Newton D. Baker
Overview
 
Newton Diehl Baker, Jr. was an American
United States
The United States of America is a federal constitutional republic comprising fifty states and a federal district...

 politician
Politician
A politician, political leader, or political figure is an individual who is involved in influencing public policy and decision making...

 who belonged to the Democratic Party
Democratic Party (United States)
The Democratic Party is one of two major contemporary political parties in the United States, along with the Republican Party. The party's socially liberal and progressive platform is largely considered center-left in the U.S. political spectrum. The party has the lengthiest record of continuous...

. He served as the 37th mayor of Cleveland, Ohio from 1912 to 1915 and as U.S. Secretary of War
United States Secretary of War
The Secretary of War was a member of the United States President's Cabinet, beginning with George Washington's administration. A similar position, called either "Secretary at War" or "Secretary of War," was appointed to serve the Congress of the Confederation under the Articles of Confederation...

 from 1916 to 1921.
Baker was born on December 3, 1871, in Martinsburg, West Virginia
Martinsburg, West Virginia
Martinsburg is a city in the Eastern Panhandle region of West Virginia, United States. The city's population was 14,972 at the 2000 census; according to a 2009 Census Bureau estimate, Martinsburg's population was 17,117, making it the largest city in the Eastern Panhandle and the eighth largest...

, the son of Newton Diehl Baker and Mary Ann (Dukehart) Baker. In 1892 he graduated from Johns Hopkins University
Johns Hopkins University
The Johns Hopkins University, commonly referred to as Johns Hopkins, JHU, or simply Hopkins, is a private research university based in Baltimore, Maryland, United States...

. After receiving his law degree from Washington and Lee University School of Law
Washington and Lee University School of Law
The Washington and Lee University School of Law is a private American Bar Association-accredited law school located in Lexington in the Shenandoah Valley region of Virginia. Facilities are currently on the campus of Washington and Lee University in Sydney Lewis Hall...

 in 1894, he became the private secretary to Postmaster General
United States Postmaster General
The United States Postmaster General is the Chief Executive Officer of the United States Postal Service. The office, in one form or another, is older than both the United States Constitution and the United States Declaration of Independence...

 William L. Wilson
William Lyne Wilson
William Lyne Wilson was a Bourbon Democrat politician and lawyer from West Virginia.-Biography:Born in Charles Town, Virginia , Wilson attended Charles Town Academy, graduated from Columbian College in 1860 and subsequently studied at the University of Virginia...

 in Washington, D.C.
Washington, D.C.
Washington, D.C., formally the District of Columbia and commonly referred to as Washington, "the District", or simply D.C., is the capital of the United States. On July 16, 1790, the United States Congress approved the creation of a permanent national capital as permitted by the U.S. Constitution....

.
Discussions
Encyclopedia
Newton Diehl Baker, Jr. was an American
United States
The United States of America is a federal constitutional republic comprising fifty states and a federal district...

 politician
Politician
A politician, political leader, or political figure is an individual who is involved in influencing public policy and decision making...

 who belonged to the Democratic Party
Democratic Party (United States)
The Democratic Party is one of two major contemporary political parties in the United States, along with the Republican Party. The party's socially liberal and progressive platform is largely considered center-left in the U.S. political spectrum. The party has the lengthiest record of continuous...

. He served as the 37th mayor of Cleveland, Ohio from 1912 to 1915 and as U.S. Secretary of War
United States Secretary of War
The Secretary of War was a member of the United States President's Cabinet, beginning with George Washington's administration. A similar position, called either "Secretary at War" or "Secretary of War," was appointed to serve the Congress of the Confederation under the Articles of Confederation...

 from 1916 to 1921.

Early years

Baker was born on December 3, 1871, in Martinsburg, West Virginia
Martinsburg, West Virginia
Martinsburg is a city in the Eastern Panhandle region of West Virginia, United States. The city's population was 14,972 at the 2000 census; according to a 2009 Census Bureau estimate, Martinsburg's population was 17,117, making it the largest city in the Eastern Panhandle and the eighth largest...

