to raise a regiment, but felt that it was asking too much for Harrison to go into the field of battle and offered that they would find someone to command the regiment. Harrison had just been elected Reporter of the Supreme Court.

Harrison, however, rejected the idea of asking men to join a regiment and then staying home himself. Harrison answered...if he made any speeches, and asked men to go, he proposed to go along with them, and stay as long as any of them did, if he lived that long. However, he did not feel that he should be in command of the regiment, as he did not have any military background.

In response to this pledge, Benjamin Harrison volunteered to raise a regiment. The new soldiers put into camp on the west side of Indianapolis and began their drills. Harrison employed a drill master from Chicago using his own funds to train the men. Harrison was given a commission as Second Lieutenant and two weeks later was promoted to captain. The men remained in camp drilling for about a month. When the regiment was complete Governor Morton gave Harrison the commission of Colonel. By August 8, 1862, the newly appointed Colonel Harrison raised 1000 recruits.

On August 15, the 70th Indiana arrived in Bowling Green, Kentucky, where Harrison faced the task of turning raw recruits into seasoned troops. By day, he marched and drilled his men; by night, long after taps had sounded, he studied and perfected himself in the tactics of war.

Discipline would prove to be one of Harrison's most arduous tasks. Company E led by Captain Meredith was especially challenging. Harrison wrote to his law partner, William Fishback, that two corporals had been "broken," one lieutenant had been arrested, and a good many of the squad were in the guardhouse. "They are beginning to know me now." Captain Meredith was anxious to reform and Harrison gave him the chance. Meredith served with distinction for the duration of the war. Harrison's reputation became that of a strong leader. He earned the respect of his men and did not leave them in battle. The men learned that he stood by his word and was always concerned with their well-being. Harrison knew that they would have to be disciplined to survive battle.

Harrison did not ask more of his men than he did of himself. Mr. Richard Smock remembered an incident while they were camped near Nashville during a very cold winter. Men on the picket line were nearly frozen to death, and Colonel Harrison fixed coffee and took it out to them in the middle of the night. Harrison always led the men saying "Come on, boys!," as he took the lead.

The 70th Indiana was assigned to guard the railroads in Tennessee until February 1863. They then served picket duty at Gallatin. In August 1863, they moved to Nashville to guard trains to Chattanooga and provide picket duty, leaving in February 1864 to join the Atlanta Campaign. Beginning in May 1864, Colonel Harrison and the regiment joined General Sherman's Atlanta campaign in the Army of the Cumberland. For Harrison's achievements at the battles of Resaca and Peachtree Creek, he was promoted to Brigadier General.


The Battle of Resaca, GeorgiaBattle of Resaca
May 13-15, 1864


During the spring of 1864, both the Union forces under Sherman and the Confederate forces under Johnston were preparing for a battle near Ringold, Georgia, on the Chickamauga River. This conflict never materialized, but it caused great anxiety on both sides. To get into position for the first general engagement of the Atlanta campaign, both sides attempted to outflank each other.

Col. Benjamin Harrison's 70th Indiana Volunteer Regiment was sent across the Chickamauga battleground, where they reached the Lee and Gordon's Mills on May 1, 1864. Grant had set May 5th as the day to move on the Confederate lines by both the Army of the Cumberland and Sherman's Army. Harrison was attached to Sherman's command.

On May 5th, Harrison wrote to his wife Caroline of the move:

In front of my saddle I have my blue coat rolled up and strapped on. The small cavalry saddle bags are filled to their utmost capacity . . . my little tin bucket for making tea, swings clattering at my side. The bundle behind my saddle is so large that it is a straining effort to get my leg over it on or off and when in the saddle I feel like one who has been wrapped up for embalming . . . it is very disagreeable.

