The Lodge family of Massachusetts has produced two statesmen named Henry Cabot Lodge. The first Henry Cabot Lodge, a driving force in American foreign policy in the early 20th century, was born into one of Massachusetts’ most prominent families. The great grandson of the famed merchant and politician, George Cabot, young Lodge was educated at Dixwell’s Latin School and graduated from Harvard in 1871. He then spent a year touring Europe, but returned to Harvard for a law degree in 1874 and a Ph.D. in political science in 1876. During his studies, he was an assistant editor of the North American Review and later co-edited the International Review.
Henry Cabot Lodge began his political career in 1880 when he was elected to the Massachusetts legislature for a single term. He failed in his first attempt for a seat in Congress, but succeeded in 1886 and was recognized for his efforts to support civil service reform and the protection of voting rights in the South.
During these years, Lodge continued his scholarly activities. He published biographies, Alexander Hamilton (1882), Daniel Webster (1883) and George Washington (1889), for the widely read American Statesmen Series. He also edited the works of Hamilton (9 volumes, 1885) and wrote The Story of the Revolution (2 volumes, 1898).
In 1893, Henry Cabot Lodge entered the Senate, where he would remain for the remainder of his life. His support of a strong navy resulted in a close relationship with Theodore Roosevelt, but the two would later differ over domestic matters. Lodge was an advocate for American action against Spain in 1898 and later for the acquisition of the Philippines.
Lodge, a representative of the Republican Party's conservative wing, opposed the progressivism of Woodrow Wilson by fighting for high protective tariffs and the gold standard.
During World War I, Henry Cabot Lodge backed entry into the war, but was sharply critical of Wilson's prosecution of the effort. In the congressional elections of 1918, the Republicans gained control of both the House and the Senate; Lodge became the chairman of the Senate Committee on Foreign Relations and Senate Majority Leader. From his positions of power, he led the fight against ratification of the Treaty of Versailles, largely because of its inclusion of provisions for the League of Nations. Lodge’s motivations appear to have been a combination of deeply held concerns about protecting American interests and an abiding hatred of the president.
Lodge was probably the equal of Wilson in terms of stubbornness. Despite his always dapper appearance, Lodge was ill-tempered and sharp-tongued. Even as the party leader, he was disliked by many Republicans. Chauncey M. Depew, Senator of New York, pointedly compared Lodge’s mind to the New England topography, remarking that both were “naturally barren, but highly cultivated."
In 1920, Henry Cabot Lodge played a leading role in securing the Republican nomination for Warren Harding, thereby inflicting a final blow against Wilson’s vision of America’s role in the postwar world. He was later appointed to serve in the U.S. delegation at the Washington Conference on the Limitation of Armaments.
Lodge’s rendition of events during the ratification struggle was published after his death in The Senate and the League of Nations (1925).
NOTE: Another Henry Cabot Lodge, a grandson of this one, represented Massachusetts in the Senate (1936-53), served as United Nations ambassador (1953-61) and was the running mate of Richard Nixon in their unsuccessful campaign in 1960.
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Quotes by Henry Cabot Lodge.
Regarding Insurrection in the Philippines
Our opponents put forward as their chief objection that we have robbed these people of their liberty, and have taken them and hold them in defiance of the doctrine of the Declaration of Independence in regard to the consent of the governed. As to liberty, they have never had it, and have none now, except when we give it to them protected by the flag and armies of the United States. The taking of the Philippines does not violate the principles of the Declaration of Independence, but will spread them among a people who have never known liberty.
Comments by the first Senator Henry Cabot Lodge (1900)
Regarding Theodore Roosevelt
He was a great patriot, a great man; above all, a great American. His country was the ruling, mastering passion of his life from the beginning even unto the end.
Speech in the Senate, 1919
Regarding William McKinley: The Epitome of the Pro-Business Republican
When the history of his time is written he will stand forth as the great figure in the years which have been so crowded with events. He gained the entire confidence of the nation by his patriotism, wisdom and ability, just as he won its love by his kindness and goodness to all men.
"The Authentic Life of President McKinley"
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