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Henry Cabot Lodge

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Henry Cabot Lodge

Henry Cabot Lodge
Lodge by John Singer Sargent, 1889
President pro tempore of the United States Senate
In office
May 25, 1912 – May 30, 1912
Preceded by Augustus Octavius Bacon
Succeeded by Augustus Octavius Bacon
Senate Majority Leader
In office
March 4, 1920 – November 9, 1924
Deputy Charles Curtis
Preceded by First officeholder
Succeeded by Charles Curtis
Chairman of the Senate Committee on Foreign Relations
In office
March 4, 1919 – November 9, 1924
Preceded by Gilbert Hitchcock
Succeeded by William Borah
United States Senator
from Massachusetts
In office
March 4, 1893 – November 9, 1924
Preceded by Henry L. Dawes
Succeeded by William M. Butler
Member of the U.S. House of Representatives
from Massachusetts's 6th district
In office
March 4, 1887 – March 4, 1893
Preceded by Henry B. Lovering
Succeeded by William Everett
Personal details
Born (1850-05-12)May 12, 1850
Boston, Massachusetts
Died November 9, 1924(1924-11-09) (aged 74)
Cambridge, Massachusetts
Political party Republican
Spouse(s) Anna Cabot Mills Davis (m. 1871)
Children Constance Davis Lodge (1872–1948)
George Cabot Lodge (1873–1909)
John Ellerton Lodge (1876–1942)
Parents John Ellerton Lodge
Anna Cabot
Alma mater Harvard College (1872)
Harvard Law School (1874)
Harvard University (Ph.D. Political Science, 1876)

Henry Cabot Lodge (May 12, 1850 – November 9, 1924) was an American Republican Senator and historian from Massachusetts. A PhD in history from Harvard, he was a long-time friend and confidant of Theodore Roosevelt. Lodge had the role (but not the official title) of the first Senate Majority Leader. He is best known for his positions on foreign policy, especially his battle with President Woodrow Wilson in 1919 over the Treaty of Versailles. Lodge demanded Congressional control of declarations of war; Wilson refused and blocked Lodge's move to ratify the treaty with reservations. As a result, the United States never joined the League of Nations.

Historian George E. Mowry argues that:

Henry Cabot Lodge was one of the best informed statesmen of his time, he was an excellent parliamentarian, and he brought to bear on foreign questions a mind that was at once razor sharp and devoid of much of the moral cant that was so typical of the age....[Yet] Lodge never made the contributions he should have made, largely because of Lodge the person. He was opportunistic, selfish, jealous, condescending, supercilious, and could never resist calling his opponent's spade a dirty shovel. Small wonder that except for Roosevelt and Root, most of his colleagues of both parties disliked him, and many distrusted him.[1]


  • Early life 1
  • Historian 2
  • Politician 3
    • Civil Rights 3.1
    • Spanish–American War 3.2
    • Immigration 3.3
    • World War I 3.4
    • Treaty of Versailles 3.5
    • Washington Naval Conference 3.6
  • Personal life 4
  • Publications 5
  • See also 6
  • Notes 7
  • Further reading 8
  • External links 9

Early life

Lodge was born in Beacon Hill and spent part of his childhood in Nahant, Massachusetts where he witnessed the 1860 kidnapping of a classmate and gave testimony leading to the arrest and conviction of the kidnappers.[3] He was cousin to the American polymath Charles Peirce.

In 1872, he graduated from Harvard College, where he was a member of Delta Kappa Epsilon, the Porcellian Club, and the Hasty Pudding Club. In 1874, he graduated from Harvard Law School, and was admitted to the bar in 1875, practicing at the Boston firm now known as Ropes & Gray.[4]


After traveling through Europe, Lodge returned to Harvard, and in 1876, became the first student of Harvard to earn a Ph.D. in history. His dissertation dealt with the Germanic origins of Anglo-Saxon land law. His teacher and mentor during his graduate studies was Henry Adams; Lodge maintained a lifelong friendship with Adams.[5]

Lodge was elected a Fellow of the American Academy of Arts and Sciences in 1878.[6] In 1880–1882, Lodge served in the Massachusetts House of Representatives. Lodge represented his home state in the United States House of Representatives from 1887 to 1893 and in the Senate from 1893 to 1924.


Along with his close friend Theodore Roosevelt, Lodge was sympathetic to the concerns of the Mugwump faction of the Republican Party. Nonetheless, both reluctantly supported James Blaine and protectionism in the 1884 election. Blaine lost narrowly[7] Lodge was a staunch supporter of the gold standard, vehemently opposing the Populists and the silverites, who were led by the populist Democrat William Jennings Bryan in 1896.

