Benjamin Harrison - Historical Reputation and Memorials

Historical Reputation and Memorials

Following the Panic of 1893, Harrison became more popular in retirement. His legacy among historians is scant, and "general accounts of his period inaccurately treat Harrison as a cipher". More recently,

"historians have recognized the importance of the Harrison administration—and Harrison himself—in the new foreign policy of the late nineteenth century. The administration faced challenges throughout the hemisphere, in the Pacific, and in relations with the European powers, involvements that would be taken for granted in the twentieth century."

Harrison's presidency belongs properly to the 19th century, but he "clearly pointed the way" to the modern presidency that would emerge under William McKinley. Harrison's reputation for integrity was largely intact after leaving office in 1893. The bi-partisan Sherman Anti-Trust Act signed into law by Harrison remains in effect over 120 years later and was the most important legislation passed by the Fifty-first Congress. Harrison's support for African American voting rights and education would be the last significant attempts to protect civil rights until the 1930s. Harrison's tenacity at foreign policy was emulated by politicians such as Theodore Roosevelt.

Harrison was memorialized on several postage stamps. The first was a 13-cent stamp issued on November 18, 1902. The engraved likeness of Harrison was modeled after a photo provided by Harrison's widow. In all Harrison has been honored on six U.S. Postage stamps, more than most other U.S. Presidents. Harrison also was featured on the five-dollar National Bank Notes from the third charter period, beginning in 1902.

In 1908, the people of Indianapolis erected the Benjamin Harrison memorial statue, created by Charles Niehaus and Henry Bacon, in honor of Harrison's lifetime achievements as military leader, U.S. Senator, and President of the United States.

In 1942, a Liberty Ship, the SS Benjamin Harrison, was named in his honor. In 1951, Harrison's home was opened to the public as a library and museum. It had been used as a dormitory for a music school from 1937-1950. The house was designated as a National Historic Landmark in 1964. In 2012, a dollar coin with his image, part of the Presidential $1 Coin Program, was issued.

Fort Benjamin Harrison, located in suburban Lawrence, Indiana, northeast of Indianapolis, was named in his honor. The base was closed and the site has been redeveloped to include residential neighborhoods and a golf course. Part of the property is within Fort Harrison State Park.

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