Ohio History Journal

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Instructor in History, University of Georgia


The tempestuous career of Marcus A. Hanna during the

triumphant days of the Republican party at the turn of the century

is still the object of considerable interest to the historian. While

his importance is generally recognized, possibly even exaggerated,

the available biographical material on Hanna is not very satis-

factory, partly because the accounts tend to be biased, partly because

they often conflict with one another on many points. It is the purpose

of this paper to present certain incidents in his career as they are

related to the career of Theodore E. Burton, at that time the

Republican congressman from the 21st district in Cleveland, in an

attempt to throw additional light on several disputed points and

to aid in the proper evaluation of Hanna's political power and


Generally speaking, the political relationship between Hanna

and Burton was never cordial. Their political differences date back

at least as far as their quarrel over the Cleveland postmastership

during the Harrison administration. This does not mean, however,

that the two were constantly at odds with each other in the way

that Hanna was at odds with Senator Foraker. Burton was an out-

standing vote-getter and, as such, was badly needed in the politically

uncertain Cleveland area. Fortunately for Hanna, he was also a

man who believed in promoting party harmony. Hanna needed

Burton; Burton deplored factionalism. This was the basis of their

relationship and it was substantial enough to prevent, save on one

occasion, an open break between them.

If Congressman Burton had had the desire to contest the

leadership of Ohio politics with Hanna, the opportunity for so

doing came early and in a way which permitted him to take decisive

action. This occasion presented itself at the time the question of

appointing a successor to serve out the remainder of John Sherman's

term in the senate became an issue of national interest. The story