Lodge was easily reelected time and again but his greatest challenge came in his reelection bid in January 1911. The Democrats had made significant gains in Massachusetts and the Republicans were split between the progressive and conservative wings, with Lodge trying to mollify both sides. In a major speech before the legislature voted, Lodge took pride in his long selfless service to the state. He emphasized that he had never engaged in corruption or self-dealing. He rarely campaigned on his own behalf but now he made his case, explaining his important roles in civil service reform, maintaining the gold standard, expanding the Navy, developing policies for the Philippine Islands, and trying to restrict immigration by illiterate Europeans, as well as his support for some progressive reforms. Most of all he appealed to party loyalty. Lodge was reelected by five votes.[8]

Lodge in 1901

Lodge was very close to Theodore Roosevelt for both of their entire careers. However, Lodge was too conservative to accept Roosevelt's attacks on the judiciary in 1910, and his call for the initiative, referendum, and recall. Lodge stood silent when Roosevelt broke with the party and ran as a third-party candidate in 1912. Lodge voted for Taft instead of Roosevelt; after Woodrow Wilson won the election the Lodge-Roosevelt friendship resumed.[9]

Civil Rights

In 1890, Lodge co-authored the African American voting rights. Although the proposed legislation was supported by President Benjamin Harrison, the bill was blocked by filibustering Democrats in the Senate.[10]

In 1891, he became a member of the Massachusetts Society of the Sons of the American Revolution. He was assigned national membership number 4,901.

Spanish–American War

Lodge was a strong backer of U.S. intervention in Cuba in 1898, arguing that it was the moral responsibility of the United States to do so:

"Of the sympathies of the American people, generous, liberty-loving, I have no question. They are with the Cubans in their struggle for freedom. I believe our people would welcome any action on the part of the United States to put an end to the terrible state of things existing there. We can stop it. We can stop it peacefully. We can stop it, in my judgment, by pursuing a proper diplomacy and offering our good offices. Let it once be understood that we mean to stop the horrible state of things in Cuba and it will be stopped. The great power of the United States, if it is once invoked and uplifted, is capable of greater things than that."

Following American victory in the Spanish–American War, Lodge came to represent the imperialist faction of the Senate, those who called for the annexation of the Philippines. Lodge maintained that the United States needed to have a strong navy and be more involved in foreign affairs.


Henry Cabot Lodge, 1909 in Encyclopædia Britannica

Lodge was a vocal supporter of immigration restrictions because he was concerned about the assimilation of immigrants with an American culture. The public voice of the Immigration Restriction League, Lodge argued in support of literacy tests for incoming immigrants, appealing to fears that unskilled foreign labor was undermining the standard of living for American workers and that a mass influx of uneducated immigrants would result in social conflict and national decline. Lodge was alarmed that large numbers of immigrants, primarily from Eastern and Southern Europe, were flooding into industrial centers, where the poverty of their home countries was being perpetuated and crime rates were rapidly rising. Lodge observed that these immigrants were "people whom it is very difficult to assimilate and do not promise well for the standard of civilization in the United States." He felt that the United States should temporarily shut out all further entries, particularly persons of low education or skill, in order to more efficiently assimilate the millions who had come. From 1907 to 1911, he served on the Dillingham Commission, a joint congressional committee established to study the era's immigration patterns and make recommendations to Congress based on its findings. The Commission's recommendations led to the Immigration Act of 1917. It should be remembered, however, that Lodge was no rampant xenophobe, remarking once that "It [the U.S. flag] is the flag just as much of the man who was naturalized yesterday as of the man whose people have been here many generations."

Lodge, along with Theodore Roosevelt, was a supporter of "100% Americanism." In an address to the New England Society of Brooklyn in 1888, Lodge stated:

Let every man honor and love the land of his birth and the race from which he springs and keep their memory green. It is a pious and honorable duty. But let us have done with British-Americans and Irish-Americans and German-Americans, and so on, and all be Americans...If a man is going to be an American at all let him be so without any qualifying adjectives; and if he is going to be something else, let him drop the word American from his personal description.

He also said this, as quoted in the Deseret News, Salt Lake City, Utah, August 8, 1891:

Within the last decades the character of the immigration to this country has changed materially. The immigration of the people who have settled and built up the nation during the last 250 years, and who have been, with trifling exceptions, kindred either in race or language or both is declining while the immigration of people who are not kindred either in race or language and who represent the most ignorant classes and the lowest labor of Europe, is increasing with frightful rapidity. The great mass of these ignorant immigrants come here at an age when education is unlikely if not impossible and when the work of Americanizing them is in consequence correspondingly difficult. They also introduce an element of competition in the labor market which must have a disastrous effect upon the rate of American wages. We pay but little attention to this vast flood of immigrants. The law passed by the last congress has improved the organization of the Immigration Department, but it has done very little toward sifting those who come to our shores.

