Sunday, January 20, 2013

Grover Cleveland and His Baby Momma Drama

When people think about Grover Cleveland, which probably isn't often, the first thing to come to mind is that he was the only non consecutive two term President. Aside from that, Grover Cleveland is one of those Presidents that is being lost to history. His Presidency was lack luster at best. The Presidential Succession Act (1886), the Interstate Commerce Act (1887) and the Dawes Act (1887) are the main highlights of his career as President. Cleveland was also at the dedication of the Statue of Liberty, even though he was weary of immigrants of Asian ethnicity, but that is a different story for another day. The real juicy stuff about Cleveland happened before he was President, when he was just emerging on the political scene of the great city of Buffalo.

On a freezing December night in 1873, Grover Cleveland was taking an evening walk on Swan Street. While he was out and about he ran into the very attractive Mary Haplin, a 38 year old sales clerk. Now this was not a chance encounter, Cleveland had the hots for Haplin and was in the process of courting her for the last few months. As they chatted Cleveland invited Haplin to dinner at the Ocean Dining Hall & Oyster House, fancy shmancy. The dinner was fine, they laughed, conversed, wined and dined. After Cleveland picked up the check he walked Haplin home. It is here that things get ugly. According the Haplin, Cleveland forced himself on her, aka raped her. Afterwards, Haplin demanded Cleveland leave and never see her again. Six weeks later, you guessed it, Haplin was pregnant.

Haplin gave birth in September of 1874. She named her son Oscar Folsom Cleveland, on a side note the boy was named after Grover's BFF, who Grover would then ironically marry his daughter even though he was 27 years older than her...moving on. Once Cleveland caught wind that the boy was born he turned his sights on sweeping everything, the baby, Haplin, the attack, etc, under the rug. Cleveland had little Oscar forcibly removed from Haplin and placed in the Buffalo Orphan Asylum. Then he had Haplin thrown in the loony bin, even though the doctors at the Providence Lunatic Asylum found nothing wrong with her. Haplin was later released as the incarceration was just forced by the abused of political power. After this Cleveland and Haplin's lives would go in complete opposite directions.

By 1881, Cleveland was elected mayor of Buffalo, on a platform based on clean-government. In 1882, he made his way to Albany, as he was elected Governor of New York. By 1884 he was dubbed "Grover the Good" by the Democrats, who in all fairness were probably unaware of his scandalous past. it was in 1884 that things got even worse for Haplin. Because Cleveland was now in the national spotlight, everything about him came out. However, Cleveland's people described Haplin as "a sexual plaything" with a drinking problem. Oh yea and on top of that, that she slept with three to four married men, who were all cronies of Cleveland. The Cleveland PR team even saved his image stating, "Cleveland saw the matter through in the most courageous way, and that his indifference to the boy was due to doubts about his fatherhood." Nice save Grover, but not everyone bought the story. Throughout Cleveland's Presidential campaign he was taunted with the jeer, "Ma, Ma, Where's my Pa, Gone to the WHite House, Ha, Ha, Ha"

So we know what happens to Cleveland, go to DC, becomes President, marries a girl 21 years younger than him and then get re elected and sails off into the sunset. But what about Halpin? Well, Haplin lived out her life as a widowed mother of two. A church going woman who was well respected by her peers. She died in 1902 with barely $200 to her name. But what can we take away from the events between Haplin and Cleveland? Well first we see that not much has changed. Politicians are still using their positions to have sexual escapades. From Bill Clinton, to John Edwards, Newt Gingrich, Arnold Schwarzenegger and so on, men in power are still having affairs and then trying to hide them for as long as they can. I guess what we can learn is that it is impossible to hide things like that, the truth always makes its way out. We can see that these women are always the ones blamed and usually are the ones to carry the burden for the rest of their lives. Mary Haplin said on her deathbed, "Do not let the funeral be too public. I do not want strangers to come and gaze upon my face. Let everything be very quiet. Let me rest." I think that best sums up how these women feel, while Cleveland's last words were "I have tried so hard to do right." You can see how Cleveland moved on as if nothing happened, while Haplin relived it everyday. So next time your out discussing the worst person in American History, don't be afraid to through Grover Cleveland's name in the conversation.

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