Ohio History Journal





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




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."