The enemy was engaged at Tunnell Hill and Rocky Face Ridge but fell back to Resaca. On May 13, 1864 Harrison moved toward Resaca. The first day of fighting occurred on the 13th. Harrison was not to participate in the fight until the next day. On the evening of Friday the 13th Harrison wrote to Caroline of his feelings on the eve of his "first great battle;"

I am in my usual good spirits, though not at all insensible to grave responsibilities and risks which I must bear tomorrow. I am thinking much of you and the dear children and my whole heart goes out to you in tenderness and love and many earnest prayers... I send up to God this night that should you lose a husband and they a father in the fight that you may find abundant consolation... I know you will not forget me... but let your grief be tempered by the consolation that I died for my country and in Christ. If God gives me strength I mean to bear myself bravely, and come what will, so that you may have no cause to blush for me, though you should be forced to mourn.

On the second day of the battle of Resaca, both the Confederate wing commander, General John Bell Hood, and the Union wing commander, General Joseph Hooker, took limited offensive action. The Confederate forces came forward slightly from their solidly prepared entrenchments. The Union forces continued to probe for a weakness in the Confederate line. A Confederate artillery battery posted in a breastwork proved particularly annoying. Brigadier General Ward's brigade, of which Harrison was a part, was ordered to assault and capture this redoubt. The brigade attacked in a column formation, the 70th having the honor of leading the charge. The redoubt was heavily fortified with three infantry regiments in the rifle pits and four more regiments in the main trenches.

Coming out of the woods, Harrison surprised and drove back the outlying infantry. Despite the deadly close range of the cannon fire, Harrison captured the battery in hand-to-hand fighting with the gunners. Fierce fighting continued all afternoon. At nightfall, the 70th carried the four captured 121 pound Napoleon Cannons to the rear, keeping them safe from recapture. The Confederate forces withdrew in the darkness of the morning of the 15th.

Harrison received orders to report to Governor Morton for special duty. The next several weeks in Indianapolis were spent campaigning both for himself as Indiana's Supreme Court Reporter and President Abraham Lincoln.

After the November election, he left for Georgia to rejoin his old regiment for Sherman's "March to the Sea." Instead he was given command of the 1st Brigade at Nashville and led them in a decisive battle against Confederate General Hood.

168 CW generals photo
A few weeks later, he received orders to rejoin the 70th Indiana at Savannah, Georgia, after a brief furlough in Indianapolis. However, Harrison contracted scarlet fever delaying him by one month, and then spent the next several months training replacement troops in South Carolina. After the South's surrender, he reached his old regiment on the same day as the news of President Lincoln's assassination.

On April 29, 1865, the regiment was ordered to march to Washington, DC. It participated in the Grand Review of Western Armies held on May 24, 1865. General Harrison and the 70th Indiana were mustered out of Federal service on June 8, 1865.

Years after, Benjamin Harrison participated in many Civil War reunions and during his presidency was a champion of providing pensions for GAR veterans.

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Listen to the President

Transcription of Recording

1888, the successful campaign song of 1814 is reintroduced by the Republican party. It is a fitting tribute for the GOP candidate in Benjamin Harrison, grandson of, "Old Tippecanoe," William Henry Harrison.

In a rare recording, this was the voice of Benjamin Harrison. His speech begins,

"As president of the United States, I was present at the first Pan-American Congress in Washington, D.C. I fully believe that with God's help, our two countries shall continue to live side by side in peace and prosperity. Benjamin Harrison."

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President

President Benjamin Harrison

president benjamin_harrisonBenjamin Harrison is the only United States president elected from the State of Indiana. Not only was he the 23rd president (serving from 1889-1893), but he was also the centennial president, inaugurated 100 years after George Washington.

The time of Harrison's presidency was transitional. Issues that faced colonial America were still germane, but Harrison also faced issues that plague presidents today. In keeping with the attitude of colonial American expansion, President Harrison brought six states into the union. This was more than any other president in one term.

Benjamin Harrison was truly one of the first American presidents to succeed in foreign policy and matters beyond our shores. He increased the nation as a player in global trading and therefore dealt with the resulting tariff issues. Relations with Central America were established during his presidency. The Pan-American Games is a lasting institution created from this alliance. Our strength as a naval power and the build-up of all national armed forces can both be attributed to our 23rd president. Harrison was of the opinion that our army and navy should not be just a conscripted institution, but one that attracted competent, highly professional people who were interested in making the armed forces a career. Our role in global affairs expanded without a war or the sending of American troops to be stationed abroad.

