Cleveland began his political career as the reform-minded mayor of Buffalo, NY, and was elected Governor of New York the very next year. In 1884 he was elected President of the U.S., the first Democrat to hold that office since the Civil War. His election was a protest against the waste and corruption that had characterized the Republican administrations after the war, and his personal integrity helped restore confidence in the government. Cleveland lost the election of 1892 to Benjamin Harrison, largely due to his stand against tariffs but, by 1892, the people were ready to return to Cleveland's herder policies, and he was again elected President. His taking office in 1893 was coincident with a great financial panic. Firmly opposed to currency inflation, he forced Congress to repeal the Sherman Silver Purchase Act, thereby stabilizing the nation's financial position. The treasury surplus which existed at the end of his first term had dwindled away during Harrison's administration, and Cleveland was forced to use desperate but successful means of maintaining a gold balance. Labor strife accompanied the depression of business, and he employed federal troops to repress violence. Cleveland was President during a time of swift social change. Many feel that, although Cleveland's intentions were good, he frequently lacked the vision and experience to find completely satisfactory answers to the problems with which he was confronted.