World War I

Lodge was a staunch advocate of entering World War I on the side of the Allied Powers, attacking President Woodrow Wilson's perceived lack of military preparedness and accusing pacifists of undermining American patriotism. After the United States entered the war, Lodge continued to attack Wilson as hopelessly idealistic, assailing Wilson's Fourteen Points as unrealistic and weak. He contended that Germany needed to be militarily and economically crushed and saddled with harsh penalties so that it could never again be a threat to the stability of Europe. However, apart from policy differences, even before the end of Wilson's first term and well before America's entry into the Great War, Lodge confided to Teddy Roosevelt, "I never expected to hate anyone in politics with the hatred I feel toward Wilson."[11]

As chairman of the Senate Foreign Relations Committee (1919–1924), Lodge led the successful fight against American participation in the League of Nations, which had been proposed by President Wilson at the close of World War I. He also served as chairman of the Senate Republican Conference from 1918 to 1924. During his term in office, he and another powerful senator, Albert J. Beveridge, pushed for the construction of a new navy.

Treaty of Versailles

The summit of Lodge's Senate career came in 1919, when as the unofficial Senate majority leader, he did not want to secure approval of the Treaty of Versailles. He opposed the Treaty because it did not call for unconditional surrender. Lodge made it clear that the United States Congress would have the final authority on the decision to send American armed forces on a combat or a peacekeeping mission under League auspices.

Lodge maintained that membership in the world peacekeeping organization would threaten the political freedom of the United States by binding the nation to international commitments it would not or could not keep. Lodge did not, however, object to the United States interfering in other nations' affairs, and was in actuality a proponent of imperialism (see Lodge Committee for further explanation). In fact, Lodge's key objection to the League of Nations was Article X, the provision of the League of Nations charter that required all signatory nations to make efforts to repel aggression of any kind. Lodge perceived an open-ended commitment to deploy soldiers into conflict regardless of relevance to the national security interests of the United States. He did not want America to have this obligation unless Congress approved. Lodge was also motivated by political concerns; he strongly disliked President Wilson[12] and was eager to find an issue for the Republican Party to run on in the presidential election of 1920.

Senator Lodge argued for a powerful American role in world affairs:

The United States is the world's best hope, but if you fetter her in the interests and quarrels of other nations, if you tangle her in the intrigues of Europe, you will destroy her powerful good, and endanger her very existence. Leave her to march freely through the centuries to come, as in the years that have gone. Strong, generous, and confident, she has nobly served mankind. Beware how you trifle with your marvelous inheritance; this great land of ordered liberty. For if we stumble and fall, freedom and civilization everywhere will go down in ruin.[13]

Lodge appealed to the patriotism of American citizens by objecting to what he saw as the weakening of national sovereignty: "I have loved but one flag and I can not share that devotion and give affection to the mongrel banner invented for a league."

The Senate was divided into a "crazy-quilt" of positions on the Versailles question.[14] It proved possible to build a majority coalition, but impossible to build a two thirds coalition that was needed to pass a treaty.[15] One block of Democrats strongly supported the Versailles Treaty. A second group of Democrats supported the Treaty but followed Wilson in opposing any amendments or reservations. The largest bloc, led by Lodge, comprised a majority of the Republicans. They wanted a Treaty with reservations, especially on Article X, which involved the power of the League Nations to make war without a vote by the United States Congress. Finally, a bi-partisan group of 13 "irreconcilables" opposed a treaty in any form. The closest the Treaty came to passage came in mid-November 1919, was when Lodge and his Republicans formed a coalition with the pro-Treaty Democrats, and were close to a two-thirds majoriy for a Treaty with reservations, but Wilson rejected this compromise. Cooper and Bailey suggest that Wilson's stroke on September 25, 1919, had so altered his personality that he was unable to effectively negotiate with Lodge. Cooper says the psychological effects of a stroke were profound: "Wilson's emotions were unbalanced, and his judgment was warped....Worse, his denial of illness and limitations was starting to border on delusion."[16] The Treaty of Versailles went into effect but the United States did not sign it, and made separate peace with Germany and Austria-Hungary. The League of Nations went into operation, but the United States never joined. Historians agree that the League was ineffective in dealing with major issues, but they debate whether American membership would have made much difference.[17] In 1945 it was replaced by the United Nations, which assumed many of the League's procedures and peacekeeping functions, although Article X of the League of Nations was notably absent from the UN mandate. That is, the UN was structured in accordance with Lodge's plan, with the United States having a veto power in the UN which it did not have in the old League of Nations. Henry Cabot Lodge, Jr., Lodge's grandson, served as U.S. Ambassador to the United Nations from 1953 to 1960.

