Cox—The Man by Babson, Roger Ward
[Illustration: © _Underwood and Underwood_ COX--THE MAN]
BY ROGER W. BABSON
NEW YORK BRENTANO’S 1920
COPYRIGHT, 1920 BY ROGER W. BABSON
_All rights reserved_
Never has there been a presidential election when so many voters were undecided as to what to do. This especially applies to a great group of Republicans who favor the United States joining the League of Nations on some such basis as Governor Cox proposes, but who hesitate to endorse the Democrats on account of associations. These people like the Democratic platform and the Cox program much better than the Republican platform and the Harding program; but, not knowing James M. Cox, they, by instinct, hesitate to endorse him.
In view of this condition, Roger W. Babson, the noted statistician, presents a study of Mr. Cox’s life. Mr. Babson is not a personal friend of Mr. Cox but he has known him for some time, and has carefully studied his work. The following is his story of James M. Cox as a father, a citizen, and a leader for righteousness. It will be found both helpful and interesting. THE PUBLISHERS
CHAPTER PAGE I. BOYHOOD DAYS 1 II. EARLY MANHOOD 12 III. BUSINESS LIFE 21 IV. HOME AFFILIATIONS 33 V. PUBLIC CAREER 41 VI. WAR RECORD 52 VII. PROHIBITION AND WOMAN SUFFRAGE 62 VIII. INDUSTRIAL RELATIONS 71 IX. NOMINATION FOR THE PRESIDENCY 84 X. LEAGUE OF NATIONS 92 XI. OTHER FUNDAMENTAL PRINCIPLES 101 XII. HIS RECORD 114
James Middleton Cox was born in Jacksonburg, Ohio, March 31st, 1870, the son of Gilbert and Eliza A. Cox. Jacksonburg is about six miles west of Middletown, Ohio, which was the business center for the district and the place which is today looked upon as the Governor’s home. The old house is still standing. It is of brick, two stories, with a pitched roof. Although Jacksonburg is a small village, rather deserted at the present time, the house looks as if the family was in average circumstances for those days.
Gilbert Cox, the Governor’s father, operated a small farm which he had inherited from his father, whose name was also Gilbert. There were seven children, of which James was the youngest. All seven children are still living. William keeps a store at Dayton; Scott is in the office of the _Dayton News_; John is also in Dayton; and Charles works in the automobile industry in Detroit. Of the two sisters, one is Anna--the wife of Mr. John Q. Baker--and the other is now Mrs. William Kroskopp, of Dayton. According to the neighbors, Gilbert Cox was a severe man and brought up his son to work, although this applies to most boys brought up on a farm. It was largely all work and no play for children in those days. From early morning until late at night boys were then kept busy. Moreover, history shows that such hard work has hurt very few.
The chief recreation was to go down in the evening to Shafer’s store, which still exists on the corner. When the weather was good, the boys used to play outside of the store in the moonlight; but when the wet and cold weather came, they were allowed inside to talk with the older men or watch them play checkers. All of the residents remember James as a boy, and several of them remember his characteristics. When he got into Shafer’s store, he would either be discussing with the men political problems, or else would be over in one corner, under the old kerosene lamp, with his head buried in a good book.
He attended the little red brick schoolhouse of the neighborhood, but the people say his father often could not let him attend in the fall until sometime after the classes had begun. It was necessary to keep him home to help husk the corn. Some of his teachers can still be found. These teachers speak well of the boy, and one especially remarked upon his memory. He also seems to have then shown some interest in questions relating to social justice. While international problems and industrial problems were not at that time prominent before the American public, the boy apparently took a keen interest in the minor events which were reported in the newspapers of their day.
The neighbors like to tell of the boy’s integrity and courage. It apparently was very noticeable. The Shafers, who owned the country store, are still alive, and they comment upon the boy’s energy. Experience has taught me that the elderly are apt to remember only the good things about their children and grandchildren as the years roll by. Therefore, one is prepared to hear a good deal of such talk. But in the case of Cox there is a distinctly impressive earnestness about these comments of the elders.
When the boy was in his teens, his mother left Jacksonburg and went to Middletown, Ohio. What the reason for this was I do not know. Later a formal separation took place and the father married again. He is now living at Camden, Ohio. Although James has always been fond of his father and now often motors over to Camden to see him, his real friend was the mother. The tie between the boy, the man, and the mother was quite exceptional. She lived to the ripe old age of eighty-one, having died only three years ago. Mr. Cox says that the greatest pleasure he ever obtained from being Governor was to have his mother witness his inauguration. In this connection, I shall mention a story which I heard in Dayton.
Mr. Cox was nominated for the Presidency at the San Francisco Convention late on the night of July 6th. He was sitting in the office of the _Dayton News_ with his wife, watching the press dispatches as they came over the wire. Finally, the news came that he had been nominated on the final ballot. He seemed stunned for two or three minutes, and then rose, went across the room, kissed his wife, took her by the arm, and the two went home. The people of Dayton knew nothing about it until they read the papers the next morning. Therefore, the Governor had a few hours to himself. How did he use them? I am told that he got up early, ate a light breakfast and went out to his mother’s grave. There he stayed for a few moments in meditation and prayer. Then he came quickly back to where the people already were gathering to meet him. From that moment up to this writing, he has been in a whirl of excitement, but those few moments at his mother’s grave apparently gave him a start in the right direction. This right start has enabled him to meet squarely and answer honestly the pressing questions which continually come to him.
THE UNITED BRETHREN
The United Brethren in Christ have their headquarters in the Otterbein Press Building at Dayton, Ohio. Bishop A. T. Howard, D. D., and other prominent men in that denomination live in Dayton and vicinity. There are a great many adherents to this denomination thruout Ohio and adjoining states.
The United Brethren is distinctly an American religious sect, which was originated in the latter half of the Eighteenth Century under the leadership of Philip William Otterbein. Altho this man was pastor of the Second Reformed Church in Baltimore and had for his associate Martin Boehm, a noted Pennsylvanian preacher, the movement worked westerly to Ohio and Indiana. Otterbein and Boehm did a great work and their followers and teachings distinctly influenced the early life of Mr. Cox.
The ecclesiastical policy of the church is Wesleyan; but its theology is Arminian. Arminius was a Dutch theologian who was one of the first to oppose the stern teachings of Calvin which had been carried so far as to almost eliminate the freedom of will. Arminius started a new sect in Europe which took a much more liberal position, which insisted that man can have the assistance of God and man, but is of himself free and able to perform right or wrong.
The United Brethren believe in the sovereignty of God, but that it is so exercised as to permit the freedom of man. Thus James M. Cox spent his early years in an atmosphere which was saturated with this spirit of freedom as opposed to the arbitrary use of force or even legislation. Without doubt this early teaching influenced Mr. Cox’s entire life. As one reads his speeches on Internationalism, Industrial Relations, and especially Prohibition, the theology of Otterbein and Boehm is quite apparent. Altho he is now attending with his wife the Episcopal Church, he is still a member of the United Brethren and instinctively a follower of that religion.
JOINS THE CHURCH
Just before reaching the little village of Jacksonburg, there is an ancient brick church which James M. Cox’s grandfather and another relative, James Craig, helped to build. Here James’ father was superintendent of the Sunday School. It was in this little old church that the boy received the early religious training to which I have referred. The pastor was a consecrated man of evangelistic tendencies, and the boy’s heart was apparently reached early in life. While in his teens he joined the church. They state he was an active worker for a boy of his age, although doubtless many other boys have as good or better record. In addition to his speaking and teaching in Sunday School, he rang the bell, swept out the church, and did other things to make himself useful.
When asked about the old church, Mr. Cox said:
“There were two churches in our township: the Presbyterian and the United Brethren. Both father and mother belonged to the United Brethren Church and father was trustee. As you know from your visit to Jacksonburg, this old United Brethren Church is still a running institution. I became a member of it when I was about fifteen and was baptized in Elk Creek, a stream two miles east of Jacksonburg. I have always felt indebted to the old church and have never transferred my membership. The pastors when I was a boy were Reverends Mayne, Dunkleberger and Kilbourne. The Reverend Fout came after I went to Middletown but I remember him as well as the presiding elders, Reverends McKee, Burkett and others. I even remember the visits of dear old Doctor William J. Shuey, who is well known among the United Brethren people altho others may not know him.”
After going to Middletown, he attended there with his mother the Methodist Church, as no United Brethren Church then existed in Middletown. He gave to the church and his mother all the time which his work and study would permit. He was especially interested in the church library and became its best patron. He was instrumental in having the church give a dramatic entertainment entitled “The Hoosier School Master” for the benefit of the church library. Many other anecdotes are told which show his interest and energy.
In Middletown he lived with his sister Anna, at what is now 105 Third Street. She married John Q. Baker, who is today postmaster of Middletown, Ohio. Various stories have been published about the boy’s poverty and struggles; but these are not justified by the existing evidence. He had as good an opportunity as most boys brought up on a farm. He perhaps made better use of them than many boys have; but to no great extent. The truth probably is that he was sick of farm work and wanted to get to the city. He also perhaps wanted more schooling than Jacksonburg provided. He perhaps also wanted to be near his mother.
As a sidelight on his interest in his mother, I will record one more incident which was told me in Middletown. The day following his nomination for the Presidency, and after receiving congratulations at his home in Dayton and speaking to his workmen on the _Dayton News_, Mr. Cox motored to his old home in Middletown. The friends and neighbors of his boyhood days insisted on giving him a reception. They wanted it to be held in the Sorg Opera House; but he suggested that they have it in front of the old home where he and his mother lived at the corner of Third and Broad Streets. The good people of Middletown took the suggestion and erected a platform in front of the old house. It is now occupied by Kessel’s Clothing Store and law offices. From this platform the Governor spoke. Strange to say, this old house was the birthplace of former Governor Campbell of Ohio, who led the Cox delegates at the San Francisco Convention.
Mr. Baker--the sister’s husband--was somewhat older and was a teacher at the High School in Amanda, which is three miles south of Middletown. It was this Amanda School which the boy attended. “If there ever was a boy who went to school for business, it was Jimmy,” says Mr. Baker. “Not only did he work very hard at school, but he continually plied me with questions as we used to walk back and forth along the Miami Canal.” According to Mr. Baker, his only recreation seemed to be arguing. “He did like to argue,” says Mr. Baker. “If there were no debates at school or at the country grocery store, he would seek the street corner.”
For some reason or other, the boy attended school in Middletown for only a year. I think he did not graduate. Perhaps they did not have graduations in those days. The school, however, was the best in that section of the country. The old farmers tell me it was called the “Gilt Edge School” by the taxpayers, because it always required so much money. Certainly it paid good wages for such days, as the records show that Mr. Baker got one hundred dollars a month. It contained three large rooms.
In short, Mr. Cox’s boyhood was similar to that of most boys brought up on a farm. The magazine writers like to embellish it with tales of misfortune and struggle; but the facts do not justify such stories. He had a fair chance and was especially fortunate in receiving the help which came from his brother-in-law, Mr. Baker.
James M. Cox’s earliest recollection is of being set on the kitchen floor inside of a big old-fashioned horse collar. This enabled him to play and crawl around without getting into mischief while his mother did the house work. When I spoke of the incident to one of his own neighbors, the neighbor grunted and said to me:
“Guess they put Jimmy in the horse collar so he would get used to one. He was usually getting one on or off an old horse. Certainly if any boy was brought up to work, Jimmy Cox was.”
FIRST REAL JOB
Upon leaving the Amanda School, the boy did not go back to the farm. He was determined to get to work, and was willing to do almost anything else, honorable, in order to get a start. He earned money at several odd jobs. He acted as tutor, as janitor, as newsboy and as printer’s devil. His first regular work after leaving school was teaching in “the little red school house.” Many thought he would be a school teacher for life, being so much interested in history, geography and other subjects. He seemed to have a natural knack for seeking the truth and teaching it to others. Those who remember him say that he stood for more liberty than did the other teachers and allowed the scholars more freedom. On the other hand, they say, he took much more pains in explaining to the boys and girls what is right and what is wrong. In those days, school teaching was more of a physical than an intellectual task. Corporal punishment was in vogue, and a school teacher was supposed not to argue but to rule with the aid of a rod. Cox disagreed with this custom and preferred the now accepted methods of teaching. Instead of relying for discipline upon a piece of bamboo, he appealed to the hearts and the reason of his scholars.
Among the schools in which he taught were the Tytus School, which was two miles north of Middletown, and the Rockdale School, which is in Liberty, a township several miles down the valley. These were all little one-room buildings. Cox taught three terms.
Mr. Cox tells me that he owes much to these early years of school teaching. His success in leading, rather than driving, men may be due to these early experiences. Perhaps his attitude on many current questions was really determined by his experience with his scholars in the little red school house. He believes that human nature is the same today as then, and the same in Massachusetts and California as in Ohio. He believes all men should be educated and led rather than driven and forced. Hence he is opposed to the use of clubs or bayonets by either capital or labor so far as possible also he is opposed to the use of force in solving international questions. He believes in creating, through religion and education, within the people’s hearts, a desire for better things.
ENTERS NEWSPAPER WORK
During the summers and on Saturdays he did newspaper work of various kinds. The printing press and its product always had a great fascination for him. I am told he had from the first the natural instincts of a successful reporter and was exceedingly good at writing headlines. I asked him why he leaned so to the newspaper business, and he replied:
“My mother taught me that I should lead others,--that I should be a worker and a leader, rather than a loafer and a follower. Hence I went into school teaching, although doubtless I was glad to get a job of any kind. One day, however, I was impressed with the opportunity of becoming a much bigger teacher by reaching a great many more people thru a newspaper. It was with this idea that I went into newspaper work when the opportunity came and gave up the classroom.”
He was now twenty-one years old. He had reached the time when he must decide upon his life work. Mr. Baker tells me that he told the boy he should either be a school teacher or a newspaper man and not try to be both. Mr. Baker was apparently very strict with him and insisted that he should keep regular hours and apply himself closely to work. The boy loved to read and argue, which had a tendency to interfere with his daily tasks. He spent his Sundays either at church or amidst his books. He read the classics through and through. He loved biography and history. His friends tell me that he would read not only the best; but he would urge them to do likewise.