, the son of Newton Diehl Baker and Mary Ann (Dukehart) Baker. In 1892 he graduated from Johns Hopkins University
Johns Hopkins University
The Johns Hopkins University, commonly referred to as Johns Hopkins, JHU, or simply Hopkins, is a private research university based in Baltimore, Maryland, United States...

. After receiving his law degree from Washington and Lee University School of Law
Washington and Lee University School of Law
The Washington and Lee University School of Law is a private American Bar Association-accredited law school located in Lexington in the Shenandoah Valley region of Virginia. Facilities are currently on the campus of Washington and Lee University in Sydney Lewis Hall...

 in 1894, he became the private secretary to Postmaster General
United States Postmaster General
The United States Postmaster General is the Chief Executive Officer of the United States Postal Service. The office, in one form or another, is older than both the United States Constitution and the United States Declaration of Independence...

 William L. Wilson
William Lyne Wilson
William Lyne Wilson was a Bourbon Democrat politician and lawyer from West Virginia.-Biography:Born in Charles Town, Virginia , Wilson attended Charles Town Academy, graduated from Columbian College in 1860 and subsequently studied at the University of Virginia...

 in Washington, D.C.
Washington, D.C.
Washington, D.C., formally the District of Columbia and commonly referred to as Washington, "the District", or simply D.C., is the capital of the United States. On July 16, 1790, the United States Congress approved the creation of a permanent national capital as permitted by the U.S. Constitution....

. Baker was small and thin. He was rejected for military service in the Spanish-American War
Spanish-American War
The Spanish–American War was a conflict in 1898 between Spain and the United States, effectively the result of American intervention in the ongoing Cuban War of Independence...

 because of poor eyesight.

Cleveland politics

Baker moved to Cleveland, where he became active in local politics. After serving as city solicitor
Solicitor
Solicitors are lawyers who traditionally deal with any legal matter including conducting proceedings in courts. In the United Kingdom, a few Australian states and the Republic of Ireland, the legal profession is split between solicitors and barristers , and a lawyer will usually only hold one title...

 from 1901 to 1909, he became mayor of the city in 1911. As a city official, Baker's main interests were public power, transit reform, and city beautification. He was a strong backer of Cleveland College, now a part of Case Western Reserve University
Case Western Reserve University
Case Western Reserve University is a private research university located in Cleveland, Ohio, USA...

.

Baker was a considered a possible vice-presidential contender in 1912, when he worked on Wilson's behalf at the Democratic National Convention
1912 Democratic National Convention
The 1912 Democratic National Convention was held at the Fifth Regiment Armory in Baltimore from June 25 to July 2, 1912. It proved to be one of the more memorable United States presidential conventions of the twentieth century. The main candidates were House Speaker Champ Clark of Missouri and...

 in Baltimore. Though offered the post twice, he declined to serve as Secretary of the Interior during President Wilson's first term. He and Wilson had been acquaintances since they were both at Johns Hopkins in the 1890s.

In 1916, following his tenure as mayor of Cleveland, Baker and two other partners founded the law firm of Baker Hostetler
Baker Hostetler
Baker Hostetler is an American law firm based in Cleveland, Ohio and founded in 1916. One of the firm's founders, Newton D. Baker, was U.S. Secretary of War during World War I and former Mayor of Cleveland....

.

Secretary of War

As the United States
United States
The United States of America is a federal constitutional republic comprising fifty states and a federal district...

 considered whether to enter World War I
World War I
World War I , which was predominantly called the World War or the Great War from its occurrence until 1939, and the First World War or World War I thereafter, was a major war centred in Europe that began on 28 July 1914 and lasted until 11 November 1918...

