Samuel S. Cox

From Ohio History Central
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Samuel S. Cox was a prominent nineteenth century Ohio journalist and political leader.

Cox was born on September 30, 1824, in Zanesville, Ohio. Cox attended Ohio University but transferred to Brown University in Rhode Island. After his graduation in 1846, Cox returned to Ohio and established a law practice in Cincinnati.

In 1853, Cox embarked upon a newspaper career, serving as the editor of the Ohio Statesman in Columbus. Cox was an active member of the Democratic Party, and he used his newspaper to further that party's influence in the state. In 1855, Cox briefly served as the United States ambassador to Peru. In 1856, he returned to Ohio. Columbus residents elected Cox to the U.S. House of Representatives. He held this office for four consecutive terms. Cox's political power began to wane during the Civil War. Like many Ohioans, especially those with family connections in or economic ties to the South, Cox opposed the war. He strongly supported Clement Vallandigham, Ohio's most well-known opponent of the Civil War. Although Vallandigham was one of President Abraham Lincoln's most vocal critics, Cox was even more vehement in his verbal attacks against the president and the war.

Cox had strongly opposed slavery's expansion into new territory during the 1850s, especially into Kansas. However, for the most part, members of the Democratic Party believed that slavery should be allowed to exist anywhere. Republicans, like Lincoln, generally opposed slavery's expansion into new territories. During the 1860s, Cox also supported the Thirteenth Amendment to the United States Constitution, which outlawed slavery forever in the United States. While many Ohioans opposed the Civil War, a majority of the state's residents supported the war effort. Cox's opposition to the war led to his political defeat in Ohio.

Following his fourth term in the House of Representatives, Cox opened a law practice in New York. He did not remain out of politics. In 1868, New York residents elected Cox to the House of Representatives. He held this seat until 1883. In 1885, Cox became the U.S. ambassador to Turkey, a position that he held for two years. Following his assignment in Turkey, Cox returned to New York. In 1886, New York residents elected him once again to the House of Representatives. Cox served in the House until his death on September 10, 1889. 

See Also


  1. Cox, William Van Zandt, and Milton Harlow Northrup. Life of Samuel Sullivan Cox, by his Nephew, William Van Zandt Cox, and his Friend, Milton Harlow Northrup. Syracuse, NY: M.H. Northrup, 1899.  
  2. Dee, Christine, ed. Ohio's War: The Civil War in Documents. Athens: Ohio University Press, 2007.  
  3. Reid, Whitelaw. Ohio in the War: Her Statesmen, Generals and Soldiers. Cincinnati, OH: Clarke, 1895.
  4. Roseboom, Eugene H. The Civil War Era: 1850-1873. Columbus: Ohio State Archaeological and Historical Society, 1944.