While James was teaching school, Baker had purchased the _Middletown News-Signal_. As already stated, the young man worked upon this at odd times. Now, however, he gave it all his time and served as reporter, make-up man and pressman or typesetter, as necessity called. In addition to working for the _Middletown News-Signal_, Cox was also a country correspondent for the _Cincinnati Enquirer_, the leading paper of that section.
GOES TO CINCINNATI
One day a railroad wreck occurred at Heno, Ohio, a village near Middletown, and several employees of the National Cash Register Company of Dayton, Ohio, who were on a picnic, were killed. Altho the various Cincinnati papers had several correspondents along the line of the railroad, Cox was apparently the only reporter who got his story in on time. His energy and versatility apparently so appealed to the managing editor of the _Cincinnati Enquirer_ that they offered him a position on the _Enquirer_. Mr. Baker of the _News-Signal_ advised him to accept it. In speaking about the Cox of those days, one of his associates says:
 The wreck was on what was then the Cincinnati, Hamilton & Dayton Railroad. The line is now owned by the Baltimore & Ohio Railroad Company.
“Cox’s success was due to his ability to understand and talk the language of the average man. He seemed to have the ability to keep in touch with the aspirations and thoughts of his fellow citizens.”
Jim Falkner, the veteran political editor of the _Cincinnati Enquirer_, says that Cox’s stories were notable for their simplicity. They not only told the facts, but they were told in a way which the average man understood, believing he was getting a square deal. According to the records, Cox started with the _Cincinnati Enquirer_ at $20.00 a week. That was in 1892. He worked for the _Enquirer_ diligently for two years.
From all accounts, Cox’s work on the _Enquirer_ was satisfactory, although nothing extraordinary. Altho now in the twenties, he had risen quite rapidly in newspaper work. From the _News-Signal_, at $6.00 a week and board, to the regular staff of the _Cincinnati Enquirer_ was a fair jump. He apparently enjoyed the work, and the editors apparently liked him. It is said that he might be there today had it not been for a certain incident. Various accounts are told regarding this event, but the most authentic account is as follows:
A story was brought in by Cox which reflected on one of the big railroads operating in Ohio. The story was truthful and well written, but it was very displeasing to the railroad interests. These complained to the editor of the _Cincinnati Enquirer_. The editor was in a quandary as to what to do. He could not discharge Cox because of the truthfulness and excellence of the story; while he could not offend the railroad people by keeping Cox at such work against their wishes. Finally he hit upon the happy idea of promoting Cox to a different position. According to all reports, this was distinctly a better position, but the extra money did not appeal to Cox. He apparently felt that a moral principle was involved. If his newspaper story was untrue, he was willing to be discharged, but if the story was true he believed that his editor should reprimand the railroad company for complaining. Apparently the editor did not agree with him, and thereupon Cox resigned.
COX IN WASHINGTON
In 1894, Paul J. Sorg, of Middletown, was elected to Congress to fill an unexpired term of Congressman George W. Houk. For some time Cox apparently had been desirous of going to Washington to have a larger opportunity than the newspaper work afforded him. Some of his friends say that he was disappointed at what he found in the big city newspaper. One there lacks the freedom of expression which all red-blooded men love. In the city newspaper he came in conflict with interests which, while at Middletown, he did not know even existed. The little country newspaper is a simple community affair, but the big city daily is by nature a great commercial enterprise. Cox was perhaps disappointed in the commercialism of it all. Apparently his desire from the first was to improve conditions and lead his fellow men toward a healthier, happier and more prosperous life. He had hoped to do it first thru school teaching, then thru newspaper work, but now he felt that perhaps his opportunity was to be found in Washington. He thereupon applied to Congressman Sorg for a position as private secretary, and went to Washington for this work. Congressman Sorg talked the matter over with Mr. Baker, and they agreed that it would be a good undertaking both for the Congressman and for young Cox.
Sorg was a self-made man, who had accumulated considerable money in the tobacco business by energy and industry. Mr. Cox doubtless had these same qualities then as he has them today. At any rate, he appealed to Sorg, and off Cox went to Washington. Sorg finished out that term and was re-elected. Again Cox went to Washington with him. Congressman Sorg, however, did not care for political life. His health began to fail, and with it his mind. After two terms, he did not seek re-election. He returned to Ohio in 1897 and Cox went back home with him. Mr. Sorg is now dead, but Mrs. Sorg is still living in Middletown. She is a woman of very large means. They all returned to Ohio together in 1897.
In talking with men familiar with Cox in those days, all say that he was a great worker and had tremendous energy; but he insists he was no more industrious than are the secretaries of most Congressmen. It is his experience that they all have to work. The success attained by many political leaders is due to their secretaries. Mr. Cox himself owes much of his success in recent years to the very efficient secretary which he had during his last two terms as Governor. I refer to Mr. Charles E. Morris.
Congressman Sorg apparently was much pleased with Mr. Cox’s work in Washington. Cox was doubtless of great benefit to Congressman Sorg, as the Congressman’s health was very poor. It is generally agreed that what the Congressman did accomplish in Washington was due largely to the energy, industry and integrity of his private secretary.
One day the Congressman and young Cox were talking over the future together. The Congressman explained that he wanted to go back to Ohio, and Mr. Cox told of his ambitions to go back to Ohio and have a paper of his own in which he could freely write unhampered by any interests. This talk was during the business depression of 1897, when many newspapers, as well as other business enterprises, were in financial difficulties. Mr. Sorg suggested that if one were to buy a newspaper, this was a good time to do it. Shortly after this Cox learned that the _Dayton News_ was on the market and could be purchased cheaply.
BUYS DAYTON NEWS
The business men of Dayton tell me that the _News_ was then about as hopeless an enterprise as could be imagined. It was operating at a loss, its press was falling to pieces and its reputation was nil. However, Mr. Cox insisted that he could be happier with a bankrupt paper of his own, than with a great prosperous metropolitan daily owned by others. Like so many other young newspaper men, he asked himself, “What shall it profit a man if he gain the whole world and lose his own soul?” Thus, with the help of Mr. Sorg, Cox purchased control of the _Dayton News_.
When one visits Dayton today and sees the beautiful and modern printing plant which this paper now possesses, he respects James M. Cox. It not only is a monument to his energy and industry, but shows that success comes from printing the truth unhampered and uncolored. This has been illustrated in many other cases. Even certain great metropolitan dailies which today are so allied with the reactionary interests, won their original success by independently serving the people.
The _Dayton News_ was the life of James M. Cox. According to all accounts he “ate, drank and slept” his newspaper. He determined its policy, he wrote the editorials, he made up the head lines and he read the proofs. When anybody asked him what he thought on certain subjects, he would invariably reply, “Read the _Dayton News_. I have said in that paper what I think and I can say no more.”
Dayton merchants speak well of Mr. Cox; but are not enthusiastic about him. They look upon him as a successful business man, altho they don’t especially like his paper. He apparently made many enemies by once getting into a fight with the National Cash Register Co. which wanted Dayton to make certain improvements. The _Dayton News_ insisted that these improvements would be unfair to the rest of the city and fought them. Much feeling was developed upon both sides. Who was right I cannot prove; but those who really know Cox cannot help believing that he was.
ACQUIRES A SPRINGFIELD PAPER
A few years later, Cox found another paper for sale in Springfield, Ohio, and purchased it. This paper was then known as the _Springfield Press Republic_, but the same has since been changed to the _News_. This was in 1903. Overnight the _News_ changed its name and its politics. The circulation of this paper is now about 18,000 daily and Sunday. The circulation of the _Dayton News_ is about 38,000 daily and 28,000 on Sunday. Both papers have very beautiful stone buildings, the Dayton building having been erected in 1908 and the Springfield building a few years ago. Both are monuments to James M. Cox’s industry, enterprise and foresight. On the other hand, one is not surprised at his business success after once working with him. A man with such energy and good judgment could not help getting on.
James M. Cox is surely a conservative business man. His two papers are profitable and all with newspaper experience know it requires much ability to successfully run a newspaper. Moreover, this success doubtless has been due to his ability to surround himself with able and conscientious men. He knows men and can select them with great skill. I was one day talking over his business career with a number of prominent Middletown business men. I asked: “To what do you ascribe the Governor’s great business success?”
With one breath they all answered: “To hard work.”
Unlike many business men, Mr. Cox has practically no outside interests. He has concentrated upon his papers endeavoring to give them the very best within him. This concentration has also had the additional advantage of keeping him independent. Although interested in the Ohio Cities Gas Company, he has no entangling alliances with railroads, street railways, banks or industrials of any kind. He is dependent upon prosperity; but he has no favorites. He wants every industry to prosper. Hence, perhaps, his campaign motto: “Peace, Progress and Prosperity.”
Cox always had the Crusader’s spirit. He says, however, that he deserves no credit for it, but crusaded because he enjoyed the struggle. Apart from his quarrel with the National Cash Register people, he had a conflict with the Appleyard Traction Syndicate, which owned the Dayton, Springfield & Urbana Street Railway Company, and which later built the Central Market Street Railway in Columbus. Being myself then interested in selling the bonds of these companies, I personally came into contact at that time with the “crusading” of the Cox newspapers. The properties had been financed with Boston money, and we naturally did not like the attitude which Cox then took, through his papers, against us. Although I felt keenly at the time and still feel that Cox overstated the case in his fight, I am now convinced that we were wrong. At any rate, he succeeded, while Mr. Appleyard has now passed on and the traction business is about gone.
The people of Ohio say that it was Mr. John Q. Baker who made Mr. Cox the true and courageous man that he is. I once spent a day with Mr. Baker. We visited together Mr. Cox’s old home at Jacksonburg, and then motored to his beautiful residence at the outskirts of Dayton. If I am any judge of men, Mr. Baker is one of the finest God ever made. Although he has only one child--who is married to Professor Howard, of the Psychology Department of Northwestern University, Chicago--he is very fond of boys.
He is a great believer in honesty, work, and promptness. He says that he always urged “Jimmie” to avoid the loafers. “Don’t hang around the loafers,” he would say, “they never do anyone any good. Aim high--always have an aim. He who has no aim in life never amounts to anything.”
So James M. Cox had an aim. Mr. Baker gave him biography to read. The man became infatuated with Jackson, Lincoln, and Jefferson. He determined to be like them. Hence, when Mr. Sorg offered him the choice of entering the newspaper or the tobacco business, James Cox took the former--according to his original purpose--at a much smaller income.
HUMAN NATURE STUDENT
In addition to possessing great integrity and courage, Mr. Cox is a wonderful student of human nature. He has remarkable judgment and intuition. These very necessary and practical traits acquired during years of business experience he has put into his public work. This has been especially noticeable in connection with his appointments. Also in his handling of labor troubles. Also in the work which he has done with the state institutions, and in interviewing those seeking pardon.
One of the last made a great fight for freedom. Petitions were circulated in his behalf and many people sought the Governor for his release. Finally the Governor sent for the man. He also was impressed by his appearance and was almost on the point of pardoning him when he noticed that he could not hold the man’s eye. Thereupon the Governor took him by the hand, looked him in the face and said:
“My friend you can lie to me, but you can never lie to society. You can secure your freedom from jail, but never your freedom from your own consciousness. You must always live with yourself. Better be honest and in jail than dishonest and outside. Are you guilty or not?”
The man hung his head and replied:
“Governor--I am guilty.”
The business career of Mr. Cox has not been confined to the publication of his newspapers. His business career has been most intimately interwoven with his public career. That is to say, he administered his office as Governor in a most business-like way. For the first time in the history of Ohio, the State business was carried on in an efficient manner. Four illustrations come to my mind.
During his first term, the state of Ohio was greatly crippled by a most devastating flood. The water ways of the Miami Valley broke loose and did untold damage. Several plans were suggested for preventing a recurrence. Naturally the people preferred the least expensive plan and the one which would require the least immediate sacrifice. Mr. Cox took an entirely different position. He insisted that the people of Ohio had an obligation to those who would be living fifty or a hundred years hence. With great foresight, he insisted on the adoption of a remedy which would be permanent. This, however, required a vast amount of legislation. While urging this legislation, he met with much opposition. The permanent plan, however, was finally adopted and Dayton and the Miami Valley are now free from danger.
Governor Cox insisted that the state adopt a budget system. With politicians, budgets are very unpopular. Altho all large business enterprises are operated on the budget system, yet few states and municipalities have them. One of the first things that Mr. Cox did when governor was to get Ohio to adopt a budget system. He also introduced more equitable methods of taxation with the purpose of encouraging improvements and discouraging hoarding of property or opportunities. With this budget system and readjusted taxes, the state of Ohio was able to get thru the strain of the war and the reconstruction period following without the additional taxation of legitimate business. Probably no state in the union was able to meet the strains of the war with so little difficulty as Ohio, and this was due--so far as I can learn--to the state being operated on a business basis and in a business-like way.
Another simple illustration: Like other states Ohio has a state farm, upon which it has certain cattle. When Mr. Cox came into office, this state farm was being operated at a distinct loss and the cattle were more or less of a nondescript nature. The Governor immediately called for blooded stock and finally he was given a small appropriation. He got one good bull and a few good heifers, altho the people of the state criticised him severely for such “gross extravagance.” Within a few years, this herd became one of the best and most profitable in the state, and for the first time the state of Ohio’s farm adventure was on a paying basis. Today I understand that Ohio has the best state herd in America, and, if Mr. Cox’s plans are carried out, it will result in so improving all the live stock in the state that Ohio will have the best cattle of any state in the union.
In another part of this book, I refer more in detail to his success in selecting and leading men, with special reference to his handling labor troubles during the coal and steel strikes which so threatened industry in Ohio. In this chapter, however, I must refer to the work which he did in connection with rising costs of living. Mr. Cox, unlike most liberal leaders, believes in the law of supply and demand. He does not believe in interference with the law of supply and demand by the representatives of either labor or capital. On the other hand, he believes that many of our economic difficulties are due to interference with this law, especially by the big distributors. He believes in the use of cold storage plants, but he believes in their use for the benefit of the people rather than for the benefit of speculators. Those who are interested in a study of cold storage plants, in connection with the cost of living, should become acquainted with what Mr. Cox accomplished while Governor of Ohio.