, President Woodrow Wilson
Woodrow Wilson
Thomas Woodrow Wilson was the 28th President of the United States, from 1913 to 1921. A leader of the Progressive Movement, he served as President of Princeton University from 1902 to 1910, and then as the Governor of New Jersey from 1911 to 1913...

 named Baker Secretary of War
United States Secretary of War
The Secretary of War was a member of the United States President's Cabinet, beginning with George Washington's administration. A similar position, called either "Secretary at War" or "Secretary of War," was appointed to serve the Congress of the Confederation under the Articles of Confederation...

, because Baker was acceptable to advocates and opponents of American participation in the conflict. The post also required legal expertise because of the War Department's role in administering the Philippines, the Panama Canal, and Puerto Rico. The New York Times called him a "warm supporter" of the President. At age 44 he was the youngest member of the Cabinet.

One historian described his relationship to the military:
A civilian's civilian, Baker saw the military as a necessity, but he had no awe of people in uniform, no romantic feelings toward them, and no dreams of glory....On the day President Woodrow Wilson announced Baker's appointment as secretary of war, he admitted his ignorance of military matters. "I am an innocent," he told reporters, "I do not know anything about this job." But he had a sharp, analytical mind and considerable skill at administration.


As Secretary of War, Baker presided over the American military participation in the war in 1917-18, including the creation of a nationwide military draft. Baker selected Gen. John J. Pershing
John J. Pershing
John Joseph "Black Jack" Pershing, GCB , was a general officer in the United States Army who led the American Expeditionary Forces in World War I...

 to head the Allied Expeditionary Force. At Baker's insistence, Wilson made the American forces an independent fighting partner of the Allies against the Central Powers
Central Powers
The Central Powers were one of the two warring factions in World War I , composed of the German Empire, the Austro-Hungarian Empire, the Ottoman Empire, and the Kingdom of Bulgaria...

, rather than letting American troops be used to replenish British and French forces as those nations advised.

He was occasionally attacked by military professionals who thought him incompetent or a pacifist at heart. He said: "I'm so much of a pacifist, I'm willing to fight for it."

In 1918, Wilson told Baker that he hoped he would follow him into the White House
White House
The White House is the official residence and principal workplace of the president of the United States. Located at 1600 Pennsylvania Avenue NW in Washington, D.C., the house was designed by Irish-born James Hoban, and built between 1792 and 1800 of white-painted Aquia sandstone in the Neoclassical...

 in 1920.

Later years

After stepping down as Secretary of War in 1921, Baker returned to practicing law at Baker & Hostetler.

For several years he was the leading proponent of American participation in the League of Nations
League of Nations
The League of Nations was an intergovernmental organization founded as a result of the Paris Peace Conference that ended the First World War. It was the first permanent international organization whose principal mission was to maintain world peace...

.

In 1922, the Encyclopedia Britannica published a brief account of Baker's life that drew sharp criticism. It said, in part: "The charge of pacifism was often brought against him and his career generally as Secretary was widely condemned throughout the United States." Among the prominent names who called the Encyclopedia to account were Livingston Farrand of Cornell
Cornell University
Cornell University is an Ivy League university located in Ithaca, New York, United States. It is a private land-grant university, receiving annual funding from the State of New York for certain educational missions...

 and Ernest M. Hopkins
Ernest Martin Hopkins
Ernest Martin Hopkins served as the 11th President of Dartmouth College from 1916 to 1945.- Dartmouth Presidency :...

 of Dartmouth
Dartmouth College
Dartmouth College is a private, Ivy League university in Hanover, New Hampshire, United States. The institution comprises a liberal arts college, Dartmouth Medical School, Thayer School of Engineering, and the Tuck School of Business, as well as 19 graduate programs in the arts and sciences...

.

At the 1924 Democratic National Convention, during discussion of the party platform, Baker was the principal advocate of language committing the party to American membership in the League of Nations
League of Nations
The League of Nations was an intergovernmental organization founded as a result of the Paris Peace Conference that ended the First World War. It was the first permanent international organization whose principal mission was to maintain world peace...