Expansion of the Navy

In 1888, the United States Navy did not have any battleships. The roster of ships included 19 harbor defense vessels, 2 rams, 2 armored cruisers, and 38 unarmored cruisers. In Harrison's Inaugural address March 4, 1889, he declared that:

... the construction of a sufficient number of modern warships... should progress as rapidly as is consistent with care and perfection in plans and workmanship.


Harrison chose Benjamin F. Tracy to fill the cabinet position of Secretary of the Navy. Harrison and Tracy were both concerned with the fact that at the close of the Civil War the United States had the largest navy in the world but had dropped to the bottom of the list of naval powers by the late 1880s. After the Civil War focus was on rebuilding the country. Harrison and Tracy knew that the commercial growth experienced during the industrial revolution would take America into world markets and world affairs. Without a strong naval fleet ships were easy prey for pirates.

There was also a growing concern with defending our coast lines and shipping routes, threats of Chilean hostilities and European interventions. Tracy called for the production of not merely unarmored cruisers, but of "sea-going battle-ships."

Tracy recommended two fleets of armored seagoing ships. Twelve ships would be assigned to the Atlantic and Gulf coasts and eight to the Pacific. He felt that the United States did not really have a Navy since it did not possess any battle ships. Harrison released the substance of Tracy's report in November 1889. Harrison fully agreed with the need for a two coast navy. This was the first time a proposal had been made to station a fleet of substantial size in the Pacific. In his third annual message Harrison said:

...it is essential to the dignity of this Nation and to that peaceful influence which it should exercise on this hemisphere that its Navy should be adequate both upon the shores of the Atlantic and of the Pacific.
U S Indiana
The first Federal legislation was the "Naval Appropriations Act" of March 1891 which authorized "$25,000,00 for arms and equipment for the naval militias, as the Secretary of the Navy would deem necessary per regulation." The construction of the battle class ships the Oregon, Indiana (image to the right), and Massachusetts soon began. Now the search for armor and armament contractors would be forefront. By the end of 1890, the steel cruisers Baltimore, Charleston, Philadelphia, and San Francisco, the gunboats Yorktown and Petrel, the torpedo boat Cushing, and the dynamite cruiser Vesuvius were all in service. Another twenty vessels (sixteen holdovers from Cleveland's administration) were in various stages of construction.

1891 saw the commissioning of the gunboats Concord and Bennington, the cruiser Newark, and one monitor. Harrison's administration gave the country's navy nineteen new vessels including two 12 inch and six 10 inch guns; most of the armament was made in the United States. There were also eighteen more vessels under construction. Some would mount 13 inch guns, and all armament would be domestically manufactured.

The Harrison administration through the Civil Service Reform Act greatly improved the work force at the naval yards. The New York Navy Yard claimed a twenty-five percent reduction in cost after the reforms were in place. The workers were no longer used as political pawns, and the work force did not change after each election.

Tracy's final report in 1892 warned the nation not to let its guard down. The Harrison administration saw one of the most rapidly expanding periods in modern naval history. The United States could compete with the modernized seapowers of the world.

 

Harrison Tree Henry Cowell Redwoods State Park CaliforniaPresident Harrison Tree near Santa Cruz, CA.
Now part of the Henry Cowell Redwoods State Park

 

Forest Reserves and National Parks

Benjamin Harrison was the pioneer of national forest reserves. Harrison loved the outdoors; three times he visited Yellowstone National Park, the first park, created in 1872. While serving in the Senate, he helped limit the number of acres leased to hotels to 10, and in 1882 he introduced a bill to set apart a tract of land lying on the Colorado River. The bill failed, but in 1919 the Grand Canyon National Park was finally created. In 1890 he asked Congress for legislation that would provide for the end of the rapid and needless destruction of our great forests.

During his administration in 1891, Congress passed the Forest Reserve Act, granting the president the power to establish forest reserves. President Benjamin Harrison set aside land in Wyoming to form the nation's first forest reserve. He used the act 17 times setting land aside in Colorado (including Pikes Peak), Oregon, California, Washington, New Mexico Territory, Alaska Territory, and Arizona Territory. In 1907, forest reserves were renamed "national forests."