A severe winter found Ohio without seed corn, and farmers were required to pay as high as $20 a bushel for seed. Governor Cox sent agents into other territories where climate and soil conditions were similar to Ohio, and secured a supply of seed corn at a cost of less than $3.00 a bushel. The toll of the war and the lure of the city were depleting farm labor. To meet this need, Governor Cox arranged for a large purchase of tractors thru private agencies, called a meeting of farmers at the state capital and conducted a tractor school under the supervision of experts. Within two weeks’ time, more than 6,000 tractors were put into use within the state. Instead of a labor shortage, decreasing acreage and crops, the production of the state, both in acreage and bushels, was actually increased.
These are some simple illustrations of Mr. Cox’s vision. He has that rare combination of the enthusiastic idealist and the hard-headed business man. Often we find one of these qualities without the other, but seldom find them both together. The great need in Washington today is not for the idealist nor for the hard-headed business man, but rather for him who can combine these two qualities. Mr. Cox has the absolute confidence of both the business interests and the wage workers. The business interests have absolute confidence in him and the working people have a genuine affection for him. He possesses that peculiar faculty of getting together those representatives of capital who furnish employment and the great mass of the employed who are necessary to keep the wheels of industry moving. That faculty he combines with integrity, initiative, and courage. This is the essence of a successful business career.
James M. Cox was always a great pal of his mother and of course very good to her. He also was very close to his sister Anna, and her husband, Mr. Baker, his first employer. He seems to have had but little to do with young ladies, his entire time being devoted to work and study. The newspaper hours were long and as soon as they were over he went home and buried himself in his books with a dictionary handy.
His first marriage was to a Cincinnati girl named Harding. It is said that she was a very pretty girl and is a very attractive woman today. Altho the Governor has always refused to discuss in any way their life together, it is said that she was the first girl whom he ever showed any attention. At any rate, they were engaged, and soon married. The wedding took place in Cincinnati, May 25, 1893, when he was 23 years of age. They had four children, three surviving, which were born as follows: Miss Helen Cox, now Mrs. Daniel Mahoney; Mr. John Cox; Master James Cox.
It is a very happy family of children. At Mr. Cox’s home at Trailsend, one notices pictures of the children about the house. One which young Jimmy had autographed for his “Daddy,” apparently as a Xmas gift, is especially noticeable. They all are very fond of the Governor and he is devoted to them. You cannot spend, of course, an hour with him without hearing of his children.
People think Mr. Cox made a mistake not to have his wife and family more at Washington with him when he went first as Secretary to Congressman Sorg, and later as Congressman himself. Political work kept him very much engrossed at Washington and the three children and her music kept Mrs. Cox very busy. Neither was interested in the plans of the other. The neighbors believe that if they had been they would be living together today. But such is not the case.
A MANLY ACT
When the Governor returned to Dayton from Washington in 1908 and 1909 something seemed lacking. The old love which was so strong in 1893 was gone. On October 2, 1909, he and Mrs. Cox separated although no formal action was taken for two years. His wife, Mary Harding Cox, had in the meantime moved to Cleveland where she established a residence. Legal proceedings were brought through the Patterson law offices, American Trust Building, Cleveland, Ohio. Afterwards she went to Germany remaining there until early in 1914. In the fall of 1914 she married Mr. Richard H. Lee. Mr. Lee is a much-respected attorney now of New York City and resides at Pelham Manor with his wife. Although Mr. Cox had arranged to pay for the support of the children, Mr. Lee insisted that such money be not so used, but invested for the children to receive as a future benefit. Many who did not really know Mr. Cox and his former wife before that time then learned to love and respect them both.
The petition was filed on May 10, 1911. As is customary in such cases, _i. e._, when the husband intends to be chivalrous, Mr. Cox permitted his wife to ask for the divorce. It was granted on June 22, 1911. The Court decided that the custody of the children should be awarded to each party equally.
It was a wonderful test for any man or woman. Only persons of the highest character could handle themselves in such a straightforward impassionate way. The attitude of both is an example of frankness, courage and kindness. Everyone who knew them then is enthusiastic in their praise. Both, of course, today always speak well of the other and the children are naturally equally fond of mother and father. It was an unfortunate affair and yet was probably for the best. The venerable Dayton attorney, Hon. John A. McMahon, was Mr. Cox’s counsel in the case. All who know Mr. Cox or Mary Harding Cox realize that they would do only what they thought was best under the circumstances.
The youngest son, now thirteen, is with his mother in New York and the older son, about sixteen, is a student at the Culver Military Academy in Indiana. The daughter is married and lives in Dayton, her husband being in the employ of her father on the _Dayton News_. Mr. Cox believes in doing the best possible under all circumstances and trusting the results. He never discusses the case and makes no explanations. Further light is thrown on the case by the fact that Cox did not meet his second wife until five years after the divorce was granted from his first wife.
THE GOVERNOR’S WIFE
One day in March, 1916, after a hard season’s work in connection with publishing his two papers, James Mr. Cox motored down to Hot Springs for a little rest and change. There he met Miss Margaret Blair who was stopping at the hotel with her aunt. Both were from Chicago, Miss Blair being the daughter of Mr. Thomas Blair, a prominent Chicago business man. Miss Blair apparently had that love for politics and out-door life which appealed to Mr. Cox. Miss Blair was very athletic, rather than musical. She could ride, swim, play golf, sail a boat and loved the rough life of the woods and farm. Mr. Cox stayed at Hot Springs for a whole month. After that he made many week-end trips to Chicago, even during his gubernatorial campaign. At the inauguration ceremonies in January, 1917, Miss Blair was seen in a prominent seat. She and the Governor were married in September, 1917.
They have recently had one child which has been named Anne. It was eight months old when Mr. Cox was nominated for the Presidency. Mr. Cox named it after his oldest sister, Mrs. John Q. Baker, to whom I have already referred, and who did so much for him in his early days. Before dropping the subject let me say that Mr. Cox was married to Miss Blair by the Reverend Washington Gladden, one of the most honored of Congregational preachers. Gladden died in 1918.
In this connection permit me to add that Mrs. Cox is an earnest Christian woman and a regular attendant of the Episcopal Church.
While Governor, Mr. Cox has three homes; namely, the Governor’s mansion at Columbus; Trailsend, a very beautiful country estate of about 65 acres, two miles from Dayton on the Middletown road; and the old Homestead where he spent his early boyhood days. This old place was originally 111 acres and was at one time sold out of the family; but just as soon as Mr. Cox had the means, he purchased it. He since has restored it, so far as possible, to its original appearance and increased the area to 250 acres. He conducts it himself now as a real farm and is stocking it with a fine grade of Holstein cattle.
Unlike many boys who are born on a farm he still has a love for farm life. Whenever he gets a half day of freedom, he goes out to his farm at Jacksonburg and looks at the cattle. He loves them dearly and is never so happy as when he can be amongst the animals. Mr. Cox feels that everyone who can possibly afford it should have some active part in production. He is very much interested in agriculture and the producing of food stuffs. He believes that the cost of living will be reduced only by all producing more and consuming less. It seems to be a matter of principle with him to run his farm and render some real service, not only in producing food stuffs, but also in improving the quality of live stock.
He has strong opinions regarding fundamental economic problems. Altho he makes no pretence to scholarship in economics, he is sound on all economic questions. This is discussed more fully in the latter part of this volume but I cannot help now mentioning the matter so far as it applies to production, both industrially and agriculturally. James M. Cox believes in everyone working, whether rich or poor, and believes that not only the cost-of-living problem but also the social problems will be solved thereby. Absentee ownership and idleness on the part of both rich and poor are at the bottom of our social troubles. He insists that this question of production is really a moral question and should be taken up by all lovers of righteousness. To quote him:
“The need today is more religion, but this religion must be expressed thru integrity, industry and service, rather than thru blue laws or verbal resolutions.”
MEMBER OF THE MASONS
James M. Cox is a member of the Jefferson Masonic Lodge of Middletown, Ohio. Among the many letters which came to him after his nomination for the Presidency was one from the lodge which he seemed to prize most highly. He commented on the fact that the Middletown Lodge had furnished Ohio two Governors.
Although interested in all forward looking movement for the betterment of mankind, Mr. Cox is very fond of the old things. The Jacksonburg farm where he was born has been fixed up by him in a most interesting way. All the old fire-places have been opened; a mammoth one, eight feet long and five feet high, is in the dining room; while great four poster beds are in each chamber. The entire house is--in fact--furnished with old fashioned furniture. The present care-taker was about the place when James M. Cox was a boy and he tells me that he “nursed him.” On the walls in the living room are oil paintings of his grandmother Graig and grandfather Gilbert Cox, the one who built the church. One look at the faces of these two fine old people shows clearly from where he inherits his honesty, courage and energy.
James M. Cox’s public career commenced in a small way when he was working for his brother-in-law, Mr. Baker, on the _News-Signal_ in Middletown, Ohio. Political events were always the most important events in Ohio. Hence to be a successful reporter to an Ohio paper, required a political sense of fitness and knowledge of things. This sense young Cox readily developed.
It was this interesting political work which he had in Middletown that was lacking in Cincinnati. Altho the job on the _Cincinnati Enquirer_ paid much more and would have been preferred by many men, it did not appeal to Cox on account of it lacking constructive interest. Mr. Cox never showed much interest in business for the sake of making money. He seemed always to like to do things--the harder the better.
WORK IN WASHINGTON
The political life of James M. Cox really began when he reached Washington one morning in 1894. This was a real event for him, and altho disappointing in many ways, gave him an insight into political life which he had never been able to have before. Washington impressed him with the great possibilities of service thru holding a public office but he felt any such office was beyond him. Hence he returned to Dayton because he believed it gave him greater opportunities for usefulness.
The first editorials which he wrote for the _Dayton News_ were in the interests of the people of Ohio. He apparently grasped every opportunity to fight for legislation which would make the great mass of people healthier, happier and more prosperous. He was not a part of the vested interests which were so strong in Ohio. On the other hand he did not put forth the radical propaganda of which many writers are guilty. From the time Mr. Cox first reached Washington in 1894, he was a close student of national political affairs. He however, took no public part until after returning to Ohio and fully establishing himself in the newspaper field.
The first office which Mr. Cox sought was as Congressman from the Third District of Ohio. This was in 1908, about ten years after he came back from Washington as Secretary to Congressman Sorg. He tells me that his great difficulty was then in connection with making speeches. He seemed at first unable to make an extemporaneous speech. His early speeches were read like Sunday sermons, much to the amusement of his opponents. Finally, some of his friends used to get his written speeches away from him and hide them. He was then forced to talk directly to his audiences. After being thrown overboard, he apparently was able to swim and he never returned to the written speeches. Mr. Cox now has a delivery much like the Roosevelt delivery. It is very vigorous and determined. He grows red in the face and violently brings down his fist upon the desk or table in front of him. He is intensely earnest in all he says and convinces his hearers of his earnestness.
He was first elected to the Sixty First Congress. He was re-elected in 1910 by a majority of 12,809 votes. Under great difficulties he made himself felt. This was at the time when all important legislation was put thru by the caucus system and a lone Congressman had very little opportunity to express himself. In his first campaign, he was opposed by Frizelle and Eugene Harding; and in his second campaign by Judge Dustin. The Congressional Directory of those days shows that Mr. Cox served on the District of Columbia Committee during his first term and on the Appropriations Committee during the second term. He attracted attention by his fight against the Payne-Aldrich Bill--which was afterwards rejected by the people--and for his efforts to have the Federal Government inaugurate a Children’s Bureau. He was one of the first to urge Congress to appropriate money for aeroplanes and to investigate the conduct of the National Military Homes.
While the career of Cox in Congress deserves commendation, the merit of his work in that body is now being over-emphasized by various Democratic speakers. The fact is that Cox was not in Congress long enough to become in any sense an outstanding figure.
One of the most important events of Mr. Cox’s life came with his determination to run for Governor of Ohio. He was not satisfied with the opportunity of service which Congress offered. He felt that the Governorship did present a real opportunity especially in connection with the new Ohio constitution in which he was greatly interested. Hence in 1912 he entered the campaign for Governor.
Cox has carried his state three times. No other Democratic Governor has ever done that in Ohio. On the last occasion, in 1918, like many other Democratic candidates, he made his race against great odds. Ohio went Republican. Two-thirds of the Congressional districts went Republican. The entire state ticket, from Lieutenant-Governor down, went Republican. Mr. Cox was the single Democrat elected to state office. Cox ran 75,000 votes ahead of the Congressional ticket.
He made his campaign the first year, in support of a reform program, a program of amendments to the state constitution. State courts still recognized the “fellow-servant rule,” “contributory negligence” and similar rules regarding accidents in industry. Elimination of such medieval doctrine was one object contemplated by the constitutional amendments. There were many others. To put the amendments into practice, there were needed over fifty separate legislative measures covering a wide range of such matters as reorganization of the school and taxation systems of the state, a workmen’s compensation law, provisions for a budget system, etc. It was a task requiring political skill of a considerable sort to get these various measures into shape, and to push them thru a critical state legislature. Governor Cox redeemed the promises of his campaign. He got his measures into law and he did the job so thoroughly that he met defeat when he came up for re-election in 1914.
Ohio probably has a larger percentage of independant voters than any other state. Its citizens are strong minded and fearless. They vote, to a large extent, according to principle rather than party. Normally Ohio is a Republican state. Everything else being equal, its people would elect a Republican Governor. Therefore it was a distinct compliment to Governor Cox--a Democrat--to be elected three times, in 1912, 1916 and 1918, even although the Republican party was somewhat split. Only in 1914 was he beaten and that was by Willis. In 1918, the fight was again between Cox and Willis, the latter having once defeated Cox and having been beaten by him.
NINETEEN TO TEN
The Democratic leaders in Ohio like to talk about the six Democratic governors Ohio has chosen to one Republican since 1905. Pattison defeated Myron T. Herrick in 1905 and Judson Harmon won in 1908 and 1910, the second time by a big majority over Harding. Since 1861, Ohio twenty-nine times has voted for Governor and nineteen times the Republicans have won. This means that the score now stands nineteen to ten in favor of the Republicans, with the Democrats gaining. On the other hand, the Republicans divided their votes in 1912 between the straight candidate and the Progressive candidate. The combined vote amounted to 490,000; Cox won but his total vote was less than 440,000.
