Date of Graduation
Ohio's political significance in 1868 resulted from certain unique circumstances. It ranked third in po p u lation, and its people were an amalgam of ma n y ethnic groups, including a large German element. About ten p e r cent of the total Ameri c a n electorate lived in Ohio. It had a strong Democratic party that was blessed with an array of talented and articulate leaders such as Clement L. 45 Vallandigham, Al l a n G. Thurman, and George H. Pendleton. The Union party's majorities in Ohio during the war were misleading in that the party's support during that period was the result of the war itself and was not an indication of the degree of unity which the party could expect on postwar issues. Too, by 1870, mo s t of the w artime leaders of the party had been removed from the state political arena for various reasons. Unionist-War Democratic G o v ernor John Brough, a Lincoln supporter, had died in 1865. Salmon P. Chase, the one-time Republican governor, U.S. Senator, cabinet member, and perennial Presidential aspirant, became Chief Justice of the U.S. Supreme Court in December, 1864. Former Governor David To d (also a Unionist-War Democrat) died in 1868, and former Republican Reproduced with permission of the copyright owner. Further reproduction prohibited without permission. 21 Governor William Dennison simply ceased to be active politically. Radical Republican Ben Wade lost his Senate seat in 1869. Taking the place of the old guard were men with war records such as Jacob D. Cox, James A Garfield and Rutherford B. Hayes. The most important Ohio Union Republican of the period who retained his political position after 1865, despite the absence of a w ar record, was Senator John Sherman. The conservative Sherman, however, met wit h determined opposition from the Radicals when he was a can46 didate for reelection in 1866 and again in 1872. From 1865 to 1904, all but four of Ohio's governors had Civil War records, and all but two Republican gubernatorial candidates from 1865 to 1903 had war records. This was g enerally true of candidates for other political offices 47 as well. The simple political truth was that the Dem o crats' strength was so close to that of the Republicans that the latter had to field candidates from among Ohio's wa r heroes who could attract a large soldier vote in order to offset the opposition of many voters to the party's stand on such issues as Negro suffrage and the currency question. F ortunately for the Union party, the Democrats had few war heroes in its ranks that could be used as political candidates. As a war hero and a Radical Republican who had the "right" opinions on important questions in the Reproduced with permission of the copyright owner. Further reproduction prohibited without permission. 22 Reconstruction era, Congressman Rutherford B. Hayes was among those in 1867 who were considered as possible successors to Governor Cox.
RANSON, FREDERICK DUANE, "THE GREAT UNKNOWN: GOVERNOR RUTHERFORD B. HAYES OF OHIO." (1978). Graduate Theses, Dissertations, and Problem Reports. 9627.