Elihu Root (February 15, 1845 – February 7, 1937) was an American lawyer and statesman who served as the Secretary of War (1899–1904) under two presidents, as well as Secretary of State (1905–1909) under President Theodore Roosevelt. He was the prototype of the 20th century revolving door, shuttled between high-level appointed government positions in Washington, D.C. and private-sector legal practice in New York City. Autograph Card Signed, n.d. - 3 1/2 x 2 1/2 signed in blk ink with a lovely golden browning hue seen throughout. Overall, fine condition.
He was elected by the state legislature as a US Senator from New York and served one term, 1909–1915. Root was awarded the Nobel Peace Prize in 1912.
Root was a leading lawyer, whose clients included major corporations and such powerful players as Andrew Carnegie. Root served as president or chairman of the Carnegie Endowment for International Peace, the Carnegie Institution of Washington, and the Carnegie Corporation of New York.
As Secretary of War under McKinley and Roosevelt, Root designed American policies for the new colonial possessions, especially the Philippines and Cuba. His role in suppressing a Filipino revolt angered anti-imperialist activists at home. Root favored a paternalistic approach to colonial administration, emphasizing technology, engineering, and disinterested public service, as exemplified by the ethical standards of the Progressive Era.
Like most American progressives, he had his doubts about democracy, both in the United States and in the Philippines. He helped design the Foraker Act of 1900, the Philippine Organic Act (1902), and the Platt Amendment of 1901, which authorized American intervention in Cuba in the future if needed to maintain a stable government. He was a strong advocate of what became the Panama Canal, and he championed the Open Door to expand world trade with China.
Root was the leading modernizer in the history of the War Department, transforming the Army from a motley collection of small frontier outposts and coastal defense units into a modern, professionally organized, military machine comparable to the best in Europe.
He restructured the National Guard into an effective reserve, and created the Army War College for the advanced study of military doctrine and most important set up a general staff.
As Secretary of State under Theodore Roosevelt, Root modernized the consular service by minimizing patronage, promoted friendly relations with Latin America, and resolved frictions with Japan over the immigration of unskilled workers to the West Coast.
He negotiated 24 arbitration treaties that seemed important at the time, but are now neglected by historians. In the United States Senate, Root was part of the conservative Republican support network for President William Howard Taft.
He played a central role at the Republican National Convention in 1912 in getting Taft renominated. By 1916–17, he was a leading proponent of preparedness, with the expectation the United States would enter World War I.
President Woodrow Wilson sent him to Russia in 1917, in a mission that accomplished nothing. Root supported Wilson’s vision of the League of Nations, but with reservations along the lines proposed by Republican Senator Henry Cabot Lodge.
He was a strong advocate of using international law to prevent war, and helped design the Permanent Court of International Justice (World Court).
Legacy and honors:
His home in Clinton, New York, which he purchased in 1893, is known as the Elihu Root House; it was declared a National Historic Landmark in 1972.
The Elihu Root Gold Medal is awarded to the six highest scoring civilian competitors in the National Trophy Rifle Team Match and are subsequently named as team members. The captain and coach of the highest-scoring civilian team are named as the coach and captain of the team. All eight members receive Elihu Root gold medals.
There is a United States Army Reserve Base bearing his name in New York Mills, New York.