. After losing in the platform committee, which advocated a national referendum on the question, he raised the issue on the floor of the convention. Though he had no chance of winning when the delegates to support his position, he delivered a speech that was the highlight of the convention, "political oratory at its peak" according to an exhaustive account of the convention. "According to reporters, men and women everywhere burst into tears. It was a tour de force, emotional and bordering on hysteria." He drew upon memories of Wilson, who had died just 5 months earlier, and pleaded for a return to Wilsonian idealism:

On fields of Europe I closed the eyes of soldiers in American uniforms who were dying...and oh, they were so superb and splendid: never a complain; never a regret; willing to go if only two things might be: One, that mother might know that they died bravely, and the other, that somebody would pick up their sacrifice and build on earth a permanent temple of peace....

And I swore an obligation to the dead that in season and out, by day and by night, in church, in political meeting, in the market-place, I intended to lift up my voice always and ever until their sacrifice were really perfected....

I served Woodrow Wilson for five years. He is standing at the throne of God whose approval he on and has received. As he looks down from there I say to him: "I did my best. I am doing it now. You are still the captain of my soul. I feel your spirit here palpably about me." He is standing here, through my weak voice, his presence not that crippled, shrunken, broken figure that I last saw, but the great majestic leader is standing here, using me to say to you, "Save mankind, do America's duty."

When his allotted 20 minutes expired, the crowd roared for him to continue. After an hour he left the lectern to a tremendous ovation. Speakers who tried to argue against him were booed. Yet the final vote went against him by a margin of more than 2 to 1. According to a New York Times editorial, "For a moment that vast audience was lifted from partisan thoughts to heights from which it could have a glimpse of the promised land of peace....Not only did Mr. Baker do his best, but he made one of the best and most moving speeches heard of late in any political meeting. He showed himself a disciple worthy to wear his master's mantle. He too has the spirit of prophecy upon him."

Later at the convention he nominated former Governor James M. Cox
James M. Cox
James Middleton Cox was the 46th and 48th Governor of Ohio, U.S. Representative from Ohio and Democratic candidate for President of the United States in the election of 1920....

 of Ohio as his state's "favorite son
Favorite son
A favorite son is a political term.*At the quadrennial American national political party conventions, a state delegation sometimes nominates and votes for a candidate from the state, or less often from the state's region, who is not a viable candidate...

."

In 1928, President Coolidge appointed Baker a member of the Permanent Court of Arbitration
Permanent Court of Arbitration
The Permanent Court of Arbitration , is an international organization based in The Hague in the Netherlands.-History:The court was established in 1899 as one of the acts of the first Hague Peace Conference, which makes it the oldest institution for international dispute resolution.The creation of...

 of The Hague. at the Hague, and reappointed to another six-year term by FDR in 1935.

He remained active in Democratic Party affairs and was considered as a serious prospect for the Democratic nomination for President
President of the United States
The President of the United States of America is the head of state and head of government of the United States. The president leads the executive branch of the federal government and is the commander-in-chief of the United States Armed Forces....

 in 1932, when he declined to announce his candidacy, but worked behind the scenes in the hope of being chosen if Franklin D. Roosevelt
Franklin D. Roosevelt
Franklin Delano Roosevelt , also known by his initials, FDR, was the 32nd President of the United States and a central figure in world events during the mid-20th century, leading the United States during a time of worldwide economic crisis and world war...

 should fail to win the nomination.

Yale University award him an honorary Doctor of Laws in 1932.

Baker argued before the U.S. Supreme Court as counsel for the property owner in Village of Euclid v. Ambler Realty Co., a landmark case that established the constitutionality of zoning laws.

Baker served on the Board of Trustees of Johns Hopkins University beginning in 1918 and was considered for appointment as president of the institution in 1928.

In 1936, he resigned as a member of the Cuyahoga County Democratic Committee after serving for 26 years.

He published a lecture in pamphlet form as War in the Modern World in 1935.

