Friday, April 25, 2008

Whigs in Sandusky

For those of you not tired of politics yet. . . .

The Whig Party was active in the United States from 1834–1856, having been formed by those who were strongly opposed to the tyrannical leadership of Andrew Jackson. The Whigs elected two American Presidents, William Henry Harrison in 1841, and Zachary Taylor in 1849. Both Presidents died before their terms ended.

Several Erie County residents were active in the Whig Party. Joseph M. Root, who held many political offices throughout his career, was elected as a Whig to the twenty-ninth Congress of the United States. Judge E. B. Sadler and Homer Goodwin, a well known Sandusky lawyer, both started out their careers as members of the Whig Party.

Newspaper editor Oran Follett, pictured below, was a staunch Whig leader in the 1840’s.
Sandusky’s first lawyer, Eleutheros Cooke, was elected to Congress as an anti-Jacksonian (later, Whig), serving from 1831 through 1833.
An earlier blog entry describes William Henry Harrison’s visit to Sandusky in 1840 when he was the Whig presidential candidate. The ladies of the town created a special banner in his honor. The October 5, 1852 issue of the Daily Commercial Register lists the names of fifty members of the Common Council of the city of Sandusky, who were planning a reception for General Winfield Scott. The council members, without regard to party, planned to welcome General Scott to the “hospitalities of the city, on the occasion of his approaching visit.” Though Scott lost the election, he had a multitude of supporters in Sandusky.

Eventually the Whig Party fell apart due to disunity on the issue of slavery. Most Whigs in the Northern United States joined the newly formed Republican Party. An excellent article about early Ohio political life is found in Edgar Allen Holt’s “Party Politics in Ohio: 1840-1850” available online through the Ohio Historical Society.

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