Cyclopædia of Political Science, Political Economy, and the Political History of the United States
OHIO, a state of the American Union, formed from the northwest territory. (See
—By the act of May 7, 1800, that part of the northwest territory now included in Ohio was set off under a distinct territorial government, and the remainder was organized as the territory of Indiana. (See
—BOUNDARIES. The boundaries assigned by the enabling act and the state constitution were as follows: east, the Pennsylvania line; south, the Ohio river; west, a due north line from the mouth of the Great Miami river; and north, an east and west line drawn through the southerly extreme of Lake Michigan to Lake Erie, and thence through the lake to the Pennsylvania line. It was, however, doubtful at the time whether this northern boundary would meet Lake Erie east of the "Miami river of the lake" [Maumee]; if it should prove to do so, both the enabling act and the state constitution reserved the power to so amend it as to make the Maumee the terminus of the cast and west line. Before Michigan was admitted as a state, it was ascertained that a direct eastward line, as originally proposed, would enter Lake Erie so far east as to give to Michigan about half of Ohio's lake coast, and a valuable strip of land in the north, including the city of Toledo. Michigan pressed her claim, and the dispute rose to such a height as to be given the popular title of the "Toledo war." It was settled by the act of June 15, 1836, to admit Michigan as a state: its first section provided that the northern boundary of Ohio should not be a direct east and west line, but should trend to the north far enough to strike the most northerly cape of Maumee bay, thus giving Ohio the territory in dispute. Michigan at first rejected but afterward accepted admission on these terms.
—CONSTITUTIONS. The first constitution, mentioned above, made manhood suffrage universal, on one year's residence; provided for a house of representatives to number not less than twenty-four nor more than seventy-two members, to serve one year, and for a senate not more than one-half nor less than one-third the number of the house, to be chosen by districts and to serve two years; made two-thirds of each house a quorum to do business; gave the governor a term of two years; and prohibited slavery. The governor was to be chosen by popular vote, but was to have no veto power, nor any other power than to grant reprieves and pardons, convene extra sessions of the legislature, command the state forces, commission appointees, and temporarily fill vacancies occurring when the legislature was not in session. The secret of this restriction upon the governor's powers, which was continued in the constitution of 1851, may probably be found in the frequent disagreements which had taken place between Governor St. Clair and the territorial legislatures.
—A new constitution was framed by a convention at Columbus, May 6-July 9, 1850, and Cincinnati, Dec. 2, 1850-March 10, 1851, and was ratified, June 17, by a popular vote of 126,663 to 109,699. Its main alterations were that the sessions of the legislature were now to be biennial; a complicated apportionment system, apparently modeled on that of Massachusetts, was introduced; state officers, except the governor, were to be chosen by the legislature; the legislature was forbidden to loan the state's credit to corporations or to create corporations by special laws; and the judiciary was made elective.
—A new constitution was framed by a convention at Columbus, May 14-Aug. 8, 1873, and Cincinnati, Dec. 2, 1873-May 14, 1874; but it was rejected by very heavy popular majorities, Aug. 18. A subsequent attempt to revise the judiciary system was also a failure.
—Chillicothe was the state capital until 1810, and Zanesville until 1812. In February, 1812, the legislature accepted the offers of a land company to lay out a capital, and erect a state house and penitentiary. The new city was called Columbus, and the state government was removed thither in December, 1816. The constitution of 1851 formally designated it as the capital.
—GOVERNORS. Edward Tiffin, 1802-8; Samuel Huntington, 1808-10: R. J. Meigs, 1810-14; Thos. Worthington, 1814-18; Ethan A. Brown, 1818-22; Jeremiah Morrow, 1822-6; Allen Trimble, 1826-30; Duncan McArthur, 1830-32; Robert Lucas, 1832-6; Joseph Vance, 1836-8; Wilson Shannon, 1838-40, Thomas Corwin, 1840-42; Wilson Shannon, 1842-4; Mordecai Bartley, 1844-6; William Bebb, 1846-50; Reuben Hood, 1850-54; William Medill, 1854-6; Salmon P. Chase, 1856-60; William Denison, 1860-62; David Tod, 1862-4; John Brough, 1864-6; J. D. Cox, 1866-8; R. B. Hayes, 1868-72; Edward F. Noyes, 1872-4; William Allen, 1874-6; R. B. Hayes, 1876-8; R. M. Bishop, 1878-80; Charles Foster, 1880-84.