Personal life

Baker married Elizabeth Leopold, a graduate of Wilson College
Wilson College (Pennsylvania)
Wilson College, founded 1869, is a private, Presbyterian-related, liberal arts women's college located on a campus in Chambersburg, Pennsylvania, United States. It was founded by two Presbyterian ministers, but named for its first major donor, Sarah Wilson of nearby St. Thomas Township,...

, on July 5, 1902. They had two daughters and a son.

He died of a cerebral hemorrhage in Shaker Heights, Ohio
Shaker Heights, Ohio
Shaker Heights is a city in Cuyahoga County, Ohio, United States. As of the 2010 Census, the city population was 28,448. It is an inner-ring streetcar suburb of Cleveland that abuts the city on its eastern side.-Topography:Shaker Heights is located at...

, on Christmas Day, December 25, 1937. He was buried in Lake View Cemetery
Lake View Cemetery
Lake View Cemetery is located on the east side of the City of Cleveland, Ohio, along the East Cleveland and Cleveland Heights borders. There are over 104,000 people buried at Lake View, with more than 700 burials each year. There are remaining for future development. Known locally as "Cleveland's...

. His wife died on August 24, 1951.

Legacy

In 1957 Western Reserve University, now Case Western Reserve, erected the Newton D. Baker Building in his honor. Located on the corner of Adelbert and Euclid, across from Severance Hall
Severance Hall
Severance Hall is a concert hall located in the University Circle neighborhood of Cleveland, Ohio. The hall has been the home of the Cleveland Orchestra since its opening on February 5, 1931...

, it served as a large unit of general purpose classrooms and administrative offices. The building was torn down in November 2004.

The Georgetown mansion Baker occupied while Secretary of War, now known as Newton D. Baker House
Newton D. Baker House
Newton D. Baker House, also known as Jacqueline Kennedy House, is a house built in 1794 in Washington, D.C.. It was home of Newton D. Baker, who was Secretary of War, during 1916-1920, while "he presided over America's mass mobilization of men and material in World War I.After the assassination of...

, is on the National Register of Historic Places
National Register of Historic Places
The National Register of Historic Places is the United States government's official list of districts, sites, buildings, structures, and objects deemed worthy of preservation...

.

The law firm he founded, Baker Hostetler, is one of the nation’s 100 largest firms.

Baker High School (Columbus, Georgia)
Baker High School (Columbus, Georgia)
Baker High School was built in 1943 in the shadow of Fort Benning, GA. It was named for Newton Diehl Baker, Secretary of War during World War I. The first graduates received their diplomas in 1945. Baker High served Columbus and Fort Benning for nearly fifty years, producing graduates who excelled...

 and a school located on W. 159th Street in West Park, Cleveland are named after Baker. A dormitory at Ohio State University
Ohio State University
The Ohio State University, commonly referred to as Ohio State, is a public research university located in Columbus, Ohio. It was originally founded in 1870 as a land-grant university and is currently the third largest university campus in the United States...

, dedicated in 1940, is named Baker Hall in his honor. The Newton D. Baker dormitory at Washington and Lee University is also named for him.

Sources

  • David D. Van Tassel and John J. Grabowski, eds., The Encyclopedia Of Cleveland History (Cleveland Bicentennial Commission ), ISBN 0-253-33056-4
  • Frederick Palmer, Newton D. Baker–America at War (NY: Dodd, Mead, 1931)
  • "Baker, Newton Diehl" in John A. Garraty and Mark C. Carnes, ed., American National Biography, vol. 2 (NY: Oxford University Press, 1999)

External links

  • Newton D. Baker at Find A Grave
    Find A Grave
    Find a Grave is a commercial website providing free access and input to an online database of cemetery records. It was founded in 1998 as a DBA and incorporated in 2000.-History:...

  • Newton D. Baker at NNDB
    NNDB
    The Notable Names Database , produced by Soylent Communications, the same entity that produces Rotten, Daily Rotten, Dr. Sputnik's Society Pages and Penny Postcards, is an online database of biographical details of over 36,000 people of note...

The source of this article is wikipedia, the free encyclopedia.  The text of this article is licensed under the GFDL.
 
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