Harrison opened our second, third, and fourth national parks, set aside the first military park, the first urban park, and the first prehistoric Indian Ruin to come under federal protection, Casa Grande, Arizona. On September 25, 1890, Sequoia National Park was created. The Yosemite Reserves Act passed by Congress October 1, 1890, and signed into law by President Benjamin Harrison, created Yosemite National Park. That same day Harrison added land to Sequoia and created General Grant National Park. Sitka National Historical Park has the distinction of being the oldest federally designated park in Alaska. It was designated as a federal park by Harrison on June 21, 1890.

Bering Sea Fur-Seal Controversy

During much of Harrison's administration the United States and Great Britain were involved in a dispute over the regulations of the fur-seal industry in the Bering Sea. Harrison's main objective was the protection of the seals that were quickly being exterminated. The previous policy had allowed for open-sea sealing. After Alaska was purchased by the United States in 1867, a closed sea doctrine was invoked for the first time.

Between 1887 and 1890, negotiations were carried out between Russia, Great Britain and the United States with a view to a joint convention, but the parties were unable to agree on regulating sealing in the open seas. America had seal nurseries on the Pribiloff Islands and Russia on the Komandorski group. Neither Great Britain, nor its then colony Canada, had land access to the Bering Sea or seal-breeding grounds. Thus, to prohibit open-sea sealing would have been to exclude Britain from the industry. The British did not accept this policy. The matter was sent to an international court of arbitration in Paris. In 1893, they ruled against the United States.

Immigration

Immigration in the late 1880s began to increase alarmingly and without a uniform process. In his Inaugural address Harrison stated:

Our naturalization laws should be so amended as to make the inquiry into the character and good disposition of persons applying for citizenship more careful and searching. Our existing laws have been in their administration an unimpressive and often an unintelligible form. We accept the man as a citizen without any knowledge of his fitness, and he assumes the duties of citizenship without any knowledge as to what they are. The privileges of American citizenship are so great and its duties so grave that we may well insist upon a good knowledge by him of our institutions. We should not cease to be hospitable to immigration, but we should cease to be careless as to the character of it. There are men of all races, even the best, whose coming is necessarily a burden upon our public revenues or a threat to social order. These should be identified and excluded.

In 1903 a law passed excluding anarchists, or persons who believe in or advocate the overthrow by force or violence of the Government of the United States or of all government or of all forms of law, or the assassination of public officials; prostitutes; and persons who procure or attempt to bring in prostitutes or women for the purpose of prostitution; those who have been, within one year from date of the application for admission to the United States, having been deported as being under offers, solicitations, promises or agreements to perform labor or service of some kind...

Opening of Ellis Island

1891 Congress establishes the Bureau of Immigration within the Treasury Department.

1892 Ellis Island opens.

506 q2In 1855, New York City created Castle Garden, the first formal receiving station for immigrants anywhere in the world. In 1890, during Benjamin Harrison's administration, Secretary of the Treasury William Windom ended New York State involvement due to corruption. Windom announced that the United States government would build a new receiving station on one of the federally owned islands in New York harbor.

Secretary William Windom's first choice for the new immigrants' station was Bedloe's Island. The choice of Bedloe's Island, the site of the recently erected Statue of Liberty, met with public outcry and objection. Thus work began on improvements to Ellis Island in April 1890. In May, Congress appropriated $75,000, and in July, work began on dredging a channel for better ship access. Next crib works for landfill were built to increase the size of the island.

Construction of the buildings took a year and a half. During the construction Congress created the Bureau of Immigration under the Department of the Treasury. Colonel John Weber was appointed first Commissioner of Immigration. Ellis Island, 27 1/2 acres of landfill in the upper New York Bay, opened January 1892.

