Remembering politicians of our past
Published: Friday, September 7, 2012
Updated: Friday, September 7, 2012 00:09
Campus is buzzing with excitement as election season heats up and one of Miami’s own has a chance to become Vice President of the United States. But Rep. Paul Ryan (R-WI), a 1992 graduate, is not the first Miami alumnus to make political headlines.
In 1892, Whitelaw Reid, an 1856 graduate, ran unsuccessfully for the same office. He shared the Republican ticket with fellow Miami grad, Benjamin Harrison (1852), who was running for re-election. The pair made history as the only two graduates of the same institution to date to run for president and vice president.
Each had a unique background.
Reid preceded his nomination for Vice President as a journalist and politician, serving as the War and Washington Correspondent for The Cincinnati Gazette and editor of the New York Tribune, as well as serving as Minister to France between 1889 and 1982.
Before Harrison became president in 1889, he was a Brevet General in the Union Army, one of several Miami graduates to serve in the Civil War.
Although Oxford was north of the Mason-Dixon line, the line separating the Confederate states from the Union states, many Miami students’ hometowns were not. As a result, Miami can claim generals and congressmen from both the confederacy and the union.
Perhaps the most prominent is Joseph R. Davis, nephew of Confederate President Jefferson Davis and Miami graduate of 1842, who served as a Brigadier-General for the Confederate States of America.
Another notable Union General was 1827 graduate Robert Cumming Schenck, although the Civil War was not his only political claim to fame. Schenck also served as the leader of the Ohio Whig Party in 1841-42, an Ohio congressman, and Minister to Brazil, Great Britain, Uruguay, Paraguay and Argentina.
Harrison, Reid, Davis and Schenck were all graduates of what is now referred to as “Old Miami,” the period of time between 1824 and 1873 before the school was shut down and reopened. But with the nomination of Paul Ryan, “New Miami” is forming its own set of well-known political currents.
Some of the more recognizable “New Miami” alumni are 1916 graduates Marvin Pierce and Pauline Robinson Pierce, also known to former United States President George W. Bush as Grandma and Grandpa. The two Miami mergers are the parents of former first lady, Barbara Bush.
In addition, Sen. Maria Cantwell (D-WA), Miami class of 1981, is running for re-election to the United States House of Representatives.
Ohio Attorney General Mike Dewine, class of 1969, is another Miami graduate currently in office. Dewine, a republican, has also served in the Ohio Senate, the United States House of Representatives, and the United States Senate.