Two years later, after Governor Cox had been in Columbus for one term, Willis defeated him by nearly 30,000 in spite of a progressive vote of 60,000 for a third candidate. In 1916, President Wilson carried the state by almost 90,000 while Cox’s plurality was less than 7,000. The statistics of 1918, however, are more favorable to Governor Cox. Then it was a clean-cut fight with no complications and Cox won over Willis altho everything else went Republican.
There are many opinions as to the causes which elected Mr. Cox. Without doubt he got into an unfortunate fight in 1918, with the agents of the Anti-Saloon League; but everyone who knows him commends his honesty, industry and courage in this connection. Moreover, the officers of the Anti-Saloon League state that they were not so much against Cox as they were for his opponent Willis and that between Mr. Cox and Mr. Harding they had no choice. Governor Cox was universally commended for his desire and ability to enforce the law. He always has not only preached righteousness, but has also practiced it.
Governor Cox clearly demonstrated that he is a man of his word and does not make promises to forget them. He showed a genuine faith in democratic ideals. To quote Charles Merz:
“When the steel strike came, when peaceful meetings were prohibited in the steel towns in Pennsylvania, when mounted troopers rode down groups of men and women in the streets, when troops were called into the city of Gary to break the morale of a strike that was fought for the basic right of recognition, those days freedom of speech and freedom of assembly ruled undisturbed in every steel town of Ohio. It is a fact that union organizers, in the towns along the Pennsylvania-Ohio Line, actually marched across the border to hold their meetings on the soil of a state whose Governor still had faith in American tradition. Local public officials in Ohio were instructed to maintain order against rioting, but to interfere in no way with union meetings and union organizations. And the result? Violence in Pennsylvania, men and women hurt, fighting in the streets; in Ohio, not so much disorder as attends a trolley car strike in New York City. In all six years of his administration Governor Cox never called out the state militia to police a strike. He never had the need of so doing.”
COURAGE AND SELF-POSSESSION
“This positive quality in Governor Cox seems to me the dominant one. It represents him--fairly I think--as a man with considerable courage and a good deal of self-possession. It shows too what is a key to Cox’s mind in more ways than one; his education in Jeffersonian principles of government. More faith in these principles he has retained than most leaders of his party. That is the way, when representatives of an ostensibly Jeffersonian administration, like Palmer and Burleson, bludgeoned public opinion, and other representatives, like Wilson and Baker, stood by in silence, Cox was willing to hold out against the alarmist press and the persuasive push of the steel companies. A surviving flare of Jeffersonian politics distinguishes him.”
James M. Cox is the nearest approach to Grover Cleveland that the Democratic party has had since the famous Cleveland administration. Like Cleveland he has been greatly maligned in a most wicked way. But he is still kindly and of a forgiving spirit. As I was once talking this over with him at the Governor’s mansion in Columbus, the night before leaving for his great western trip in September, 1920, he said:
“The country probably needs both strong Republican and Democratic parties and is perhaps safest when the two are most evenly balanced. The Republican is the conservative party and has within its membership most of the great captains of industry. But surely the Democratic party is the safety valve of the nation and surely we need a safety valve today.
“With the entire world upset, the United States can avoid danger only as its leaders attempt to follow the Golden Rule in their dealings with men and issues. That I intend to do. Furthermore I believe that the policy prepared by the Republicans is sure to result in disaster, depression and unemployment, the like of which was never seen in this country before. Hence, I say that the voters must choose between voting for our party and the Golden Rule, or for the Republican Party and the rule of gold.”
OHIO ELECTION STATISTICS, 1912 TO 1918
_Vote for Governor_
Cox (Dem.) 439,323 Brown (Rep.) 272,500 Garford (Pro.) 217,903 Cox plurality 166,823 Total 1,036,731
_Vote for President_
Wilson (Dem.) 424,834 Taft (Rep.) 278,168 Roosevelt (Pro.) 229,807 Wilson’s plurality 146,666 Total 1,037,094
_Vote for Governor_
Cox (Dem.) 493,804 Willis (Rep.) 523,074 Garfield (Pro.) 60,904 Willis’ plurality 29,270 Total 1,129,223
_Vote for U. S. Senator_
Harding (Rep.) 526,115 Hogan (Dem.) 423,742 Garford (Pro.) 67,509 Harding’s plurality 102,373 Total 1,017,366
_Vote for Governor_
Cox (Dem.) 568,218 Willis (Rep.) 561,602 Cox’s plurality 6,616 Total 1,174,057
_Vote for President_
Wilson (Dem.) 604,161 Hughes (Rep.) 514,753 Wilson’s plurality 89,408 Total 1,165,086
_Vote for Governor_ Cox (Dem.) 486,403 Willis (Rep.) 474,459 Cox’s plurality 11,944 Total 960,862
Liberal leaders are proud of Cox’s war record. It is a great pleasure to talk with Ohio men who served as soldiers to France. As Mr. Cox was the real war Governor of Ohio, his record was very easy to secure. The returned soldiers speak in the highest terms of what Governor Cox did for them before they sailed, while they were in France and since their return. Well they may as he thought of them first, last and all the time.
Governor Cox went at great length to improve the condition of the Ohio soldier. He favored all of the legislation presented in the soldiers’ behalf and made numerous trips to Washington and elsewhere in the interests of these men.
There are three factors in connection with the waging of war. There is the _government_; there is the _property interests_ of the country; and lastly, there is the _enlisted and drafted men_. Some men who put politics before principles would have appealed equally for the interests of all these three parties; but he did not. Whether he made a mistake, politically, only the future can tell. He took the unorthodox position of stating that the interests of the men were paramount to the interests of wealth or property and equal to the interests of the government itself. The Governor believed that the United States should not follow Germany in its error of making the state greater than those who make up the state. The Governor felt that a very vital principle was here involved and continually fought to have the real purpose of the war kept constantly in view.
Consequently both in his speeches and papers he fought for the “common” people of Ohio--the boys on the farms and in the factories. Unlike some Senators who were willing to send our boys to Europe to die but who now are unwilling to give up any of their own power to prevent future wars, James M. Cox was consistent with his concepts of true Americanism.
Governor Cox was one of the first to criticize certain Republican leaders for their misuse of the patriotic appeal. He appealed for true patriotism. He criticized that patriotism which is of the hurrah boy style. He does not believe in “America First, Right or Wrong,” which is the slogan of certain Republican senators. Governor Cox believes the real protection of the country depends on protecting the individuals who make up the country, and that all countries must ultimately prosper or suffer together.
James M. Cox believes the teachings of Jesus should be applied to classes and nations; that the ultimate safety of the United States depends not on erecting a high wall about ourselves and letting the rest of the world go to smash, but rather in pulling down such walls and saving the rest of the world. Says he:
“America will be prosperous only when the individuals who make up America are prosperous; and America as a nation will be safe only as the people of all nations are safe. However we may differ in religion or politics, economically we are all brothers together and must ultimately suffer or prosper as one group.”
ATTITUDE BEFORE THE WAR
James M. Cox vigorously and frankly opposed many of the policies of Great Britain. The Republicans frequently criticize him for this, referring to quotations from his papers to support their charges.
It appears to me quite evident in looking back over the last five years, that Cox at one time misunderstood the fundamentals of the European war. Thus on the 7th of November, 1915, a year and a half before we entered the war, an editorial in the News declared that “Victory by Germany was not the worst thing that could happen”; and as late as the 3rd of September, 1916, the News emphasized the importance of not relying wholly on Great Britain and the importance of not fearing her. Surely warnings appeared constantly in one or both of the Governor’s papers. Certain of his friends deny that the Governor was acquainted with such statements before they were written, and some go so far as to state that the editorials did not represent the Governor’s personal feelings. I cannot believe it.
Senator Harding through his paper at Marion, Ohio, has a similar record. Furthermore, Senator Harding’s neutrality speech as chairman of the Republican National Convention in 1916 was along the same lines as the Cox editorials. Both were keen enough to see the dangers of hasty intervention and both feared British influence. Later events failed to justify the position of Cox and Harding, yet fair-minded men will give credit to both for their moral courage.
Concerning these criticisms, the Governor says:
“All editorials which the Republicans have cited were published before this country entered the war. They were at a time when feeling regarding the proper policy for this country to pursue was in a state of constant fluctuation. At times it even verged on differences with Great Britain over blockade policies which necessitated the exchange of important diplomatic notes.”
The Republican leaders once urged Colonel Roosevelt to attack Governor Cox for his criticism of England in a speech he made at the dedication of a soldiers’ monument in Columbus; but the Colonel declined with the declaration that he could not do so as he had already pronounced Governor Cox “One of America’s greatest war governors.”
James M. Cox was the first Governor to sense the inconsistencies of Great Britain. He was especially troubled by her attitude on the Irish question. His heart went out to Ireland from the first. I am convinced that if he becomes President and the United States is in the League, he will immediately force Ireland’s case before the League.
THE REAL ISSUE
The real issue, however, should not be clouded by paragraphs taken here and there from the newspapers of either Senator Harding or Governor Cox. The truth is that both of these men at that time stood for neutrality, as did some of the prominent Senators who afterwards so violently talked patriotism. Furthermore, both Mr. Cox and Mr. Harding were rightfully backed in their opinions by a large mass of thoughtful people throughout the land.
From August 4, 1914, up to a short time before the United States entered the war, there was a very strong feeling among the liberal people of this country that the fight was primarily between England and Germany, and the stakes were primarily the world’s trade and commerce. Before the war England controlled the seas; Germany was continually chafing more and more at this control and she finally broke forth into the world war to seize this control from England. No right-thinking people backed Germany in her designs, but a great many good people felt as Jesus did when a mother of Israel came to him regarding securing inheritances for her son.
As the war progressed and German brutality increased, the great mass of American people, including Governor Cox, Senator Harding and many others of us, saw that another factor was developing which overshadowed the economic factor. When two dogs are fighting over a bone, a sensible man will keep out of the fight; but when either one of the dogs becomes so vicious as to bite a by-stander, then it is up to all good people to pounce upon the vicious dog and put him out of business. This was the situation which brought us into the war. It is well enough for bombastic orators to now say that America should have entered the war just as soon as Germany violated Belgium, but the simple fact is that no power under Heaven could have got the American people to have entered the war at that time. Furthermore, it was only the changed conditions which caused the American people to enter the conflict.
I cannot resist the temptation of expressing my feelings in this chapter. They are as follows: If a referendum of the American people had been taken in 1915 or 1916, 90 per cent would have voted for neutrality. Furthermore, it is not yet known when America would have entered the war had not Germany lost her moral sense and become almost insane. But under the circumstances there was only one thing to do; namely, to put Germany under control. After she was put under control, America felt that it would be time enough to discuss the merits of the case. This means that we should not only refrain from criticizing those who stood for neutrality, but it means that now that Germany is under control we should see that a League of Nations is formed and that the fourteen points, in consideration of which Germany signed the Armistice, should so far as we are able be carried out. If we are truly honest men, it is now up to us all to fulfil the post-war promises of our representatives. For this James M. Cox is fighting, believing that the promise of a nation is as sacred as the promise of an individual.
There is altogether too much loose talk about “patriotism.” Much of this is put forward by the reactionary interests of this country in order to block progress and reform. When any one raises his fist to oppose present wrongs, he is called “unpatriotic.” The flag is being constantly used, not for the protection of liberty for which it was designed, but for the protection of the oppressor who is using it as a cloak. Investigations in Ohio show that both candidates are sane on this point and Cox with his larger vision is desirous of extending his democracy to other nations. This probably explains why the great missionary leaders of the world are so enthusiastic for the League of Nations and are earnestly praying that James M. Cox may some day be President.
Mr. Cox also showed the courage of his convictions many years before the war when he was in Congress. He believed in the United States having an army and a navy adequate to protect our people, but he did not believe that the end justifies every means or that the government is greater than the people who make it up.
Hence, when the Naval Appropriation Bill was under consideration he made in Congress a bitter attack on the Republican Administration’s method of obtaining recruits. He produced evidence showing that recruits were obtained under false pretenses; that boys were encouraged to state an age older than they really were; and that even liquor and bad women were used to lure men to enlist. Hence, he succeeded in attaching to the Appropriation Bill a clause requiring the production of birth certificates in connection with the recruiting for the Navy. Every mother and father should bless him for his moral courage.
In talking these things over one day, Mr. Cox said to me:
“I believe not only in international democracy, but also in domestic democracy. But most of all I believe that reforms can be permanent in America only as they extend to other nations. I reason the same relative to financial, industrial and other local problems. I see that in order for the labor movement not to harm the manufacturer in America, labor legislation must be international in operation. For the eight-hour day to permanently succeed in America, it must apply to Europe and Japan. Otherwise industry here may ultimately suffer in competition with foreign producers. Notwithstanding Senator Lodge’s ‘America First’ standard, we cannot be ‘first’ in the long run by being selfish. We all are brothers one of another, rich or poor, American or European. Sooner or later we must all suffer or prosper together. We can save ourselves only as we save others. The only way America can truly come out first is to forget herself as Jesus would teach us to do. We can save ourselves only as we will forget ourselves and save others. We must work by the Golden Rule rather than by the rule of gold.”
PROHIBITION AND WOMAN SUFFRAGE
I am proud of Governor Cox’s record on prohibition, because both he and I have been for many years practically teetotalers. I am proud of his courage in not being scared by the Anti-Saloon League which was opposed to him and fought him at every turn.
In the gubernatorial campaign between Willis, who is radically dry, and Governor Cox, the Anti-Saloon League naturally worked with Willis. But I claim that the Anti-Saloon League of Ohio is tied up with the Republican Party of that State and controlled by the Republican leaders. Whatever Mr. Cox’s attitude on prohibition, the Anti-Saloon League, in the gubernatorial election, would have been opposed to Mr. Cox. Of course, Mr. Cox stood for a less rigid prohibition program than did Mr. Willis. No man who was honest with himself could help doing so. I have always voted for prohibition but I admire Governor Cox. After the election of Mr. Cox as Governor, moreover, the Anti-Saloon people so fully recognize his fairness in methods of enforcing the law that they now take no sides between Mr. Cox and Mr. Harding as to national matters.