1890 McKinley Tariff

The McKinley tariff set the average ad valorem tariff rate for imports to the United States at 48.4% which protected U.S. agriculture. Harrison felt that the protective tariff should be maintained and fairly applied to the products of our farms as well as of our shops. The bill met with much criticism. Some felt the clause allowing for reciprocal trade agreement with favored nations weakened the bill. Harrison and Blaine strongly fought for this clause promoting friendly agreements with Central and South America. Harrison often defended the McKinley tariff.

1890 Sherman Antitrust Act

The Sherman Antitrust Act, formally known as the Act of July 2, 1890, was the first United States federal government action to limit monopolies, and is the oldest of all U.S. antitrust laws. The passing of this act fulfilled one of Harrison's campaign pledges. The Act was signed by President Benjamin Harrison in 1890 and was named for its author, Senator John Sherman of Ohio.

Domestic policy is the one area that will forever haunt the memory of Harrison's presidency. During the Gilded Age, the spoils system ruled the day. The Republican Party was less than pleased with Harrison because he made his political appointments based upon ability, not as favors to the political machine. The House of Representatives was run with an iron fist by Speaker of the House Thomas Reed. Public business that ran counter to Reed's wishes was held hostage by faction and filibuster. The House became a vehicle of implementing the Speaker's wishes, and he gave little regard to Benjamin Harrison. For example, Benjamin Harrison wanted civil rights legislation addressed during his presidency. It was never prioritized and docketed due to a congress that would not budge from its own agenda.

white houseThe White House during Harrison's Term

Many Republicans wanted to move from the gold standard to a new silver standard as a backing for the nation's currency. Many lending institutions and corporate powers balked, and the value of the U.S. dollar plummeted. During the "panic," many prominent people (including some of Harrison's own cabinet members) lost great fortunes. At about the same time, congress approved the McKinley Tariff into law. This would tax incoming goods at a higher rate and hopefully encourage people to buy American made products. U.S. businesses, feeling the sting of recessions, tried to compensate for lost revenue by raising the prices of goods. The backlash by consumers against the Republican Party was devastating, eventually removing the president and a significant number of congressmen in the 1892 election. In 1892, Benjamin Harrison lost more than an election; in October, his wife Caroline died in the White House due to complications from tuberculosis.

Benjamin Harrison paved the way for the future success of the Republican Party. He helped introduce civil rights legislation and established relations with Central America—resulting in the Pan-American games. But most importantly, he helped unite the factions of the Republican Party after the fallout created by Congress and helped to create a unified party that would win the White House back in 1896.

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Lawyer

In 1860, Harrison was elected Supreme Court reporter, and according to his own account, the only political office he ever voluntarily sought. He valued the information he gained from his position and considered it equivalent to a postgraduate education in law. In 1862, Harrison joined the Civil War. He made arrangements for his position to be filled while he was gone. The Democrats took advantage of his situation and claimed that he abandoned his position. Returning to Indianapolis after his service in the Civil War, Benjamin was filled with plans for renewing family relationships, re-establishing his law practice and returning to his office of Supreme Court reporter. The firm of Porter, Harrison, & Fishback was formed.

Nancy Clem Case

The sensational double murder at Cold Springs of businessman Jacob Young and his wife shocked Indianapolis in 1868. Among those charged with murder was Nancy Clem, wife of a respectable grocer. Mrs. Clem allegedly was in debt to Mr. Young. The first trial resulted in a hung jury. In the second trial, Harrison personally took over the prosecution. He called more than 250 witnesses and established that Mrs. Clem's alibi witness was bribed. In his final argument, Harrison held the jury for eight hours. He described the murder scene and talked of the orphaned Young daughter saying:

It was a scene to freeze one's blood... Not only dead but burned!... The little orphan left at home waited in vain for their return that night. How slow... the moments must have passed.

The jury deliberated for 48 hours and came back with the verdict: "Guilty of murder in the second degree." She was the first woman convicted of murder in Indiana. The case attracted national attention.

