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John William Bricker Passes Away

Today in Masonic History John William Bricker passed away in 1986.

John William Bricker was an American politician.

Bricker was born on a farm near Mount Sterline, Ohio on September 6th, 1893. He attended Ohio State University in Columbus where he was on the debating team and the baseball team. He graduated from Ohio State in 1916. He went to the Law School at Ohio State where he graduated in 1920. After graduation he opened his legal practice there in Columbus.

In 1917, Bricker served in the United States Army as a first lieutenant and chaplain. He served until 1918. After returning from the war, he became the solicitor of Grandview Heights, Ohio from 1920 to 1928. In 1923 he became the assistant attorney general of Ohio, serving until 1927. From 1928 to 1932 he was a member of the Public Utilities Commission of Ohio. In 1933 he became the Attorney General of Ohio and served until 1937.

In 1939, Bricker was elected to the first of three two year terms as Governor of Ohio. He was in office as Governor until 1945. During his term he championed the idea state and local governments should be where the power resided and not in a central, or Federal, government. In his first inauguration speech he summed up his philosophy by saying:

There must be a revitalization of state and local governments throughout the nation. The individual citizen must again be conscious of his responsibility to his government and alert to the preservation of his rights as a citizen under it. That cannot be done by taking government further away, but by keeping it at home.

In 1944, Bricker was Thomas Dewey's running mate on the Republican ticket. Bricker proved himself to be a tireless campaigner. He made 173 speeches during the campaign, 28 of them over a six day period. His final remarks came on the eve of election day when he said:

Not only has the New Deal depleted our resources, recklessly spent our money, but it has undermined the very spiritual foundations of our government.

Most of Bricker's campaign stops were in New England, the mid-West and the Western United States, he did make a stop in Texas at one point during the campaign. This was notable because of the fact Texas had a long tradition of voting Democrat and in Dallas Bricker stated Franklin Roosevelt was "a front for the Hillman-Browder Communist Party." Hillman being the leader of the Congress of Industrial Organizations and Browder being the head of the Communist Party of the United States of America.

After Dewey and Bricker lost in the election, Bricker ran, successfully for the United States Senate. He served until 1959 in the Senate. In the 1948, Presidential election, Dewey ran a second time, this time without Bricker. Possibly because Bricker was no longer on the ticket, Dewey failed to win Ohio. During his time in the Senate, Bricker is probably best known for the Bricker Amendment to the United States Constitution. It never passed, although it was presented in various forms in the 1950's. It's wording insulated American laws and policies from foreign influence exerted through treaties, executive agreements, international law or the United Nations. It also limited Presidential powers to sign treaties.

Bricker lost is United States Senate in an upset election. His opponent was at the time of the campaign 70 years old and considered a long shot to beat Bricker. Because of a national Democratic trend, Bricker lost the election by 4 percentage points.

Bricker passed away on March 22nd, 1986.

Bricker was a member of Mt. Sterling Lodge No. 269 in Mt. Vernon, Ohio. He was also a member of Community Chapter No. 227, Royal Arch Masons, Columbus Council No. 8, Royal and Select Masters and Mt. Vernon Commandery No. 1 Knights Templar. He was a member of the Ancient Accepted Scottish Rite, Northern Jurisdiction in Scioto Consistory and received his 33° in 1942. He was also a member of the Ancient Arabic Order of the Nobles of the Mystic Shrine in Aladdin Temple.