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Grover Cleveland was a true conservative. He opposed unnecessary government meddling in the nation's economy, arguing that a high tariff was an interfering factor in the natural economic order of things. Convinced that a change was needed, the president used his annual message to Congress in 1887 to argue for meaningful reductions in tariff duties.Congress refused to follow the president's lead.The maintenance of a large Treasury surplus was damaging to the farmer and debtor elements of the South and West. This set the stage for a national discussion on related issues of the tariff and the money supply; the forum would be the campaign leading to the Election of 1888.