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member in the Cleveland Board of Education. He served for two years in this capacity, but did not attend much more than half the meetings of the board. It must be remembered that the business of Rhodes & Co. kept him travelling a great deal of the time. That he was elected for the position indicates a certain political prominence in his own ward. That he accepted an “honor” office of that kind indicates some public spirit. That he was never reëlected may mean that he could not give as much time as was necessary to the work. He was accustomed even then to dealing with large affairs in an authoritative way, and he may well have found the petty details of the work and its lack of any real opportunity for effective achievement irksome and futile.
Mr. Andrew Squire and Mr. A. C. Saunders recollect Mr. Hanna as an active party worker in the old ninth ward towards the middle of the seventies. He could always be counted on for presence at the polls and at the primaries, and for assistance in the task of getting the vote out and securing an honest count. Mr. Daniel Myers, a wholesale druggist in Cleveland, asserts that when a young man, he remembers attending a political meeting at which Mr. Hanna also was present. The date was not far from 1870. The object of the meeting was to stir up opposition to a ward boss who had been controlling the nominations for the office of city councilman. The foremost business men in the district attended the conference, and Mr. Hanna was one of the prominent speakers. He urged upon his hearers the need of an open and honest primary election, and the necessity of participation by the “better element” of the ward in active political work.
The date of another similar incident may be fixed definitely in 1873. At that time the Cleveland municipal elections were held in the spring, and were preceded by only a very short campaign. The Republicans nominated John Huntington. The nomination was unfit, and many Republicans, including Mark Hanna, decided to bolt. A meeting was called, in which Mr. Hanna was prominent, and it agreed to support Charles A. Otis, a Democrat, but not one who had been active in politics. Mr. Otis was elected, while the rest of the Democratic ticket was defeated.
These instances sufficiently indicate that Mr. Hanna's active interest in politics long antedated his connection with the street railway. Neither he nor his wife became even partial owners in the West Side Street Railway until 1876, and not until six years later did he undertake the management of that corporation. His business affairs had nothing to do with his entrance into politics, and he did not remain in politics in their interest. Quite apart from the evident fact that any benefit which his business could derive from his political connection would only be incidental, no one who understands the sort of a man Mark Hanna was can believe for an instant that his interest in politics could be derived from any source outside of itself.
He could no more help being interested in politics, and in expressing that interest in an eager effort to elect men to office, than he could help being interested in business, his family or his food. His disposition was active, sympathetic and expansive; and it was both uncritical and uncalculating. He accepted from his surroundings the prevailing ideas and modes of action. He went into business because business was the normal career for a good American. The selection of both his dominant and his subordinate business interests was influenced, as we have seen, more by personal motives than by any intention of making a large fortune. In the same way he went into politics, because politics was the other primary activity demanded of him by his local surroundings. Under prevailing conditions it was an inevitable way of asserting himself for a man who had an instinctive disposition towards an expansive all-round life — so far as such a life could be reached in action. He could no more have entered or remained in politics merely from a calculating motive, good or bad, than he could have planned to become a poet.
He went into business partly as a bread-winner and partly because it took business to keep him busy. He went into politics as a citizen. The motive, in so far as it was conscious, was undoubtedly patriotic. That he should wish to serve his country as well as himself and his family was rooted in his make-up. If he proposed to serve his country, a man of his disposition and training could do so only by active work in party politics. Patriotism meant to him Republicanism. Good government meant chiefly Republican government. Hence the extreme necessity of getting good Republicans elected, and the absolute identity in his mind and in the minds of most of his generation between public and party service. Mark Hanna differed from the majority of successful business men of his generation in that he continued to live up to his conviction of the identity between active personal participation in party politics and public service. During the seventies and eighties successful business men were becoming so much absorbed in making money that their participation in politics was ceasing to be active and personal. The work which they formerly did in politics was being more and more taken over by professional politicians. But there was a minority of business men who never consented to any such division of labor. They continued to participate in active political work, and to proclaim by their behavior that business men had no right to shirk or shift their share of personal political responsibility. Among them was Mr. Hanna; and in remaining true to the close association between business and politics, he was loyal to a time-honored and fundamental American tradition. Once more he was proving himself to be the descendant of the pioneer who made no sharp distinction between private and public interest, and who testified to the coincidence between private and public interest by the association in their own lives between business and political activity. A number of men familiar with the political annals of Cleveland during the seventies corroborate Mr. Myers in the assertion that a part of Mark Hanna's early political activity consisted in fighting the growing political power of the petty “bosses.” He used to go to the business men of his ward individually, and try to persuade them that they ought to be more actively interested in local municipal affairs—that they, the taxpayers, and not the ward heelers, should rule the city. Little by little he organized the business men in his neighborhood, and for a while he had the local “bosses” of the West Side more or less under control. In this connection it should be remembered that the first phase of the municipal reform movement all over the country took just this form of an attempt to renew the interest of business