The temperance people of the country feel that the country has gone prohibition and the only question they ask is whether or not the Governor will enforce the law. No Governor has a better record for law enforcement than has Governor Cox.
The history of temperance legislation in Ohio is very peculiar. In 1851 the people of the State adopted an unusual Constitution, containing an ambiguous clause regarding the sale of intoxicating liquors. Saloon men and prohibitionists voted in favor of it on opposite construction of the clause. It was carried by 8982 votes. The same clause authorized the legislature to provide against the evil arising from the sale of liquors.
No law was passed until May, 1854. By this law it was forbidden to sell intoxicating liquors to be drunk on or about the premises or in an adjoining room. It was made unlawful to sell to minors, persons intoxicated or in the habit of becoming intoxicated. Places where the law was violated were declared nuisances. There also was an important proviso attached to Section 1, that the law should not apply to “wine manufactured of the pure juice of the grape cultivated in the State of Ohio, or beer or ale or cider.”
The subject was a continual source of irritation in Ohio and the legislature was continually harassed for changes as the different interests obtained power. Under this old Constitution it was held that a law of regulation, which amounted to license, was invalid. Then followed the Pond law, the Scott law, the Dow law, the Adair law, the Rose law and many others providing for county, township, city or city residence district local option, and finally increasing the tax levied from $100 to $1000. All of this legislation was in the interests of the liquor people and tended to nullify the constitution. There was little Sunday observance in spite of the severe penalties inflicted. The partnership between the saloon and the then dominant party, the Republican, was as complete as if signed and sealed by the parties.
The people were disgusted with the entire matter. Hence when the Constitutional Convention of 1912 met, among other matters submitted to the people by a separate vote was the following: Shall a license to sell intoxicating liquors be granted in Ohio. This was submitted as a separate test vote. The people voted “yes” by a majority of 84,536. This vote took place September 3, 1912.
Governor Cox was inaugurated for the first time in January 1913, and it became his duty to enforce and obey all laws passed under the new Constitution, including the license law. A stringent, high license law was passed, and was in successful operation when the later vote was taken during the war, establishing Prohibition in the State. The provisions of this law were faithfully enforced so far as the Governor was concerned, including one compelling the observance of Sunday. Ohio had been noted for wide open saloons on Sunday in the big cities, especially in Cincinnati, where the partnership between the saloon and the Republican leaders was most effective. The Governor gave notice that the law must be observed, and it was. At the next election his action was resented and his courageous conduct in this regard contributed largely to his defeat in 1914.
Governor Cox, before prohibition as such became an issue, did sponsor and secure the passage of a license system which reduced the number of saloons and provided for self-enforcement of temperance laws by depriving the law violator of the right to continue in the liquor business or ever again be engaged in it. The law under the license amendment was approved by both the Anti-Saloon League and the Liberal League.
In the period following Governor Cox gave Ohio its first example of strict law enforcement, the result of which was his defeat for re-election as a result of a definite deal entered into which would provide for a little less strict enforcement program. This deal was made in certain wet centers by dry leaders in behalf of a professional dry candidate. The spectacle which followed brought definite recognition of Cox as a law-enforcement official.
In Ohio the Anti-Saloon League has always been the Republican Party auxiliary, and has always opposed Governor Cox, who has adhered to the definite principle of recognizing no class of people, holding himself answerable to all the people in strict conformity with his oath of office. That was his stand in 1918 and when Ohio voted prohibition into the state Constitution and re-elected Cox for the third time as chief executive.
COX’S LETTER TO POLLOCK
In this connection I was shown the copy of a letter which Governor Cox wrote to John H. Pollock, a Kansas City attorney. The letter was dated June 23, 1920, and was in response to a letter which Pollock wrote to the Governor on this question. The Governor’s reply was as follows:
“I have read your letter with interest. The question before us now is law enforcement. As the constitution and statute stand, they are the express mandate of the people and must be respected by public officers and citizens as long as they remain. There is no difference between neglect of the law by public officers and an attack against our institutions by the Bolsheviki. We contend, and properly so, that there is no need of revolution in this country because we have the government facilities to change the existing order by rule of the majority, but we can hardly create the proper attitude among aliens, unaccustomed to our ways, if public officers close their eyes to their oath and obligation.”
Investigation shows that Governor Cox signed every piece of legislation on prohibition enforcement which passed the Ohio legislature. The Anti-Saloon people themselves state that he was the first Governor of Ohio who closed the saloons on Sunday. So far as the amendment of the Federal Constitution goes, this has been passed once and for all. Moreover, the Governor plainly tells his friends so. “We must never turn back the hands of the clock. We must go forward and not backward,” says he.
He knows this and the intelligent brewers know it also. Hence they are changing over their plants for the manufacture of legitimate products. Moreover many of them are now making more money than in the old days. Although some people may vote for Cox with the hope of a more lenient policy, I am sure they will be much disappointed. Personally, I have no fears in this direction. No one recognizes the evils of intemperance more than does James M. Cox. He is earnestly interested in eliminating these evils. He simply wishes to do what will be best for humanity in the long run and to avoid making hypocrites of the people.
POSITION ON SUFFRAGE
James M. Cox’s record on suffrage should be distinctly pleasing to all who are interested therein. He has worked for the passage and signed every bill which has been helpful to the suffrage cause. Not only is this shown by a study of the records, but by the violent opposition which he is getting from the Anti-Suffrage leaders.
Furthermore, Mr. Cox’s interest in suffrage was not a “death-bed repentance.” Unlike his opponent (as the Democratic speakers now insist upon emphasizing) and others who are now for suffrage, he did not continually fight it until he saw that it was inevitable. From the first James M. Cox encouraged the suffrage leaders and helped them in every way.
In the fights in Tennessee and other states for suffrage, Mr. Cox took a very active part to help the suffragists. In his speech of acceptance on August 7, 1920, Mr. Cox said:
“The women of America, in emotion and constructive service measured up during the war to every requirement, and the emergency exacted much of them. Their initiative, their enthusiasm and their sustained industry, which carried many of them to the heavy burdens of toil, form an undying page in the annals of time, while the touch of the mother heart in camp and hospital gave a sacred color to the tragic picture that feeble words should not even attempt to portray. They demonstrated not only willingness but capacity. They helped win the war, and they are entitled to a voice in the re-adjustment now at hand.
“Their intuition, their sense of the humanitarian in government, their unquestioned progressive spirit will be helpful in problems that require public judgment. Therefore they are entitled to the privilege of voting as a matter of right and because they will be helpful in maintaining wholesome and patriotic policy.”
All know, however, how the presidential candidates now stand on the subject. They both favor suffrage. To stand otherwise would mean certain defeat. But it is worth while to consider how they stood before suffrage victory was assured. Others can speak for others. Let me speak for James M. Cox. History shows that he repeatedly placed himself on record in favor of giving the vote to women. He signed every bill coming to him intended to enfranchise women in Ohio, and in a special message to the legislature urged the ratification of the federal amendment.
After presenting these facts, however, permit me to add that I can not feel that the record of a candidate on suffrage should ever be used as campaign material to bid for women votes. Women should cast their ballots as citizens and not as women, and the fact that Senator Harding at one time opposed the franchise should not affect their judgment on present-day issues.
On March 3, 4, and 5, 1919, a conference of governors and mayors was held at the White House, having been called by the President. The Honorable W. B. Wilson, Secretary of Labor, was designated as Chairman of the conference and the writer had the honor of serving as its Secretary. The proceedings of the conference have been published by the United States Government and a copy can be obtained without charge by addressing the Superintendent of Documents, Washington, D. C.
CONSERVATISM AND VISION
After the conference had been in progress one or two sessions, it was deemed advisable to appoint a committee on resolutions. Almost every Governor and Mayor had some special things which he desired to have favorably passed upon. There was a maze of suggestions and counter suggestions ranging all the way from the conservative teachings of Governor Sproul of Pennsylvania to the socialistic propositions of Mayor Hoan of Milwaukee. Therefore, a committee was appointed and of this committee Governor Cox was appointed chairman. After sifting the various reports and suggestions, he presented a set of resolutions which were a wonderful combination of conservatism and vision.
Whatever others may say regarding Cox’s great labor following, I can vouch that he is fair, and that all legitimate interests will be absolutely safe in his hands. The days which I spent with him in Washington at this Governors’ and Mayors’ conference and what I have since seen of his later work, absolutely convince me of this point. One incident illustrates what I have in mind. There was a clause in the resolutions which suggested “that the federal government continue its helpful offices with the view of averting serious consequences in financial affairs of public utilities.” There was much interest among the governors and mayors on the street railway situation thruout their states and cities. In certain localities there were real conflicts between the different interests. In some cases the fight was over the wages and in other cases the fight was over the fares.
Any members of the Conference who were seeking votes would naturally take the side of the municipalities and object to federal interference. The fares were already low and federal interference could result only in increasing and not in decreasing the fares. Just as soon as the discussion opened, it was evident that it would take courage for any governor or mayor to defend this portion of the resolution.
Governor Cox had the courage not only to write but also to defend and fight for the resolution in question. He made the point that the end never justified the means; that two wrongs do not make a right; and that altho the corporate interests have been wrong in the past this does not justify the public in doing wrong at the present time. He emphasized that true progress could come only thru justice and fairness to all interests whether such justice temporarily hurts or harms us. Altho the cause of the street railways was most unpopular, Governor Cox fought for them diligently and whole-heartedly. The resolution was finally passed with only a few votes against it.
A FRIEND OF MAN
Because Governor Cox would not call out the militia during various coal strikes and refused to send troops to Cincinnati at the time of the street car strike and to Steubenville at the time of the steel strike, some have called him a radical. Such criticism simply shows ignorance on the part of him who criticises.
Naturally James M. Cox likes the working man and has a friendly feeling toward him. When Governor he worked hard for the new Ohio constitution. Before the new constitution was in effect, workmen’s accident compensation was voluntary; now it is compulsory. As Governor he went all over the state using his influence to get the voters to adopt the constitution, having personally visited eighty-eight counties. Ohio people tell me that the new constitution was adopted largely on account of Governor Cox’s personal campaign in its behalf. That service pleased the wage workers of Ohio greatly and they naturally say so. On the other hand, James M. Cox often gives very pointed advice.
In talking with the Democratic candidate I was impressed by his sane and clean understanding of the industrial situation. Yet I cannot say that I gained from him any hope of a panacea for our labor problems. He presented no vitally new ideas, and while I confidently believe that he has the grasp of the situation, in other words the vision, the hope of an immediate and complete solution of our industrial difficulties seems little short of absurd. Nor did I find Cox disposed to sanction campaign orating holding out such hope.
Cox stands for pure Americanism but Americanism of the democratic type rather than of the imperialistic type. He favors progress and reform but insists that it must come about thru the ballot and not thru direct action. What he is saying today along these lines is reported constantly in the newspapers. Hence, it might be well to refer to what he said before he had any idea of ever being a candidate for the Presidency. The following prepared by him, is taken from the Resolutions above referred to:
“We are living in the most thrilling time in all history, and our resolves are centered in the contribution to our children and our children’s children of that measure of human contentment, justice and opportunity which will record us as the worthy sons of worthy sires. Confident that we must progress from the fundamental base of American ideals conceived and vitalized by the founders of the Republic, we pledge ourselves in firm and harmonious resolution to gain inspiration from the creed of pure Americanism, rather than from the disordered doctrines that find expression elsewhere. If peoples from overseas desire to live with us and become a part of the nation’s life, they must accept, in the first instance, this condition, namely that principles of government must change thru the evolution and processes of calm, human intelligence and that the mind of the majority, rather than the violence of a minority, must be the determining factor. We have been thrilled and reassured by the militant declaration made to this conference by the Secretary of Labor, Hon. William B. Wilson, that any alien who seeks to invoke force rather than reason against our form of government must and will be treated as an enemy of our institutions and sent out of the country.
“It is our expressed belief that any doctrine which inveighs against both God and government is a poisonous germ in human thought and must be treated as a menace to the morality and the progress of the world. It has been insidiously planted in some parts where the discontent growing out of unemployment brought fertile opportunity. Government, which derives its power from the people, must keep vigilant watch in the maintenance of public confidence, and inasmuch as the need most pressing now is to provide the means of giving every man a chance to perform the function God intended, we, as the representatives of States and municipalities, enter most happily into the suggestion that we coöperate our energies with those of the National Government. Its perspective is wider. It is guided by a fresher experience in things that are vital, and from it should come the expression of a dominating policy and the initiation of such practical methods as will match preachment with performance....
“Regardless of certain disordered statements by delegates to this Conference, its outstanding feature, nevertheless, has been a militant note of confidence in our government and industrial stability. The world in part is to be rebuilt. The patriotism, resource, ingenuity and unselfish spirit of our people saved it from destruction, and what these elements have accomplished in protection they will guarantee in preservation. We face the future, firm in the belief that the Almighty intends all things well, and that there remains for us and the generations to come full compensation for the service given, and the sacrifice made in support of the ideals of democracy.”
It is said that the best way to get the truth regarding a woman is to interview her maid. Certainly the best way to get the truth regarding the employer is to interview his wage workers. Hence, while in Springfield and Dayton, I endeavored to ascertain how Mr. Cox’s employees feel toward him.
On the morning following Mr. Cox’s nomination, the employees of the _Dayton News_ early in the day sent him a huge bouquet of flowers. Upon receiving it he climbed the steps to the composing rooms of his newspaper to say a word to his fellow workmen. After the typographical union chapel of the paper presented him with congratulations and resolutions of support, he spoke as follows to his workmen:
“The greatest gift that the Almighty God can give to any man in public life is to permit him to come into the world under circumstances which enable him to know the life status of the man who works. Providence was good to me--it was my high privilege to come thru the ranks. I know the torment of the boy who is without funds and I know his anxiety as to how he will get an education that will help him achieve his ambitions. If nomination means election, I will take to the White House this best equipment for a man in public life--experience in the ranks of those who toil.”
