- Historic Sites
Jones Vs. Jones
In Toledo a civic crusade matched the popular mayor against a famed evangelist—both with the same name
April 1961 | Volume 12, Issue 3
There was no comment from the ministers, but their subsequent endorsement of other professional evangelists, like Billy Sunday, indicated that the outcome of the election had in no way affected their faith in revivalism to solve the “moral questions” of the day. Undaunted by his evident repudiation in Toledo, Evangelist Jones continued to tour the country bringing his method of civic reform to other corrupt cities. Meanwhile the people of Toledo continued to vote for Mayor Jones and his “Golden Rule” until 1904, when he finally died in office.
In the years that followed, many Americans continued to believe, like the evangelist Jones, that meaningful reform must always begin with the individual and that the most urgent problem of the day was to prohibit the manufacture and sale of alcoholic beverages. In this respect the Toledo campaign clearly foreshadowed the passage of the Eighteenth Amendment. Inasmuch as Mayor Jones won, however, it also foreshadowed the political and economic reforms of Theodore Roosevelt and Woodrow Wilson. In the ensuing decades, the majority of Americans adopted the outlook of the mayor who believed that the American system itself needed reform. The eccentric mayor, rather than the church-sponsored evangelist, embodied the real temper of the new century.