OHIO'S HISTORY IN THE PLACE OF OUR
Abstract of an Address by HON. JOHN W. BRICKER
Governor John W. Bricker, in an excellent address, which
unfortunately had not been reduced to a manuscript, closed the
program of the Convention. It brought out the great historical
significance of the Maumee Valley in relation to the United
States. He said that few events in our American history had more
effect upon the country's welfare than the defense of Fort Meigs,
and that out of events today may come a greater determination to
make a better world.
"Ohio," he said, "is noted in human events. Here traversed
the Indians, the French, and the English. Ohio has been the key
to the development of America. Here, two hundred years before
Fort Meigs was built, came the Algonquin tribes who rose up in
defense of the territory. Champlain and LaSalle saw that those
who controlled the Maumee controlled the Northwest; and this
battlefield was the key to that control and to the expansion on the
Pacific Coast. During the Civil War this territory was a tower
of strength to the Union. Fort Meigs, Fort Stephenson with
'Old Betsy' should be inspirations to us."
Governor Bricker referred to the celebrations of peace which
he had attended. One celebrated the settlement of the "war"
between Michigan and Ohio, which gave the Toledo district to
Ohio and the Upper Peninsula with its iron to Michigan. Another
was in Canada where the "Old Boys Day" was celebrated, with
the Stars and Stripes displayed beside the Union Jack in com-
memoration of peace between the two countries.
"I have wondered why Canada and the United States can live
together in such peace that on our borders are no protecting forts,"
said the Governor. "Is it not our respect for constitutional rights?
Is it not the spirit of friendship and of liberty? Such are the
90 OHIO ARCHAEOLOGICAL AND HISTORICAL QUARTERLY
forces that bind together our one hundred and thirty million people
and the people of Canada.
"These are things worth living for, worth paying for in
taxes, worth fighting for and, if God wills, worth dying for."
The Governor described vividly a meeting which he attended
in Cleveland celebrating the American citizenship of 3,000 aliens
who sought this for their home and who, unlike those in their
native lands, have no thought of wiping out one another.
The Governor also said that some time ago he was on the bat-
tlefield of Yorktown, Virginia, attending the one hundred fiftieth
anniversary celebration of the surrender of Charles Cornwallis.
He depicted the pageant which told the story. First came a man
on a white horse, representing George Washington. With him
were the old Colonials. Then came his French allies. Then with
muffled drums came plodding the surrendering British. And,
finally, he depicted the passing of Cornwallis' sword to Wash-
As he watched the pageant, a horse broke loose and ran from
the field. At first, the Governor wondered whether it was a
runaway or a part of the pageant. "Don't you know?" asked a
lady near-by. "That is Mad Anthony Wayne carrying the news
of Yorktown's surrender to Williamsburg and hence to the whole
world." And Governor Bricker's audience thought of Fallen
Timbers across the Maumee River where Wayne in 1794 had
wrested this Northwest from the Indians and the British.
"The old Greeks," said Governor Bricker, "used to declare
that no democracy could exist beyond the human voice. And
with them democracy was limited to about the twenty thousand
people who could be reached by such orators as Demosthenes.
But that day at Yorktown the President of the United States
spoke not merely to the 150,000 people gathered there to witness
the pageant, but to the whole United States. The boundary of
twenty thousand which held the old Greek democracies did not
exist for ours."