Appointed by President Grant to defend U.S. Government in Ex parte Milligan

In 1870, Harrison was with the firm Porter, Harrison, & Hines. He was appointed by President Grant to defend General Alvin P. Hovey and others in a suit for damages brought by Lambdin P. Milligan before the United States Circuit Court in 1871. Milligan had been found guilty in 1864 of antiwar activities and sentenced to death by a military commission in Indianapolis. In 1866, the Supreme Court overturned the ruling basing the decision on the fact that Milligan was a private citizen and should have been tried by a civil court not a military court. Milligan then filed a state suit claiming false arrest and imprisonment. Defendants in the case included former Indiana Governor Oliver P. Morton and General Ulysses S. Grant, who was now president. This case was one of the first civil rights trials seeking monetary compensation for violations of the Constitution. 



Harrison's tactic was to get on record the whole story of the treason committed by Milligan. His appeal was not against the letter of the law, but for mitigation in the interest of real justice. Law was sacred to Harrison, yet truth and justice were supreme. Harrison was a great constitutional lawyer. He never tried to bully witnesses or coax juries. He presented the facts in a pleasant and businesslike manner. Harrison's argument showed the blatant treason in such a glaring light that damages were reduced to $5 and cost. This was a slap in the face to Milligan; he apparently never collected. Milligan's attorney was Thomas A. Hendricks, who would later become Governor of Indiana and then Vice President under Cleveland in 1884

Supreme Court Cases

Harrison tried fifteen cases before the U.S. Supreme Court and one before the International Tribunal in Paris. While Harrison and Hendricks were opposing counsel in the Milligan case in Federal Court, they were also on opposite sides in the U.S. Supreme Court case New Albany v. Burke. Harrison represented the city while Hendricks represented Burke and other taxpayers in New Albany. A Federal Court had issued an injunction requesting that the taxpayers be paid interest from the city on bonds issued to construct a railroad. The U.S. Supreme Court reversed the ruling, thus this was Benjamin's first prevailing win before the nation's highest court. 



In 1874, William Henry Harrison Miller replaced Porter in the firm. Then Mr. Hines retired and was replaced by John Elam. The firm became Harrison, Miller, & Elam. 



Harrison lost the case of Burke v. Smith, an issue of whether stockholders in the Indiana railroad corporation could be held liable for amounts in excess of the face amount of the stock. The company had become insolvent and wished for the stockholders to pay more. Ben argued for the railroad, and the subscribers were represented by Michael Kerr. Appearing in the case with Kerr was James A. Garfield, probably making this the only time two future presidents were opposing counsel in the same case. 



In 1881, Harrison was elected by the Indiana General Assembly to the U.S. Senate. While senator, he argued six cases before the Supreme Court. Over his career he enjoyed mixed success in his Supreme Court arguments. The cases involved constitutional questions on the taking of private property for public use, the right to determine municipal boundaries, and inheritance tax laws.

Post Presidency Cases

Harrison agreed to be plaintiff's counsel in a complicated will trial over the estate of James Morrison in Richmond, Indiana, in 1895. The estate in question was worth over $600,000 plus real estate. Harrison collected a large fee. During the trial the opposing counsel accused Harrison of using his status of ex-president to influence the judge and jury. Harrison rebutted:

Photo of the courtroom scene in Richmond, IN.

I assert there is no ex-President in this case. I am here to discharge the sworn duties of my profession as I see them. If the people of this country have seen cause to honor me, it is no reason why I should not appear in the capacity of counselor nor a reason why I should be driven from this court.

In 1899, Harrison was selected as senior counsel to represent Venezuela before the court of arbitration in Paris. It was a border dispute between Great Britain and the Republic of Venezuela. The long time dispute was over the border between Venezuela and British Guiana. Tensions rose between Britain and the United States over the issue. The United States, wanting to invoke a new and broader interpretation of the Monroe Doctrine, pursued arbitration. Britain eventually conceded to Washington's demands, a symbolic concession that America had become a dominant power. The American commission was appointed, and the line that was finally drawn in 1899 favored Great Britain. 


In his last case before the Indiana Supreme Court in 1900, a closely divided court supported his argument for the purposes of bonding limitations in Indiana's constitution. It found that city and school corporations were separate, giving school corporations much greater authority. This case was an important legacy to the development of the public education system in Indiana.

“An American citizen could not be a good citizen who did not have a hope in his heart.” ~ Benjamin Harrison

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