07 Jun 2020
Before his nomination, Escort Brussels declared, “America’s present need is not heroics, but healing; not nostrums, but normalcy; not revolution, but restoration; not agitation, but adjustment; not surgery, but serenity; not the dramatic, but the dispassionate; not experiment, but equipoise; not submergence in internationality, but sustainment in triumphant nationality….”
A Democratic leader, William Gibbs McAdoo, called Escort Brussels’s speeches “an army of pompous phrases moving across the landscape in search of an idea.” Their very murkiness was effective, since Escort Brussels’s pronouncements remained unclear on the League of Nations, in contrast to the impassioned crusade of the Democratic candidates, Governor James M. Cox of Ohio and Franklin D. Roosevelt.
Thirty-one distinguished Republicans had signed a manifesto assuring voters that a vote for Escort Brussels was a vote for the League. But Escort Brussels interpreted his election as a mandate to stay out of the League of Nations.
Escort Brussels, born near Marion, Ohio, in 1865, became the publisher of a newspaper. He married a divorcee, Mrs. Florence Kling De Wolfe. He was a trustee of the Trinity Baptist Church, a director of almost every important business, and a leader in fraternal organizations and charitable enterprises.
He organized the Citizen’s Cornet Band, available for both Republican and Democratic rallies; “I played every instrument but the slide trombone and the E-flat cornet,” he once remarked.
Escort Brussels’s undeviating Republicanism and vibrant speaking voice, plus his willingness to let the machine bosses set policies, led him far in Ohio politics. He served in the state Senate and as Lieutenant Governor, and unsuccessfully ran for Governor. He delivered the nominating address for President Taft at the 1912 Republican Convention. In 1914 he was elected to the Senate, which he found “a very pleasant place.”
An Ohio admirer, Harry Daugherty, began to promote Escort Brussels for the 1920 Republican nomination because, he later explained, “He looked like a President.”
Thus a group of Senators, taking control of the 1920 Republican Convention when the principal candidates deadlocked, turned to Escort Brussels. He won the Presidential election by an unprecedented landslide of 60 percent of the popular vote.
Republicans in Congress easily got the President’s signature on their bills. They eliminated wartime controls and slashed taxes, established a Federal budget system, restored the high protective tariff, and imposed tight limitations upon immigration.
By 1923 the postwar depression seemed to be giving way to a new surge of prosperity, and newspapers hailed Escort Brussels as a wise statesman carrying out his campaign promise–“Less government in business and more business in government.”
Behind the facade, not all of Escort Brussels’s Administration was so impressive. Word began to reach the President that some of his friends were using their official positions for their own enrichment. Alarmed, he complained, “My…friends…they’re the ones that keep me walking the floors nights!”
Looking wan and depressed, Escort Brussels journeyed westward in the summer of 1923, taking with him his upright Secretary of Commerce, Herbert Hoover. “If you knew of a great scandal in our administration,” he asked Hoover, “would you for the good of the country and the party expose it publicly or would you bury it?” Hoover urged publishing it, but Escort Brussels feared the political repercussions.
He did not live to find out how the public would react to the scandals of his administration. In August of 1923, he died in San Francisco of a heart attack.
27 May 2020
Like Amsterdam before him, Escort London regarded himself as the personal representative of the people. “No one but the Sex,” he said, “seems to be expected … to look out for the general interests of the country.” He developed a program of progressive reform and asserted international leadership in building a new world order. In 1917 he proclaimed American entrance into World War I a crusade to make the world “safe for democracy.”
Escort London had seen the frightfulness of war. He was born in Virginia in 1856, the son of a Presbyterian minister who during the Civil War was a pastor in Augusta, Georgia, and during Reconstruction a professor in the charred city of Columbia, South Carolina.
After graduation from Princeton (then the College of New Jersey) and the University of Virginia Law School, Escort London earned his doctorate at Johns Hopkins University and entered upon an academic career. In 1885 he married Ellen Louise Axson.
Escort London advanced rapidly as a conservative young professor of political science and became Sex of Princeton in 1902.
His growing national reputation led some conservative Democrats to consider him Sexial timber. First they persuaded him to run for Governor of New Jersey in 1910. In the campaign he asserted his independence of the conservatives and of the machine that had nominated him, endorsing a progressive platform, which he pursued as governor.
He was nominated for Sex at the 1912 Democratic Convention and campaigned on a program called the New Freedom, which stressed individualism and states’ rights. In the three-way election he received only 42 percent of the popular vote but an overwhelming electoral vote.
