Buckeye Presidents: Ohioans in the White House

Buckeye Presidents: Ohioans in the White House

Buckeye Presidents: Ohioans in the White House

Buckeye Presidents: Ohioans in the White House

Excerpt

The Mother of U.S. Presidents—an impressive claim, and one that applies legitimately to only two of the nation’s fifty states, Ohio and Virginia. Between them they have provided the republic with fifteen of its presidents. One of the fifteen, William Henry Harrison, is a hybrid who is properly associated with both Ohio and Virginia. His experience reflected that of many Americans during the early decades of U.S. history: born in one of the thirteen British colonies, grew up during the tumultuous Revolutionary era, and then in early adulthood relocated beyond the Appalachian chain to settle and pursue a new life in America’s first West. In addition to Harrison, seven Ohioans have piloted the United States from the White House: Ulysses S. Grant, Rutherford B. Hayes, James A. Garfield, Benjamin Harrison, William McKinley, William Howard Taft, and Warren G. Harding. An equal number of Virginians have been the nation’s chief executive: George Washington, Thomas Jefferson, James Madison, James Monroe, William Henry Harrison, John Tyler, Zachary Taylor, and Woodrow Wilson.

The presidents associated with Virginia and Ohio directed the affairs of the United States during two critical eras. During the nation’s formative period, from the birth of the federal republic in the 1780s through 1850 and the mounting hostility between North and South, seven of the nation’s twelve presidents were from the Old Dominion. In the six decades following 1865 and the end of America’s Civil War, as modern America emerged, seven of the nation’s twelve presidents were Buckeyes. Each helped guide the United States in its transformation from a rural, agrarian, diplomatically isolationist society into a wealthy and powerful commercial and industrial nation, one that became an increasingly major player in global geopolitics. Ohio was so dominant and maintained such a compelling hold on national and presidential politics from the Civil War through World War I that when Republican Warren G. Harding of Marion ran for the presidency in 1920 his opponent was none other than another Ohioan, Democrat James Cox of Dayton.

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