CONFIDENCE OF LABOR
James M. Cox’s reason for having the confidence of labor is that he has always consistently carried out his promises. It is a customary thing for candidates for public office to talk pleasantly to labor before the election, but to forget their promises after the votes are counted. The labor leaders of the country have been disappointed so many times in that way that they are almost discouraged. The various third party movements have come into being not because the regular candidates of the old parties would not promise enough, but rather because they would not carry out their promises.
Integrity is a cardinal trait with Mr. Cox. He believes that a promise should be kept. He believes that works speak louder than words and ultimately all of us will be judged according to what we do rather than according to what we say. In talking with some of the labor leaders of Ohio and asking them what Governor Cox had really done for labor, I was given the following:
A model workmen’s compensation act.
A child labor law that has been copied by other States.
A mothers’ pension system.
The initiative and referendum.
A scientific budget system.
A prison reform to provide healthy occupation for convicts, the compensation for which is given to their dependents.
The elimination of sweatshops.
A reform of the school system.
Consolidation of useless bureaus, resulting in a substantial saving to the State.
INCONSISTENCIES OF THE WHITE HOUSE
One should be loath in criticizing the intentions of the Wilson administration. Careful study will convince any man that these intentions were of the best. Certain inconsistencies, however, were very apparent. These inconsistencies apply not alone to international matters but also to domestic affairs. The Wilson administration’s attitude toward labor was most perplexing even to its friends. James M. Cox takes a sane middle of the road position believing that the great function of the government is to protect men in their freedom of effort and rights of ownership while depending upon religion to energize men along lines of honesty, responsibility and service. Mr. Cox stands for production and those vital principles of independence and freedom which were so dear to the founders of our Republic and which farsighted employers regret greatly to see interfered with. On the other hand, Mr. Cox is opposed to the raids and restrictions imposed by Palmer.
During the steel strike he insisted that the rights of speech be maintained in the steel towns of his state. Mr. Palmer believed in the use of violence--when it is the violence of the federal agent. Mr. Cox surely did not. He did not even believe in the necessity of calling out militia to break the morale of a strike. He believes that men can be won better by reason than by bayonets. Governor Cox does not believe injunctions will mine coal. He believes that the government should observe law and order as well as the citizens. Let me quote him on this subject:
“There is some hysteria over the active elements in this country that are menacing to the government. There is no danger in the situation, altho it might easily be aggravated if the governmental policy of restraint and common sense that has endured thru the year were to become one of force and terrorism.... If government is assailed, its policy must not become vengeful. Our fathers, in specifying what human freedom was, and providing guarantees for its preservation, recognized that among the necessary precautions was the protection of individual rights against governmental abuse.
“Radicalism is the result of repression. The reason why Russia is the most radical country today is because of its previous reactionary rulers. A Republican victory in November, followed by the rule of Lodge, Penrose and Smoot, may bring about--on a small scale--in this country what we have seen on a large scale in Russia. The Democratic Party is the liberal party of America; it is the safety valve of America. Everyone interested in preserving peace within our nation as well as throughout the world should vote the Democratic ticket. Altho we Democrats have not among our adherents the big business interests and are thus weak in worldly goods, we do have millions of conscientious people who believe in those fundamentals of righteousness and freedom and are willing to sacrifice therefor. I do not say as some do--that the issue is between a League of Money and a League of Nations; but certainly a great moral issue is involved in this campaign.”
In short I can truthfully say that no presidential candidate has ever been before the country with such a clean and satisfactory record on industrial interests; but he is not the servant of those interests. He believes in the protection of property; but as a means of developing humanity and not for any thought that property is greater than humanity. He is a progressive conservative and a conservative progressive. I believe him worthy of the utmost trust on the part of both employers and wage workers and also on the part of investors and consumers. If more men with Governor Cox’s vision were in office today, there would be fewer labor troubles, the cost of living would be lower, and everyone could be healthier, happier and more prosperous.
NOMINATION FOR THE PRESIDENCY
James M. Cox was first suggested as a presidential possibility at the Governors’ and Mayors’ Conference at the White House to which I have already referred. He from the first made a splendid impression upon that gathering. Gradually as the months went on the candidates settled down to William G. McAdoo, Secretary of the Treasury, Governor Cox and two or three others.
THE SAN FRANCISCO CONVENTION
The story of the San Francisco Convention is so recent that little needs to be said about it. Owing to the fact that the Democratic nominee must receive a two-thirds vote, it required forty-four ballots to secure the necessary number to nominate Governor Cox. Altho a large number of men were voted for, the fight was between the friends of Mr. McAdoo, Governor Cox and Attorney-General Palmer. Both Mr. McAdoo and Mr. Cox seemed unable to secure the necessary nomination until the thirty-eighth ballot, when Attorney-General Palmer withdrew from the race.
In the turn-over of the Palmer delegates Cox gained the advantage over William G. McAdoo, his rival for first place since early in the balloting, and that advantage never was lost. With its choice made, the convention adjourned to name a candidate for the Vice-Presidency. The nominee, Mr. Franklin D. Roosevelt, is well known for his work as Assistant Secretary of the Navy during the war.
Supporters of Governor Cox won a way to the nomination by persistent battling at the McAdoo and Palmer forces in many states thruout a long series of shiftings and rallies which left now one and now the other of the candidates in the lead. It was the most remarkable convention ever held and its result was very complimentary to Mr. Cox. Let me quote a correspondent:
With the thirty-seventh ballot, Palmer’s strength took a big drop. Amidst wild jubilation Chairman Robinson fought for order and let former Representative Carlin of Virginia, Palmer’s manager, up to the speaker’s stand. The crowd hushed. It recognized Carlin and knew that his appearance forecast only one thing, the release of the Palmer delegates and a break-up in the long deadlock. Men halted where they stood in the aisles to listen. Corridors poured back hundreds of loungers to the floor to pack the doorways and jam even the entrances to the galleries. An electric feeling of expectancy was in the air.
Carlin briefly stated that Attorney General Palmer was not willing longer to delay a nomination and authorized the complete and unconditional release of his delegates. A shout went up, only to be quickly stilled, while Chairman Robinson announced a 20-minute recess so that delegates might be polled for new alignments and the change in the situation be considered before another vote was taken.
While the recess was on the galleries sat tense, staring down into the great pit below, where delegates scrambled and tumbled thru the aisles conferring to appraise the situation before determining their course. McAdoo and Cox workers worked up to the maximum effort to take advantage of the break. The floor hummed like the stock exchange on a panicky day. Great clusters of Cox and McAdoo workers gathered about the Palmer groups, struggling for attention and to enlist under their own standard the army about to be disbanded.
DIE HARD FOR PALMER
Back in their seats again under the banging urge of the gavel, the delegates awaited the 39th roll call. The effect of Mr. Palmer’s release to his friends was noticeable at once. By twos and threes and larger groups, delegates previously voting unchangingly for him went to other candidates, each change that brought gain to McAdoo or Cox let loose a new roar. The faithful Pennsylvanians insisted on casting one more vote for Palmer as a final tribute to him. The delegation chairman’s statement went unheeded for the most part and the great block of votes went down for Palmer amid a surprised hush. The announcement of the whole ballot, however, started another tumult, led by Cox adherents. It showed he had outstripped McAdoo in the race for Palmer delegates and again reached the lead.
The Cox forces scented victory right there. The Cox band trooped into the gallery and hurled the strains of the Cox battle song, “Ohio, Ohio,” down into the din below. Again time was required to get quiet enough to start a new roll-call. When Pennsylvania was reached the delegation asked for a poll. One by one a big McAdoo majority in the Pennsylvania ranks was disclosed and the Cox supporters looked a little disturbed. The drift to the Ohio standard was on, however, and even the more than two-score Palmer men who joined from the Pennsylvania forces would not push McAdoo back into the lead. A fight to adjourn for the night was started by McAdoo supporters, against shouts of “No, no,” all over the floor. The motion went down on a vote that left no doubt of the convention’s determination to fight it out then and there. The 41st ballot was started.
Both McAdoo and Cox gained ground and McAdoo supporters dug themselves in, grimly determined on a last ditch fight. The 42nd roll call was started. It showed new drifts to Cox as the votes were shouted back to the platform from the unsuppressible murmur among the delegates, now regardless of the fatigue of the prolonged fight, altho the great galleries above them were by then almost vacant. Great blocks of empty seats showed where worn-out spectators had given it up by midnight and gone home expecting another day.
When Georgia was reached the delegation chairman leaped to his chair and shouted that his state, formerly in McAdoo ranks, would join hands with Ohio “To name the next President.” He cast the solid Georgia vote for Cox, and the shout that followed seemed to rock the building. McAdoo followers were still holding grimly. Again the Texas block of 40 votes went in for him. The western states, which led the way in his drives, stuck hard, and even the fact that Cox had swept beyond the first majority vote recorded for any candidate did not shake them loose.
The 43rd roll call began in a riot of noise that made the poll audible only as the surges of sound paused to let the figures reach the clerks. Little by little the drift to the Cox column continued gaining momentum as it ran. “Get into the wagon!” roared a man in the galleries, and the Cox rooters took it up. Votes for other candidates than Cox or McAdoo brought yells of “Come out of it!” and “Wake up!” In the New York delegations a challenge for a poll sent a dozen men scurrying to argue with the challenger. He was the center of a fire of argument and objurgation he could not resist. Finally, after a new move by McAdoo supporters to adjourn in a last desperate effort to stave off defeat had been roared down, the last ballot--the 44th--began.
THE LAST BALLOT
The result was forecast with the first vote. Alabama swung solid for Cox. State by state delegations that had stuck out for McAdoo, with divided delegations, followed suit. The slide had set in and there was no stopping it. The convention had its mind set to nominate on that ballot. Up and up mounted the Ohioan’s total of votes. As it passed the 700 mark with the necessary two-thirds just ahead, the tumult increased minute by minute until the last votes were heard only vaguely on the platform. Pennsylvania went over and the Colorado chairman leaped to his chair to change the vote of his state to Cox. Half a dozen other chairmen were waving for recognition to make similar announcements.
Chairman Robinson hurried to his desk with Sam B. Amidon of Kansas, a McAdoo chief whom he presented only after a furious assault with the gavel forced a partial lull in the cheering. Thru a continuous racket Amidon moved that the rules be suspended and the nomination be made unanimous. All over the great hall men climbed upon chairs to wave their hands for silence and then stand poised like college yell leaders to signal the answer to the question.
Banging his gavel in a final thump, Chairman Robinson put the question, and the answer roared back at him with all the volume of a thousand voices in shouting the tremendous “Aye!” that made Governor Cox the Democratic nominee.
The 44th ballot never was completed. In the chorus of affirmation it was swept away as unnecessary. Many of the changes which would have been made had the vote been carried thru were never recorded. And on the fact of that ballot Governor Cox received officially 702-1/2 votes, but these were never totalled, for he was nominated by the unanimous voice of the convention.
All those in America who knew James M. Cox were delighted at this news. They had always loved and respected him; they had always marveled at his courage and honesty; and now to have him receive this honor gave us all a new heart. It gives confidence in the fundamental integrity and good sense of the American people.
LEAGUE OF NATIONS
James M. Cox is a man of principles; one who has decided opinions with the courage and energy to fight for them. Altho interested in the wage workers he has stood for the freedom of the individual; altho interested in other reforms he has insisted that they be brought about in accordance with law and order.
He is especially democratic in the old-fashioned sense, and is also a crusader as his following assailment of the Republican leaders in the Senate signifies.
“In the midst of war the present Senatorial cabal, led by Senators Lodge, Penrose and Smoot, was formed. Superficial evidence of loyalty to President Wilson was given in order that the great rank and file of their party, faithful and patriotic to the very core, might not be offended. But underneath this misleading exterior, conspirators planned and plotted with bigoted zeal. With victory to our arms they delayed and obstructed the works of peace. If deemed useful to the work in hand no artifice for interfering with our constitutional peacemaking authority was rejected.
“Before the country knew, yea, before these men themselves knew the details of the composite plan formed at the peace table, they declared their opposition to it. Before the treaty was submitted to the Senate, in the manner the Constitution provides, they violated every custom and every consideration of decency by presenting a copy of the document, procured unblushingly from enemy hands, and passed it into the printed record of Senatorial proceedings. From that hour the whole subject was thrown into a technical discussion, in order that the public might be confused. The plan has never changed in its objective, but the method has.
“At the outset there was the careful insistence that there was no desire to interfere with the principle evolved and formalized at Versailles. Later, it was the form and not the substance that professedly inspired attack. But pretense was futile when proposals later came forth that clearly emasculated the basic principle of the whole peace plan. Senator Lodge finally crystallized his ideas into what were known as the Lodge reservations, and when Congress adjourned these reservations held the support of the so-called regular Republican leaders. From that time the processes have been interesting. Political expediency in its truest sense dwarfed every consideration either of the public interest or of the maintenance of the honor of a great political party. The exclusive question was how to avoid a rupture in the Republican organization.”
Everyone knows that Senator Johnson has been opposed to the treaty in any form and objects strongly to us entering the League of Nations in any way. When Senator Johnson states that the Republican platform is satisfactory to him and that Senator Harding feels as he does regarding the League of Nations, it naturally makes the League of Nations the primary issue of the campaign and places the contest between Cox who stands for internationalism and Harding, Lodge, Smoot and Penrose who stand for a strictly nationalistic policy. In this connection Mr. Cox stated as follows:
“Senator Harding makes this new pledge of policy in behalf of his party. It is as follows:
“‘_I promise you formal and effective peace so quickly as a Republican Congress can pass its declaration for a Republican Executive to sign._’
“This means but one thing--a separate peace with Germany. This would be the most disheartening event in civilization since the Russians made their separate peace with Germany, and infinitely more unworthy on our part than it was on that of the Russians. They were threatened with starvation and revolution had swept their country.
“Our soldiers fought side by side with the Allies. So complete was the coalition of strength and purpose that General Foch was given supreme command, and every soldier in the Allied cause, no matter what flag he followed, recognized him as his chief. We fought the war together, and now before the thing is thru it is proposed to enter into a separate peace with Germany. In good faith we pledged our strength with our associates for the enforcement of terms upon offending Powers, and now it is suggested that this be withdrawn.