—POLITICAL HISTORY. Ohio was admitted to the Union at a time (1802-3) when there was practically but one party in the country, outside of New England; it was therefore of necessity a republican (or democratic) state from the beginning. It was such of choice also; the great democratic features of policy at the time, the acquisition of Louisiana, the war of 1812, and the opposition to a national bank, were all very popular in Ohio, and for thirty years there was little or no opposition to the democratic party in the state's elections. In local politics the most noteworthy features were due to the great mass of power which the constitution had concentrated in the legislature. That body, provoked by certain decisions of the state judges on the validity of state laws, passed its so-called "sweeping resolution," Jan. 7, 1810, declaring that, as the state had been organized in 1802, and as the judicial term of office was "seven years," the seats of all state judges were now vacant, no matter when their incumbents had been appointed. The judges held to their offices, and the "sweeping resolution" failed, except in causing a momentary confusion. Again, in 1818, the legislature attacked the state branch of the United States bank (see
—Schemes of internal improvement, chiefly in the form of roads and canals, early found favor in Ohio, so that, when the new distribution of national parties took place in 1824-30, a strong vote was developed for Adams and Clay, and the policy of internal improvements and a protective tariff which they represented. In 1824 Clay obtained the electoral vote of the state by a slight plurality over Adams and Jackson; in 1828 and 1832 Jackson obtained a majority of only ½ of 1 per cent. of the popular vote. In 1829 a Clay governor was elected, and the state government was nominally whig until 1838. The electoral vote of the state was given to Harrison in 1836.
—In 1837-8 began a general course of democratic success in the state, which lasted until 1855, with but two important breaks, the presidential elections of 1840 and 1844. In both of these the state's electoral votes were given to the whig candidates, Harrison and Clay respectively, and the whig candidates for governor were carried in by the current. In 1845 the whig legislature sent Corwin to the senate, in which the state was represented by democrats from 1837 until 1855, with the exceptions of Corwin and Chase.
—At its meeting in December, 1848, the lower house of the legislature was unable to organize for some time. The vote of Cincinnati had long made the five Hamilton county members democratic; the last whig legislature had therefore divided the county into two districts, thus securing two whig members. The democrats ignored the act as unconstitutional, and elected five members, as usual. The election clerk gave the two disputed democratic members certificates. In December the democrats swore in forty-two members, including Pugh and Pierce, of Hamilton county; and the whigs thirty-two, including Spencer and Runyon, contestants. Neither side would act with the other, and two inchoate houses were organized; but neither had the two-thirds majority necessary for a quorum. The dead-lock was broken by an agreement that the seventy uncontested members should organize the house, and Pugh and Pierce were seated, Jan. 26, 1849, by a vote of 32 to 31. Chase's election as United States senator in 1849 seems to have been at least partially influenced by this dispute. A strong anti-slavery element had always existed in the state democratic party, represented by such leaders as Thomas Morris and Benjamin Tappan. In this legislature the whigs and free-soil whigs together exactly equaled the numbers of the democrats, and the balance of power was held by two independent free-soilers. These agreed to vote with the democrats on nominations for state officers if the latter would repeal the "black laws" of the state against negroes (see
—In 1846 and 1848 the whig candidate for governor, Bebb, was elected by a narrow majority in both cases (116,900 to 114,570, and 147,738 to 146,461); but in 1848 the electoral votes were democratic by a plurality. In 1850 Wood, a democrat, was elected governor by a vote of 133,093 to 121,105 whig, and 13,802 free-soil; and in 1853 the vote for Medill, democrat, was 147,663 to 85,820 whig, and 50,346 free-soil. In 1854 the whig and free-soil vote was united under the name of the republican party. Its first state convention was held at Columbus, July 13, 1854; and its nominee for governor, Chase, was elected in 1855 by a vote of 146,641 to 131,091 for Medill, and 24,310 for Trimble (American). The legislature was heavily republican in both branches, and the congressional delegation of twenty-one members was unanimously republican. In 1856 the electoral vote of the state was given to Fremont; it has since been given to the republican candidates invariably, the only very close popular vote being in 1876, when Hayes received 330,698, Tilden 323,182, and 4,769 were scattering.