Washington Naval Conference

In 1922, President Warren G. Harding appointed Lodge as a delegate to the Washington Naval Conference (International Conference on the Limitation of Armaments), led by Secretary of State Charles Evans Hughes, and included Elihu Root and Oscar Underwood. This was the first disarmament conference in history and had a goal of world peace through arms reduction. Attended by nine nations, the United States, Japan, China, France, Great Britain, Italy, Belgium, the Netherlands, and Portugal ,the conference resulted in three major treaties: Four-Power Treaty, Five-Power Treaty (more commonly known as the Washington Naval Treaty) and the Nine-Power Treaty, as well as a number of smaller agreements.[18]

Personal life

In 1871, he married Anna "Nannie" Cabot Mills Davis,[19] daughter of Admiral Henry Cabot Lodge, Jr., (1902–1985) and John Davis Lodge (1903–1985) also became politicians.[21]

On November 8, 1924, Lodge suffered a severe stroke while recovering in the hospital from surgery for gallstones.[22] He died four days later at the age of 74.[23] He was interred in the Mount Auburn Cemetery in Cambridge, Massachusetts.[24]


  • 1877. Life and letters of George Cabot. Little, Brown.
  • 1880. Ballads and Lyrics, Selected and Arranged by Henry Cabot Lodge. Houghton Mifflin (1882 reissue contains a Preface by Lodge)
  • 1882. Alexander Hamilton. Houghton Mifflin
  • 1883. Daniel Webster. Houghton Mifflin.
  • 1887. Alexander Hamilton. Houghton Mifflin.
  • 1889. George Washington. (2 volumes). Houghton Mifflin.
  • 1891. Boston (Historic Towns series). Longmans, Green, and Co.
  • 1891. * Lodge, Henry Cabot. "The Restriction of Immigration." The North American Review (1891): 27-36. online
  • 1895. Hero tales from American history. With Theodore Roosevelt. Century.
  • 1898. The story of the Revolution. (2 volumes). Charles Scribner's Sons.
  • 1902. A Fighting Frigate, and Other Essays and Addresses. Charles Scribner's Sons.
  • 1906. A Frontier Town and Other Essays. Charles Scribner's Sons.
  • 1909. Speeches and Addresses: 1884-1909. Charles Scribner's Sons. online
  • 1909. The Best of the World's Classics, Restricted to Prose. (10 volumes). With Francis Whiting Halsey. Funk & Wagnalls.
  • 1910. The History of Nations. H. W. Snow.
  • 1913. Early Memories. Charles Scribner's Sons.
  • 1915. The Democracy of the Constitution, and Other Addresses and Essays. Charles Scribner's Sons.
  • 1919. Theodore Roosevelt. Houghton Mifflin.
  • 1921. The Senate of the United States and other essays and addresses, historical and literary. Charles Scribner's Sons.
  • 1925. The Senate and the League of Nations. Charles Scribner's Sons.
  • Roosevelt, Theodore, and Henry Cabot Lodge. Selections from the Correspondence of Theodore Roosevelt and Henry Cabot Lodge, 1884-1918 (2 vol. 1925)