“Suppose Germany, recognizing the first break in the Allies, proposes something we cannot accept. Does Senator Harding intend to send an army to Germany to press her to our terms? Certainly the Allied army could not be expected to render aid. If, on the other hand, Germany should accept the chance we offered of breaking the bond it would be for the express purpose of insuring a German-American alliance recognizing that the Allies--in fact, no nation in good standing would have anything to do with either of us.”
HONESTY _vs._ DISHONESTY
“This plan would not only be a piece of bungling diplomacy, but plain unadulterated dishonesty, as well. No less an authority than Senator Lodge said, before the heat of recent controversy, that to make peace except in company with the Allies would ‘brand us everlastingly with dishonor and bring ruin to us.’
“Then America, refusing to enter the League of Nations (now already established by over forty nations) and bearing and deserving the contempt of the world, should, according to Senator Harding, submit an entirely new project. This act would either be regarded as arrant madness or attempted international bossism....
“The League of Nations has claimed the best thought of America for years. The League to Enforce Peace was presided over by so distinguished a Republican as ex-President Taft. He, before audiences in every section, advocated the principle and the plan of the present league. Regarding Article X, our own Monroe Doctrine is the very essence of Article X of the Versailles covenant. Skeptics viewed Monroe’s mandate with alarm, predicting recurring wars in defense of Central and South American States, whose guardians they alleged we need not be. Yet not a shot has been fired in almost one hundred years in preserving sovereign rights on this hemisphere.
“These reactionary Senators hypocritically claim that the League of Nations will result in our boys being drawn into military service, when they know that no treaty can override our Constitution, which reserves to Congress alone the power to declare war. They preach Americanism with a meaning of their own invention, and artfully appeal to a selfish and provincial spirit, forgetting that Lincoln fought a war over the purely moral question of slavery, that McKinley broke the fetters of our boundary lines for the freedom of Cuba, and carried the torch of American idealism to the benighted Phillipines. They lose memory of Garfield’s prophecy that America, under the blessings of God-given opportunity, would by her moral leadership and coöperation become a Messiah among the nations of the earth.”
APPEALS FOR BROTHERHOOD
James M. Cox is essentially a man of broad outlook, big-hearted and anxious to serve. Altho criticized by some as an idealist, his ideals seem to be of the highest as if propelled by the righteousness of the causes which he represents. When referring further to the League of Nations, he said:
“These are fateful times. Organized government has a definite duty all over the world. The house of civilization is to be put in order. The supreme issue of the century is before us and the nation that halts and delays is playing with fire. The finest impulses of humanity, rising above national lines, merely seek to make another horrible war impossible. Under the old order of international anarchy war came overnight, and the world was on fire before we knew it. It sickens our senses to think of another. We saw one conflict into which modern science brought new forms of destruction in great guns, submarines, airships, and poison gases. But scientists tell us that the next war will be much worse. Chemists have already perfected gases so deadly that whole cities can be wiped out, armies destroyed, and the crews of battleships smothered. The public prints are filled with the opinion of military men that in future wars the method, more effective than gases or bombs, will be the employment of the germs of diseases, carrying pestilence and destruction. Any nation prepared under these conditions, as Germany was equipped in 1914, could conquer the world in a year.
“The question is whether we shall or shall not join in this practical and humane movement. President Wilson, as our representative at the peace table, entered the League in our name, in so far as the executive authority permitted. Senator Harding, as the Republican candidate for the Presidency, proposed in plain words that we remain out of it. As the Democratic candidate, I favor going in.
“To me the Harding proposal means dishonor, world confusion and delay. It would keep us in permanent company with Germany, Russia, Turkey and Mexico. It would entail, in the ultimate, more real injury than the war itself. The Democratic position on the question, as expressed in the platform, is ‘We advocate immediate ratification of the treaty without reservations which would impair its essential integrity, but do not oppose the acceptance of any reservation making clearer or more specific the obligations of the United States to the League associates.’”
RESERVATIONS THAT COX FAVORS
When discussing with Mr. Cox his attitude on the treaty reservations, he said:
“The captious may pretend that our platform reference to reservations is vague and indefinite. Its meaning, in brief, is that we shall state our interpretation of the covenant as a matter of good faith to our associates and as a precaution against any misunderstanding in the future.”
As to these “interpretations,” Mr. Cox felt that some statement should be made and suggested the following two:
(1) _In giving its assent to this treaty the Senate has in mind the fact that the League of Nations, which it embodies, was devised for the sole purpose of maintaining peace and comity among the nations of the earth and preventing the recurrence of such conflicts as that thru which the world has just passed. The coöperation of the United States with the League and its continuance as a member thereof, will naturally depend upon the adherence of the League to that fundamental purpose._
(2) _It will, of course, be understood that in carrying out the purpose of the League the Government of the United States must at all times act in strict harmony with the terms and intent of the United States Constitution, which cannot in any way be altered by the treaty-making power._
OTHER FUNDAMENTAL PRINCIPLES
I have always found Mr. Cox very sound on economic problems. His ideas on taxation are not popular with the politicians; but are sound from the economist point of view. He is opposed to the present form of taxation which increases prices and retards development. He believes that present Federal taxes should be repealed and instead constructive laws should be enacted. He believes in taxation which will tend to develop improvements rather than retard them; taxation which will tend to retard consumption rather than increase it; taxation which will result in reducing waste rather than in encouraging it. On the other hand he believes that the Government should do all it can to suppress profiteering, and concerning this he states as follows:
OPPOSED TO PROFITEERING BY CAPITAL OR LABOR
“If I am called to service as President, means will be found, if they do not already exist, for compelling these exceptions to the great mass of square-dealing American business men to use the same yardstick of honesty that governs most of us or else suffer the penalty of criminal law. To avoid such action on my part these profiteers are today working for my defeat.”
Concerning industrial disputes, the Governor says:
“Many captains of industry, guided by a most dangerous industrial philosophy, believe that in controversies between employer and employee their will should be enforced, even at the point of the bayonet. I speak knowingly. I have passed thru many serious industrial troubles. I know something of their psychology, the stages thru which they pass, and the dangerous attempts that are sometimes made to end them. Disputes between labor and capital are inevitable. The disposition to gain the best bargain possible characterizes the whole field of exchange, whether it be product for product or labor for money. If strikes are prolonged public opinion always settles them. Public opinion should determine results in America. Public opinion is the most interesting characteristic of a democracy, but it is the real safety valve to the institutions of a free government. It at times is necessary for the Government to inquire into the facts of a tieup, but facts, and not conclusions, should be submitted. The determining form of unprejudiced thought will do the rest. During this process, governmental agencies must give a vigilant eye to the protection of life and property, and maintain firmness but absolute impartiality. This is always the real test, but if official conduct combines courage and fairness our governmental institutions come out of these affairs untarnished by distrust.
“Morals cannot easily be produced by statute. The writ of injunction should not be abused. Intended as a safeguard to person and property, it could easily by abuse cease to be the protective device it was intended to be. Capital develops into large units without violence to public sentiment or injury to public interest--the same principle should not be denied to labor. Collective bargaining thru the means of representatives selected by the employer and the employee respectively will be helpful rather than harmful to the general interest. Besides, there is no ethical objection that can be raised to it. We should not, by law, abridge a man’s right either to labor or to quit his employment. However, neither labor nor capital should at any time or in any circumstance take action that would put in jeopardy the public welfare.”
“We need a definite and precise statement of policy as to what business men and workingmen may do and may not do by way of combination and collective action. The law is now so nebulous that it almost turns upon the economic predilections of judge or jury. This does not make for confidence in the courts nor respect for the laws, nor for a healthy activity in production and distribution. There surely will be found ways by which coöperation may be encouraged without the destruction of enterprise. The rules of business should be made more certain so that on a stable basis men may move with confidence.”
James M. Cox is an ardent advocate of education. He believes that the chief function of government is to protect men in their freedom of effort and rights of ownership and that other things must be left largely to the church and the schools. He believes that it is impossible to make men honest by legislation and only as men’s hearts are changed can legislation be of any avail. He is especially interested in the education of the great mass of aliens, negroes and others in this country who have been attracted here by various causes. Concerning this he says:
“Unrest has been reinforced in no small degree by the great mass of unassimilated aliens. Attracted by an unprecedented demand for labor, they have come to our shores by the thousands. As they have become acquainted with the customs and opportunities of American life, thousands of them have become citizens, and are owners of their own homes. However, the work of assimilation too long was merely automatic. One million six hundred thousand foreign-born in this country cannot read or write our language. Our interest in them in the main has been simply as laborers assembled in the great trade centers, to meet the demand of the hour. Without home or community ties, many have been more or less nomadic, creating the problem of excessive turn-over, which has perplexed manufacturing plants.
“But this has not been the worst phase of the situation; unfamiliar with law, having no understanding of the principles of our Government, they have fallen an easy prey to unpatriotic and designing persons. Public opinion has had no influence upon them because they have been isolated from the current of opinion, all due to their not being able to read or write our language. It is the duty of the Federal Government to stimulate the work of Americanization on the part of church, school community agencies, State governments and industry itself.
“In the past, many industries that have suffered from chronic restlessness have been the chief contributors to their own troubles. The foreigner with European standards of living was welcomed, but too often no attempt was made to educate him to domestic ideals, for the simple reason that it adversely affected the ledger. It has been my observation that the man who learns our language yields to a controlling public opinion and respects our laws; besides, in proportion as his devotion to American life develops, his interest in the impulsive processes of revolution diminishes. We must be patient in the work of assimilation and studiously avoid oppressive measures in the face of mere evidence of misunderstanding. We have a composite nation. The Almighty doubtless intended it to be such. We will not, however, develop patriotism unless we demonstrate the difference between despotism and democracy.
“There must be an awakened interest in education. The assumption that things are all right is an error. There is more or less of a general idea that because our school system generally is satisfactory and in most instances excellent, sufficient progress is being made. The plain facts reveal two startling things: one, a growing decimation in the ranks of teachers, and the other, the existence of 5,500,000 illiterates. It is true that 1,600,000 of these are foreign born. The army of instructors has been more or less demoralized thru financial temptation from other activities which pay much better. We owe too much to the next generation to be remiss in this matter.
“Very satisfactory progress is being made in several States in the teaching of native-born illiterates. The moonlight school in Kentucky, has, in fact, become a historic institution. The practice has spread in other Commonwealths, and bands of noble men and women are rendering great service. There should be no encroachment by the Federal Government on local control. It is the healthful, reasonable individualism of American national life that has enabled the citizens of this republic to think for themselves, and, besides, State and community initiative would be impaired by anything approaching dependence. The Central Government, however, can inventory the possibilities of progressive education, and in helpful manner create an enlarged public interest in this subject.”
INTERESTED IN THE FARMERS
From boyhood Mr. Cox has always been interested in the farmers. He believes that agriculture is the most important form of industry. He insists it is the basis of industry because upon it depends the food supply. The drift from countryside into the city carries disquieting portents. If our growth in manufacturing in the next few years holds its present momentum, it will be necessary for America to import foodstuffs. It, therefore, develops upon government, thru intensive scientific coöperation, to help in maintaining as nearly as possible the existing balance between food production and consumption. Farming will not inspire individual effort unless profits, all things considered, are equal to those in other activities. To check the depleted ranks in the fields Governor Cox recommends the establishment of modern state rural school codes. Concerning this and other rural questions, he says:
“The Federal Government should maintain active sponsorship of such. Rural parents would be lacking in the elements which make civilization enduring if they did not desire for their children educational opportunities comparable to those in the cities.
“The price the consumer pays for foodstuffs is no indication of what the producer receives. There are too many turn-overs between the two. Society and Government, particularly local and State, have been remiss in not modernizing local marketing facilities. Municipalities must in large measure interest themselves in, if not directly control, community markets. This is a matter of such importance that the Federal Government can profitably expend money and effort in helping to evolve methods and to show their virtues.
“The preservation of foodstuffs by cold storage is a boon to humanity, and it should be encouraged. However, the time has come for its vigilant regulation and inasmuch as it becomes a part of interstate commerce, the responsibility is with the Federal Government. Supplies are gathered in from the farm in times of plenty. They can easily be fed out to the consumer in such manner as to keep the demand in excess of that part of the supply which is released from storage. This is an unfair practice and should be stopped. Besides, there should be a time limit beyond which perishable foodstuffs should not be stored.”
INTERESTED IN THE HOME OWNER
I have often referred to Secretary Wilson’s statement that no man was ever known to hang the red flag of anarchy over his own hearthstone. Mr. Cox says:
“Multiply our home owners, and you will make the way of the seditious agitator more difficult. Bring into the picture of American life more families having a plot of garden and flowers all their own and you will find new streams running into the national current of patriotism. Help to equalize the burdens of taxation by making the holders of hidden wealth pay their share with those whose property is in sight. In short, remove the penalty imposed upon home-building thrift and thousands of contented households under the shelter of their own roof will look upon government with affection, recognizing that in protecting it they protect themselves.
“Common prudence would suggest that we increase to our utmost our area of tillable land. The race between increased consumption and added acreage has been an unequal one. Modern methods of soil treatment have been helpful, but they have their limitations. There are still vast empires in extent, in our country, performing no service to humanity. They require only the applied genius of men to cover them with the bloom and harvest of human necessities. The Government should turn its best engineering talent to the task of irrigation projects. Every dollar spent will yield compensating results.”
A study of James M. Cox’s speeches shows very clearly that he stands for a budget system, the right of free speech and assembly, the strengthening of the Federal Reserve System, the re-organization of our consular service, and some liberal provision for our ambassadors and foreign officers especially in countries where we have foreign missionaries together with improvement of the various executive branches of the government.
Mr. Cox insists that if elected he would surround himself with unselfish men with highest purposes who are unselfish in their desire to be of service to all alike. He insists that he will be no “party President,” but will work for the entire people whatever their creed, color or political faith. In talks with him and a story of his records, I believe this is true.
