From Ohio History Central
John R. McLean was born on September 17, 1848, in Cincinnati, Ohio. The same year that McLean was born, his father, Washington McLean, acquired the Cincinnati Enquirer, a local newspaper. The paper was a major voice for the Democratic Party. Washington McLean served only as the owner of the paper. He was never a journalist or an editor.
John McLean originally considered a legal career, but upon graduating from Harvard University, he took a position with the Enquirer. He slowly taught himself the newspaper business, including the skills necessary to become a respected reporter. In 1881, McLean became the sole owner of the Enquirer. Under his leadership, the Enquirer's circulation increased from sixteen thousand to ninety thousand papers. McLean also acquired the Washington Post, one of the United States' leading newspapers during this era as well as today.
McLean also participated in the political arena. He generally supported the Democratic Party. He strongly opposed Ohioan George H. Pendleton's attempts to reform civil service. McLean received the Democratic Party's nomination for the United States Senate in 1885 and for the Ohio governor's seat in 1899. He lost both elections. McLean died on June 9, 1916.