Root, Elihu (ON HOLD)
1929 TLS of the famed lawyer, Secretary of War (McKinley-TR) and State (TR), 1922 Nobel Peace Prize recipient
Autograph ID: 7158
Condition: Very good, center mail fold
Description: “(1845-1937) Lawyer, statesman, Theodore Roosevelt’s Secretary of State, McKinley & TR’s Secretary of War. He moved often between appointed government positions in Washington and his New York law practice, like the 20th century political “wise man” advising presidents on foreign and domestic issues. After entering the NY Bar, Root went into private corporate law practice, but was a junior defense counsel for “Boss” Tweed during his corruption trial. Other prominent, wealthy clients were Jay Gould, E. H. Harriman, and Chester A. Arthur; he was present when Arthur was told Garfield had died and he had succeeded to the presidency. He was a NY US Senator 1909-15, awarded the 1912 Nobel Prize for Peace for his work to bring nations together through arbitration and cooperation. His law clients included major corporations and powerful players like Andrew Carnegie. Root was president or chairman of the Carnegie Endowment for International Peace, the Carnegie Institution of Washington, and the Carnegie Corporation of New York. As McKinley & TR’s Secretary of War, Root designed policies for new colonial possessions like the Philippines and Cuba. He favored a paternalist colonial administration approach, emphasizing technology, engineering, and disinterested public service. He helped craft the 1900 Foraker Act, the 1901 Platt Amendment, and the 1901 Philippine Organic Act, strongly advocated what the Panama Canal, and championed the Open Door Policy to expand trade with China. A leading reformer of the War Department, he transformed the Army into a professionally organized, modern military machine comparable to Europe’s best. He reformed the National Guard into an effective reserve, created the Army War College for advanced study of military doctrine, and set up the General Staff. Root modernized the consular service by minimizing patronage, promoted good relations with Latin America, and resolved frictions with Japan over immigration of unskilled workers to the West Coast. He negotiated 24 treaties that committed the US and others to use arbitration to resolve disputes, leading to the creation of the Permanent Court of International Justice. In the Senate, he was part of President Taft’s conservative GOP support network and had a major role in getting him re-nominated at the 1912 Convention. By 1916–17, he was a leading proponent of preparedness, expecting the US would enter WW I. President Wilson sent him to Russia in 1917 to try to establish an alliance with the new Soviet government. He supported Wilson’s League of Nations with reservations, like those of Senator Henry Cabot Lodge, to allow the US to decide whether or not it would go to war. Harding named him to the US delegation led by Secretary of State Hughes that participated in the 1922 Washington Naval Conference (International Conference on the Limitation of Armaments).
TLS on his 6 ¾ x 5 ¼ “31 Nassau Street/New York” letterhead, January 25 1929, sending his autograph to a young man.”