See also

He also was the editor in Chief of the 24 volume History of Nations


  1. ^ George E. Mowry, "Politicking in Acid," October 3, 1953, p. 30The Saturday Review
  2. ^ "Henry Cabot Lodge Photographs ca. 1860–1945: Guide to the Photograph Collection".  
  3. ^ by John Mason"How Henry Cabot Lodge earned his gold watch". Yankee Magazine. August 1965. 
  4. ^ Carl M. Brauer, Ropes & Gray 1865–1992, (Boston: Thomas Todd Company, 1991.)
  5. ^ John A. Garraty, Henry Cabot Lodge (1953)
  6. ^ "Book of Members, 1780–2010: Chapter L" (PDF). American Academy of Arts and Sciences. Retrieved 14 April 2011. 
  7. ^ David M. Tucker, Mugwumps: Public Moralists of the Gilded Age (1991).
  8. ^ John A. Garraty, Henry Cabot Lodge: A Biography (1953) 280-83
  9. ^ Garraty, Henry Cabot Lodge: A Biography (1953) 287-91, 323
  10. ^ Wilson, Kirt H. (2005). "1". The Politics of Place and Presidential Rhetoric in the United States, 1875–1901. pp. 32, 33.  
  11. ^ Berg, A. Scott (2013). Wilson. New York, NY: G.P. Putnam's Sons. p. 612.  
  12. ^ Brands 2008, part 3 at 0:00.
  13. ^ Lodge 1919.
  14. ^ John Milton Cooper, Woodrow Wilson (2009) 507–560
  15. ^ Thomas A. Bailey, Woodrow Wilson and the Great Betrayal (1945)
  16. ^ Cooper, Woodrow Wilson, 544, 557–560; Bailey calls Wilson's rejection, "The Supreme Infanticide," Woodrow Wilson and the Great Betrayal (1945) p. 271
  17. ^ Edward C. Luck (1999). Mixed Messages: American Politics and International Organization, 1919–1999. Brookings Institution Press. p. 23. 
  18. ^ Raymond Leslie Buell, The Washington Conference (D. Appleton, 1922)
  19. ^ Zimmermann 2002, p. 157.
  20. ^ Rand 1890, p. 381.
  21. ^
  22. ^ "Senator Lodge Suffers Shock in Hospital; Death May Come at Any Moment".  
  23. ^ "Senator Lodge Dies, Victim of Stroke, in his 75th Year".  
  24. ^ "Final Rites Said for Senator Lodge".  

Further reading

  • Adams, Henry (1911). The Life of George Cabot Lodge. Boston and New York: Houghton Mifflin.  
  • Bailey, Thomas A. Woodrow Wilson and the Great Betrayal (1945)
  • Brands, H. W. (March 11, 2008). Six Lessons for the Next President, Lesson 5: Leave Under a Cloud. Hauenstein Center at Grand Valley. Retrieved January 23, 2010. 
  • Donald, Aida D. (2007). Lion in the White House: A Life of Theodore Roosevelt. Basic Books. 
  • the standard scholarly biography  
  • Garraty, John A. "Lodge, Henry Cabot" Feb. 2000.American National Biography Online Access: Jun 30 2014
  • Hewes, James E. Jr. (August 20, 1970). "Henry Cabot Lodge and the League of Nations". Proceedings of the American Philosophical Society (American Philosophical Society) 114 (4): 245–255. 
  • Lodge, Henry Cabot (August 12, 1919). Treaty of peace with Germany: Speech of Hon. Henry Cabot Lodge. United States Senate, Washington, D. C. 
  • Rand, John Clark (1890). One of a thousand: a series of biographical sketches of one thousand representative men resident in the commonwealth of Massachusetts, A.D. 1888–'89. First National Publishing. Retrieved 20 November 2009. 
  • Schriftgiesser, Karl (1946). The Gentleman from Massachusetts: Henry Cabot Lodge. Little, Brown and Company. , a hostile biography
  • Thomas, Evan. The War Lovers: Roosevelt, Lodge, Hearst, and the Rush to Empire, 1898 (Hachette Digital, 2010)
  • Widenor, William C. Henry Cabot Lodge and the search for an American foreign policy (U. of California Press, 1983)
  • Zimmermann, Warren (2002). First Great Triumph: How Five Americans Made Their Country a World Power. Farrar, Straus and Giroux.  

External links

United States House of Representatives
Preceded by
Henry B. Lovering
Member of the U.S. House of Representatives
from Massachusetts's 6th congressional district

March 4, 1887 – March 4, 1893
Succeeded by
William Everett
United States Senate
Preceded by
Henry L. Dawes
U.S. Senator (Class 1) from Massachusetts
Served alongside: George F. Hoar,
Winthrop Murray Crane, John W. Weeks, David I. Walsh
Succeeded by
William M. Butler
Political offices
Preceded by
Augustus Octavius Bacon
President pro tempore of the United States Senate
May 25, 1912
Succeeded by
Augustus Octavius Bacon
Preceded by
Gilbert Hitchcock
Chairman, U.S. Senate Committee on Foreign Relations
Succeeded by
William Borah
Party political offices
Preceded by
Senate Republican Leader
Succeeded by
Charles Curtis
Honorary titles
Preceded by
Jacob Harold Gallinger
New Hampshire
Dean of the United States Senate
August 17, 1918 – November 9, 1924
Succeeded by
Francis E. Warren
Awards and achievements
Preceded by
Bishop William Lawrence
Cover of Time Magazine
21 January 1924
Succeeded by
Herbert B. Swope
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