—From 1856 until 1860 the republicans held general control of the state, though in 1857 a democratic legislature was chosen, and Gov. Chase was only re-elected by 1,481 majority over Henry B. Payne. During all this period the old national road through the middle of the state (see
—In 1873 the democrats nominated for governor William Allen, who had not been in political life since his retirement from the senate in 1849, and he defeated Governor Noyes by a vote of 214,654 to 213,837, and 20,387 scattering. The legislature was also democratic, but the other state officers elected were republicans. In 1875 the republicans brought back ex-Governor Hayes as a candidate, and he defeated Allen by a plurality of 5,644, the legislature again becoming republican. This success obtained for Governor Hayes the republican nomination for the presidency in the following year. The state has since remained republican, except that in 1877, on a light vote, the democrats elected the governor and a majority of both branches of the legislature. The new legislature proceeded to change the congressional districts of the state, which had been laid out after the census of 1870, and to reorganize the state institutions, so as to obtain a party control of them; but its work in both respects was undone by the following legislature, which was republican.
—During the period 1868-75 the political contests of Ohio were of national importance from the attitude of the parties. In the democratic party the "Ohio idea," that United States bonds not specifically payable in coin should be paid in "greenbacks," and that national bank notes should be superseded by government issues of paper money, had obtained control, under the leadership at first of Pendleton, and then of Ewing; and the republican party had been gradually forced to take a "hard money" attitude. The Allen-Noyes and Hayes-Allen canvasses had taken this direction; and both the success of Hayes and the defeat of Allen in 1875 had a strong influence on the party platforms of the next year, which ended the question. Since that time the regulation of the liquor traffic has become a leading question. (See
—From 1860 until 1883 the republicans had a majority of the state's congressmen, except in 1875-7 and 1879-81. In the congress of 1883-5 there are thirteen democratic representatives and eight republicans; and the legislature is (1884) democratic by sixty to fifteen in the house, and twenty-two to eleven in the senate.
—Among the state's political leaders have been S. P. Chase, J. A. Garfield, W. H. Harrison, R. B. Hayes, John McLean, George H. Pendleton, John Sherman, E. M. Stanton, A. G. Thurman, and Benj. F. Wade (see those names), and the following: William Allen, democratic congressman 1833-5; United States senator 1837-49, and governor 1874-6; James M. Ashley, republican congressman 1859-69; John A. Bingham, republican congressman 1855-63 and 1865-73, and minister to Japan since 1873; David K. Cartter, democratic congressman 1849-53, minister to Bolivia 1861-2, and since 1863 chief justice of the District of Columbia; S. F. Cary, republican congressman 1867-9, democratic candidate for lieutenant governor in 1875, and greenback candidate for vice-president in 1876; Thomas Corwin, whig congressman 1831-40, governor 1840-42, United States senator 1845-50, secretary of the treasury under Fillmore 1850-53, republican congressman 1859-61, and minister to Mexico 1861-4; Jacob D. Cox, major general of volunteers, governor 1866-8, secretary of the interior under Grant 1869-70, and republican congressman 1877-9; Samuel S. Cox, democratic congressman 1857-65, and democratic congressman from New York 1869-85; Columbus Delano, whig congressman 1845-7, republican congressman 1865-9, and secretary of the interior 1870-75; Thomas Ewing, whig United States senator 1831-7 and 1850-51, secretary of the treasury under Harrison 1841, and of the interior under Taylor 1849-50; Thomas Ewing (son of the preceding), democratic congressman 1877-9; Joshua R. Giddings, anti-slavery whig and free-soil congressman 1838-59, and consul general of Canada 1861-4; Walter Q. Gresham, postmaster general in 1883; Wm. S. Groesbeck, democratic congressman 1857-9; Joseph W. Keifer, republican congressman 1877-85, and speaker 1881-3; William Lawrence, republican congressman 1865-71 and 1873-7; Stanley Matthews, republican United States senator 1877-9, and justice of the United States supreme court since 1881; John A. McMahon, democratic congressman 1875-83; Return J. Meigs, democratic United States senator 1809-10, governor 1810-14, and postmaster general 1814-23 (see
—See authorities under ORDINANCE OF 1787 for the territorial history; 2 Poore's Federal and State Constitutions; Chase's Statutes of Ohio; Schucker's Life of S. P. Chase; Moris' Life of Thomas Morris; Taylor's History of Ohio; Atwater's History of Ohio; Mitchener's Annals of Ohio; Way's Toledo War; Carpenter's History of Ohio; Studer's History of Columbus, O.; Reid's Ohio in the War (the election of 1863 is at 1:153); Report of Secretary of State, 1873 (for governors); 2 Stat. at Large, 58, 173, 201 (for acts of May 7, 1800, April 30, 1802, and Feb. 19, 1803).
Return to top