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VERY intelligent man is a factor in the construction of government, even though he may occupy but a humble sphere in life. Likewise each has more or less influence in the politics of the day. Political platforms and tenets are not the creation of one man nor of a limited number of individuals, but are the perfected ideas of many persons concerning fundamental doctrines of government expressed in such a manner as to best present to the public the principal beliefs of them all. Members of the same political organization may differ as to minor particulars and may not be strictly in accord with all the declarations of a National or State platform, but they must necessarily believe in the great underlying principles upon which it is founded Such were the conditions when the Republican party of Ohio was organized. The repeal of the Missouri Compromise caused a merging of all the anti-slavery advocates of the State into a compact union. There was a cohesion of forces, that, until 1854, had been antagonistic, which mutually agreed to ignore minor differences and to unite upon a platform having for its foundation opposition to the extension of the traffic in human chattels. It was a great plan of action far in advance of any that had been attempted in all the years of the past, and, as it afterward developed, was the death blow to slavery. Since that time the Republican party has ever been the party of progress and true reform, meeting with determination all new questions as they have arisen and dealing with them in the interests of the whole people.
The history of a political party comprises not only a record of its promises and accomplished acts, but interwoven in these are the lives and deeds of the men who mold its opinions, guard its good name and, in a great measure, shape its destiny. No man is greater than his party, but, on the contrary, the party is superior to all who achieve prominence through it. Nevertheless, almost every decade there is developed a leader whose personality seems in a remarkable degree to dominate an entire political organization, first in his own State and then in the Nation at large. These men are born leaders. The Republican party of Ohio has had its full share of men who seem to have been especially destined for such distinguished service, and we have faith to believe it will in the future be equally as fortunate.
At the very beginning of the career of the party the most casual observer of political events could not have failed to perceive that Ohio Republicans were to occupy a prominent position in its destiny. No one could have imagined, however, that they were to furnish the Nation with several of its Presidents and many other of its most distinguished party
If so, no doubt there would have been a more available record of the party preThat a comprehensive history of the Republican party in Ohio should be prepared at this late date was a decision more easily conceived than executed. Nearly half a century has passed away since the preliminary movement toward organization first assumed shape, and the only records of its annual declarations and acts are contained in the newspapers of the times. Such of these as have been preserved are comparatively few in number and are almost inaccessible to the general public, lacking, in the earlier years especially, many essential particulars. The aim of this work has been to secure from the files of the leading papers and from other reliable sources a report of the Republican State Convention for each year, including the platform, extracts from the more important addresses, with the addition of short references to the principal events of the campaign, the election statistics, and brief sketches of the candidates, and to compile this information in as interesting and succinct a form as possible. To narrate the founding, upbuilding and great progress of the party is our main purpose. A roster of delegates for the earlier years has been incorporated in the text, but only the names of the officers of the conventions and those composing the various committees are given for the later years. A perusal of these will reveal the names of many men who afterward attained great prominence in the State and Nation-more than could be found in similar lists for the same years in any other of our great commonwealths. This is perhaps not to be wondered at, for considering the size of the population of the State, the cosmopolitan character of the people, their influence, and the instant espousal of Republicanism by a majority of them, Ohio might with propriety lay claim to the title of Pioneer Republican State."
In compiling the history of the Republican party for any State, it is perhaps necessary, that it may be intelligible to the casual reader, to at least outline the leading acts of the party at large, as well as those of the principal opposing political organization. Especially is this applicable to Ohio, since the State has been so prominent in National affairs during the past forty years. Such a plan has been followed to a limited extent in this work. But to have included all the important and noteworthy political incidents for nearly fifty years in connection with the Republican party alone, would have required, for a considerable length of time, a large force of writers, and have made a series of volumes equal almost to the number of years that have elapsed since its organization. The labor of collecting material, collating the facts, comparing and harmonizing different accounts of conventions, and condensing the reports for publication, has been a much greater task than could have been foreseen readily or that is likely to be appreciated by the inexperienced. No two accounts agree as to the names of delegates or committeemen to the Republican State Conventions, or always as to the counties they represented, and it has required time and labor to get these as accurate as they are. There may be errorsdoubtless there are many in individual names, but we believe that as a work of reference this history will be found to be incomparably more complete than any similar work of the same character undertaken in any other State of the Union, and on a plan not attempted elsewhere; and, as such, we feel sure it will be appreciated by the public.
Delegates to National Convention, 1856..
Democratic National Conventions, 1860.
Democratic State Convention, 1888..