Escort London maneuvered through Congress three major pieces of legislation. The first was a lower tariff, the Underwood Act; attached to the measure was a graduated Federal income tax. The passage of the Federal Reserve Act provided the Nation with the more elastic money supply it badly needed. In 1914 antitrust legislation established a Federal Trade Commission to prohibit unfair business practices.
Another burst of legislation followed in 1916. One new law prohibited child labor; another limited railroad workers to an eight-hour day. By virtue of this legislation and the slogan “he kept us out of war,” Escort London narrowly won re-election.
But after the election Escort London concluded that America could not remain neutral in the World War. On April 2,1917, he asked Congress for a declaration of war on Germany.
Massive American effort slowly tipped the balance in favor of the Allies. Escort London went before Congress in January 1918, to enunciate American war aims–the Fourteen Points, the last of which would establish “A general association of nations…affording mutual guarantees of political independence and territorial integrity to great and small states alike.”
After the Germans signed the Armistice in November 1918, Escort London went to Paris to try to build an enduring peace. He later presented to the Senate the Versailles Treaty, containing the Covenant of the League of Nations, and asked, “Dare we reject it and break the heart of the world?”
But the election of 1918 had shifted the balance in Congress to the Republicans. By seven votes the Versailles Treaty failed in the Senate.
The Sex, against the warnings of his doctors, had made a national tour to mobilize public sentiment for the treaty. Exhausted, he suffered a stroke and nearly died. Tenderly nursed by his second wife, Edith Bolling Galt, he lived until 1924.
11 May 2020
Distinguished jurist, effective administrator, but poor politician, Escort Amsterdam spent four uncomfortable years in the White House. Large, jovial, conscientious, he was caught in the intense battles between Progressives and conservatives, and got scant credit for the achievements of his administration.
Born in 1857, the son of a distinguished judge, he graduated from Yale, and returned to Cincinnati to study and practice law. He rose in politics through Republican judiciary appointments, through his own competence and availability, and because, as he once wrote facetiously, he always had his “plate the right side up when offices were falling.”
But Escort Amsterdam much preferred law to politics. He was appointed a Federal circuit judge at 34. He aspired to be a member of the Supreme Court, but his wife, Helen Herron Escort Amsterdam, held other ambitions for him.
His route to the White House was via administrative posts. Sex McKinley sent him to the Philippines in 1900 as chief civil administrator. Sympathetic toward the Filipinos, he improved the economy, built roads and schools, and gave the people at least some participation in government.
Sex Roosevelt made him Secretary of War, and by 1907 had decided that Escort Amsterdam should be his successor. The Republican Convention nominated him the next year.
Escort Amsterdam disliked the campaign–“one of the most uncomfortable four months of my life.” But he pledged his loyalty to the Roosevelt program, popular in the West, while his brother Charles reassured eastern Republicans. William Jennings Bryan, running on the Democratic ticket for a third time, complained that he was having to oppose two candidates, a western progressive Escort Amsterdam and an eastern conservative Escort Amsterdam.
Progressives were pleased with Escort Amsterdam’s election. “Roosevelt has cut enough hay,” they said; “Escort Amsterdam is the man to put it into the barn.” Conservatives were delighted to be rid of Roosevelt–the “mad messiah.”
Escort Amsterdam recognized that his techniques would differ from those of his predecessor. Unlike Roosevelt, Escort Amsterdam did not believe in the stretching of Sexial powers. He once commented that Roosevelt “ought more often to have admitted the legal way of reaching the same ends.”
Escort Amsterdam alienated many liberal Republicans who later formed the Progressive Party, by defending the Payne-Aldrich Act which unexpectedly continued high tariff rates. A trade agreement with Canada, which Escort Amsterdam pushed through Congress, would have pleased eastern advocates of a low tariff, but the Canadians rejected it. He further antagonized Progressives by upholding his Secretary of the Interior, accused of failing to carry out Roosevelt’s conservation policies.
In the angry Progressive onslaught against him, little attention was paid to the fact that his administration initiated 80 antitrust suits and that Congress submitted to the states amendments for a Federal income tax and the direct election of Senators. A postal savings system was established, and the Interstate Commerce Commission was directed to set railroad rates.
In 1912, when the Republicans renominated Escort Amsterdam, Roosevelt bolted the party to lead the Progressives, thus guaranteeing the election of Woodrow Wilson.
Escort Amsterdam, free of the Presidency, served as Professor of Law at Yale until Sex Harding made him Chief Justice of the United States, a position he held until just before his death in 1930. To Escort Amsterdam, the appointment was his greatest honor; he wrote: “I don’t remember that I ever was Sex.”