Collier's New Encyclopedia (1921)/Cox, James Middleton

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COX, JAMES MIDDLETON, an American public official, born in Jacksonburg, O., in 1870. He was the son of Gilbert and Eliza A. Cox. His father was a farmer and his early days were spent at Jacksonburg on his father's farm. His first schooling was obtained in the country schools of the neighborhood, but he later removed to Middletown, where he again attended the village school. For several years he taught school and at the same time wrote for the local newspapers. Removing to Cincinnati, he became a reporter on the staff of the “Inquirer,” and during this service he made the acquaintance of Paul J. Sorg, a wealthy tobacco manufacturer, and when the latter was elected to Congress, Cox became his private secretary. Following the conclusion of this service, he purchased the Dayton “News” of Dayton, O., and, with Mr. Sorg's help, built it up until it was a very profitable enterprise. Five years later he purchased the Springfield, O., “Press Republic.” These two papers formed the news league of Ohio. In 1908 he was elected to Congress, and on the expiration of his term, was re-elected. He served on the Committee of Appropriations and gained the conviction of the necessity of a budget system for the State and Nation. During his second term in Congress, he was nominated for governor of Ohio, and, after an aggressive campaign, was elected. At the same time there was adopted a new State constitution and in connection with the application of this instrument, Governor Cox inaugurated many reforms of his own, including a model rural school measure, and reforms relating to taxation and financial reform. At the expiration of his first term, he retired from public office, having been defeated, but he was re-elected again in 1916 and again in 1918. His administration of the office of governor was notable. In addition to the measures noted above, he put into effect the Workmen's Compensation Law, Mothers' Pension Law, Child Labor Law, and the Budget Law. His administration attracted wide attention and he became one of the strongest candidates for the Democratic nomination for the presidency in 1920. He was nominated on the 44th ballot at the convention at San Francisco, on July 6th. Following his nomination he at once began an aggressive campaign of speech-making throughout the country, and, from this time until Nov. 2, visited nearly every State in the Union. He was defeated by Senator Harding, the Republican candidate, and at once resumed his duties as governor of Ohio, serving until March 4, 1921. See United States, History.

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