In closing this story of Cox I cannot do better than quote his concluding remarks to his Acceptance Speech which were as follows:
“How misguided some of our people are: Recognizing that readjustment must be made, they believe that they will fare better if they cast their fortunes with those with whom they voted in days gone by. They do not sense the dangers that threaten. The sort of readjustment which will appeal to our self respect and ultimately to our general prosperity is the _honest_ readjustment. Any unfair adjustment simply delays the ultimate process, and we should remember the lesson of history that one extreme usually leads to another. We desire industrial peace. We want our people to have an abiding confidence in government, but no readjustment made under reactionary auspices will carry with it the confidence of the country.
“If I were asked to name in these trying days the first essential overshadowing every other consideration, the response would be confidence in government. It would be nothing less than a calamity if the next administration were elected under corrupt auspices. There is unrest in the country; our people have passed thru a trying experience. The European war before it engulfed us, aroused every radical throb in a nation of composite citizenship. The conflict in which we participated carried anxieties into every community and thousands upon thousands of homes were touched by tragedy.
“We want to forget war and be free from the troubling thought of its possibility in the future. We want the dawn and the dews of a new morning. We want happiness in the land, the feeling that the square deal among men and between men and Government is not to be interfered with by a purchased preference. We want a change from the old world of yesterday, where international intrigue made the people mere pawns in the chessboard of war. We want a change from the old industrial world where a man who toiled was assured ‘a full dinner pail’ as his only lot and portion.
“Now how are we to make the change? Which way shall we go? We stand at the forks of the road and must choose which to follow. One leads to a higher citizenship, a freer expression of the individual and a fuller life for all. The other leads to reaction, the rule of the few over the many, and the restriction of the average man’s chances to grow upward. Cunning devices backed by unlimited prodigal expenditures will be used to confuse and lure.
“I have an abiding faith that the pitfalls will be avoided and the right road chosen. The leaders opposed to democracy promise to put the country ‘back to normal.’ This can only mean the so-called normal of former reactionary administrations, the outstanding feature of which was a pittance for farm produce and a small wage for a long day of labor. My vision does not turn backward to the ‘normal’ desired by the Senatorial oligarchy, but to a future in which all shall have a normal opportunity to cultivate a higher stature amidst better environments than that of the past. I am praying toward the sunrise of tomorrow with its progress and its eternal promise of better things. The opposition stands in skyline of the setting sun, looking backward, to the old days of reaction.”
Shortly after his nomination for President in 1920, I told Mr. Cox that I was writing a story of his life. He answered:
“Well, Babson, please omit all the unessentials and even the things which I have said, and--so far as possible--confine it to my record and what I have done.”
Therefore, in this closing chapter, I wish to record some of the things which he has actually done and for which I am indebted to his friend and associate, Mr. E. H. Moore. Most of these things Mr. Cox, either as Congressman or as Governor, actually started, put thru or consummated. A few of them he simply aided by his influence, but all he believed in and worked for and saw accomplished.
All classes of citizenship have confidence in Mr. Cox because he accepts safe counsel and is a careful judge. Among the legislative measures above referred to, let me enumerate:
A public utilities law providing property revaluation as a basis for rate making.
Provision for court appeal from the utilities commission decision to the court of final jurisdiction, preventing delay and loss.
Prohibition against injunction on rate hearing without court investigation.
A uniform accounting system applied to public utilities.
A state banking code with close coöperation with the Federal Reserve system, bringing all private banks under state supervision.
A blue sky act to encourage proper investment and to protect against fraudulent securities.
A compulsory workmen’s compensation law, admittedly the best in the Union and which has been accepted as the model by other progressive states.
A State Industrial Commission with powers to handle all questions affecting capital and labor, with a state mediator as the keystone.
Complete survey of occupational diseases with recommendation for health and occupational insurance.
Full switching crew law for all railroad yards.
Legislation strengthening the use in the state of railroad safety appliances.
A full-crew law.
A twenty-four-foot caboose law.
Reduction of consecutive hours of employment for electric railroad workers.
Obstruction of fixed signals prohibited.
Safeguarding of accidents in mines by proper illumination.
Extra provision for dependents of men killed in mines.
Increased facilities for mine inspector operation.
Protection of miners working toward abandoned mines.
Elimination of sweatshop labor.
Provision for minimum time per day.
Prohibition of contract labor in workhouses.
Eight-hour working day on all public contracts.
Elimination of the “fellow-servant rule,” “contributory negligence,” and similar rules as to industrial accidents as a part of the administration of compulsory workmen’s compensation, re-establishing faith in the courts.
Verdict by three-fourths jury in civil cases.
Shortened litigation and lessened expense by giving appellate courts final jurisdiction except in extraordinary cases.
Laws to provide against adulteration of food-stuffs, and prevent combination to fix prices.
Establishment of a state tuberculosis hospital and district hospitals thruout the state by county action.
Adoption of health code giving state health commissioner regulatory power over subdivision officials, with a special appropriation to combat epidemics and contagious diseases.
Formation of a state-wide social agency committee, bringing into mutual operation all recognized social agencies of the state (the only one of its kind in the Union), having complete coöperation with state departments.
Additional provision for care of feeble-minded, including erection and equipment of a new institution on the cottage plan, with appropriation for a tuberculosis hospital.
Provision for additional cottages at the hospital for epileptics.
Establishment of a Bureau of Juvenile Research with provision for thoro mental and physical examinations of all juveniles committed to the institutions of the state; for final placement in the institution best fitted for the ward’s needs. This bureau is primarily a mental hygiene clinic, coöperating with other mental clinics thruout the state and maintaining a permanent central registration of mental defectives, looking toward elimination of causes which produce defective children.
Codification of child laws with establishment of child welfare department.
Compulsory provision for mothers’ pensions.
Creation of a Board of Clemency, to be in constant session for consideration of release, parole, and probation of persons under penal sentences.
Indeterminate sentence law under which first offenders are given every opportunity for rehabilitation, so that no men shall be deprived of the opportunity of making a new beginning.
Purchase of a penitentiary farm and building of a new penitentiary in the country.
Employment of prisoners in road work, including the manufacture of road building machinery and material, with compensation of prisoners for all work done, with earnings over cost of maintenance paid directly to dependants of prisoners.
Recommendation and passage of state legislation for woman suffrage.
Consolidated schools in excess of 1200, with full high school courses, have supplanted more than five times that number of one-room school houses.
A complete supervision of school courses and textbooks has been established.
A law combining all agricultural activities under jurisdiction of an agricultural commission.
Provision for study of farm credit plans.
Protection against sale of untested fertilizers.
Provision for destruction of and remuneration for diseased cattle.
Compulsory orchard spraying law, with spraying material under license.
Establishment of breeding service at institutional farms, and the building up of pure-bred herds thruout the state.
Passage of a pure seed bill.
Establishment of producer-to-consumer market bureau.
Enlargement of agricultural aid thru the experiment station and state agricultural college.
GOOD ROADS PROGRAM
Beginning in 1915, with an annual revenue of three and one-half million dollars, with a carefully planned system of inter-county and main-market highways under state supervision with federal aid, the program for Ohio was extended until now there has been made available from state sources the sum of thirty million dollars annually for the maintenance and upkeep of main roads.
Legislation for the use of the split log drag on graveled connecting roads.
Provision for the united action of township, county commissioners and state highway department on all road work.
In closing let me quote once more from Mr. Cox, mostly from an address before the Iroquois Club at Chicago, March 25, 1920.
“Public officers are the representatives of government and they promote or diminish confidence in our institutions either by wisdom or error. Never before has there been such a pressing necessity for plain good faith on the part of those in whose hands rests governmental power as exists today.
“We must give immediate attention to matters of domestic concern. Our whole economic status seems to be unnatural. Prices are high and they will remain so until we seriously dedicate our efforts to the wiping away of things that came with the war.
“A considerable factor in the high cost of living is the continuance of the excess profits tax. In establishing the selling price of its product, every business establishment sets aside a reasonable profit and then adds to it the amount that must be paid to the government. This is done in turn by the manufacturer, the jobber, the distributor and the retailer, the inevitable result being a staggering cost to the consumer.
“Approximately four billion dollars will be necessary to conduct the department of government and to meet sinking fund and interest charges. Almost half of this could be derived by applying a tax of from one to one and one-half per cent on the volume of business done by any going concern. It would be a simple matter to collect this tax; the tax-payer would not be confused by it, and it would be neither cause nor alibi for excessive prices.
“I favor the abolishment of the federal inheritance tax just as soon as we can get along without it. This method of taxation should be left to the states. Tax on inheritance is based upon the principle of government being compensated for service rendered in conveying property from one generation to another. A man makes a will and it has a definite force and effect because the law legalizes it. The right is given to him by the state and the process of the distribution of his estate is thru the agency of local government. The federal authority has nothing to do with it, therefore the compensation for services rendered should be to the states.
“There is some hysteria over the subject of active elements in this country that are menacing to the government. There is no immediate danger in the situation, altho it might easily be aggravated if the governmental policy of restraint and common sense that has endured thru the years, were to become one of force and terrorism. There must be no compromise with treason, but the surest death to Bolshevism is exposure of the germ of the disease itself to the sunlight of public view. In the old days, the treatment for scarlet fever consisted of an intensive attack on the high temperature of fever. The result was a reaction on vital organs that left permanent affliction. Now the fever, under restraint, is permitted to run its course and what was once regarded as a very serious ailment is little more than a simple malady.
“We must protect ourselves against extremes in America. The horrors and tragedies of revolution can be charged to them. If government is assailed, its policy must not become vengeful. Our fathers in specifying human freedom, and providing guarantees for its preservation, recognized that among the necessary precautions was the protection of individual right against governmental abuses.
“If the alien, ignorant of our laws and customs, cowers in fear of our government, he is very apt to believe that things are much the same the world over, and he may become an easy convert to the doctrines of resistance. The skies will clear, but meanwhile, government must be firm yet judicial, uninfluenced by the emotionalism that breeds extremes. The less government we have, consistent with safety to life and property, the better for both happiness and morals. A policeman on every corner would be a bad index to the citizenship of the community, for it would reflect a foolish concept of conditions by the municipal officers.
“In this, I merely seek to give point to the necessity now that the war is over, of junking the most of our institutions devoted to war, and scaling governmental machinery down to the very point of necessity and efficiency. It is idle to talk of reducing governmental expense if the nation has to be armed to the teeth, and vast armies and navies will be necessary if the concerted plan of international peace fails. The guarantee against war is credit against which a debit charge must be made, and after all, this is the very crux of the controversy over the League of Nations.
“Finally, there can be no result worth while unless the nations of the earth assume a definite obligation one to another. The mere promise of this country to place its responsibility on the shifting sands of congressional caprice is a travesty to human intelligence. We are seeking to shake ourselves free from the cost of war, and yet the task of readjustment along the line of constructive economy is faced at the very outset with the question of what our military and naval policy shall be.
“Let us meet these questions as brave and unselfish men, with our eyes focused on the star of righteousness. Let us be liberal, but practical; let us be kind, but firm; let us be patient, but persistent. The great need today is not more government, but better government; not government in the interest of any one class, but government in the interest of all classes, yes, in the interest of all nations.”
* * * * *
In this little volume, I have attempted a review, as fair minded as lay in my powers, of salient _facts_ in the life of one of America’s conspicuous citizens. I can not in my own judgment class Governor Cox as at present more than that--one of a rather large group of America’s conspicuous citizens. Not a eulogy of a presidential candidate, but a record of the _facts_ with which the American public should be familiar--this was my purpose.
And yet, I shall not deny that in this simple objective I hope for a further result. That result must come if better knowledge begets better judgment.
Such a pitiful mass of mere comment we meet everywhere about men in public life! Campaign pyrotechnics, political bombast, editorial puffs--or bitter attacks, untruthful insinuations, appeals to blind prejudice!--and only here and there, amid all such chaff, a kernel of _fact_!
Hence this presentation of the life of Cox--not opinions about Cox, not _words_ surrounding Cox, but the facts inherent in Cox, what he said, what he did, what life he has lived to this day.
I should welcome nothing more than a similar presentation of the life of Senator Harding, written by a sincere admirer, yet one whose admiration does not make him blind to objective truths.
That I admire the man Cox is evident from this volume. This admiration is based partly upon my observations thru personal contact and partly upon my observation of the things this man has _done_. His record as governor is truly _remarkable_ and it may be that we shall yet discover in this simple, plain Ohio newspaper publisher, one of America’s historically _great_ men.
But far more than in the man Cox am I interested in the principles for which he stands. He is the exponent today of all our forces of liberalism. And liberalism in my opinion is a synonym for _true_ Americanism, not the rhetorical Americanism of phrase makers, but _genuine_ Americanism.
A well-known Boston business man a few days ago accosted me thus:
“Mr. Babson,” he said, “you are known as an adviser for business interests, an expert on finance, an authority on investments. Why do you ally yourself with political interests that are hostile to all our financial interests?”
I answered him by saying:
“I advise investors as honestly as I know how regarding their investment problems. I also reserve the right and the duty to express myself to the public as honestly as I know how regarding public problems. I am not in the slightest allied to any political group; but my financial interests must not and will not taint my political views.
“Incidentally, I am not publishing advice regarding Mr. Cox. I am simply a recorder of facts, including facts which are anything but campaign material in behalf of the governor’s political advancement.
“But if I were to put the proposition on sordid grounds, I might, if it were not against my principles to mix political views with the pure routine of business statistics and business forecast, proceed to show why the financial interests should ally themselves at this hour with all the forces of liberalism.
“For the question of the hour is not embodied in the issues as they appear before the public. These issues are but the expressions of the fundamental issue,--the contest of liberalism and reaction.
“If we have a period of reactionary rule for the next four years, not only will labor suffer, but all industry must surely soon suffer the consequences--the consequences of attempting to fight the inevitable onward march of Father Time.
“Reactionary business men in America do not appear to realize that they are walking hand in hand with the ultra-radicals. In England, the financial interests have awakened, for there the ultra-radicals are plainly on record as opposed above all else to the compromises of liberalism because as they frankly admit, such liberalism ‘tends to preserve the present system of society instead of hastening the upheaval.’
“The greatest danger in America today comes from those who, seeing the steam escaping from the safety valve, are crying loud to shut the valve.”