Henry Cabot Lodge (May 12, 1850 – November 9, 1924) was an American statesman, a Republican politician, and noted historian.
Lodge was born in Boston, Massachusetts, the great-grandson of Senator George Cabot. In 1876, he became the first student of Harvard University to graduate with a PhD in history. In 1871, he married Anna Cabot Mills Davis. Together they had two sons, the noted poet George Cabot Lodge and John Ellerton Lodge, an art curator. He also graduated from the Harvard Law School in 1874 and was admitted to the bar in 1875. Lodge represented his home state in the United States House of Representatives from 1887 to 1893 and in the Senate from 1893 to 1924. He was one of four Republicans to rotate in the office of Senate president pro tempore from 1911-1913, holding the seat for just one day. As chairman of the Senate Foreign Relations Committee he led the successful fight against American participation in the League of Nations proposed by President Woodrow Wilson at the close of World War I. He also served as chairman of the Senate Republican Conference from 1918 to 1924.
Lodge maintained that membership in the world peacekeeping organization would threaten the sovereignty of the United States by binding the nation to international commitments it would not or could not keep. It should be noted that Lodge did not object to the United States interfering in other nations affairs—he was a proponent of imperialism. See Lodge Committee. 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 deploy troops to repel aggression of any kind. Lodge felt that an open-ended commitment to deploy soldiers into conflict regardless of it being relevant to the national security interests of the United States was unacceptable.
Senator Lodge argued in 1919 against the League:
- 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.
The League of Nations was established without US participation in 1920. With headquarters in Geneva, Switzerland, it remained active until World War II. After the war, it was replaced by the United Nations which assumed many of the League's procedures and peacekeeping functions. Ironically, Lodge's grandson and namesake served as U.S. Ambassador to the United Nations from 1953 to 1960.
Lodge was also a vocal supporter of immigration restrictions. The public voice of the Immigration Restriction League, Lodge argued on behalf of literacy tests for incoming immigrants, appealing to fears that unskilled foreign labor was undermining the standard of living for American workers. In 1907-1911, he served on the Dillingham Commission, a U.S. joint commission 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, which included, finally, a literacy test.
Lodge died in 1924 at the age of 74. He was interred in the Mount Auburn Cemetery in Cambridge, Massachusetts.
- When President Wilson delivered his war message to a joint session of Congress on April 2, 1917, Senator Lodge was punched in the face by a pacifist as he entered the Capitol building. Lodge responded by striking back at the pacifist before his assailant was led away by U.S. Cavalry providing security.
- Lodge was a close friend to Theodore Roosevelt, and both men were members of Delta Kappa Epsilon fraternity
- George Cabot Lodge, poet, son of Henry Cabot Lodge
- Henry Cabot Lodge, Jr., politician, grandson of Henry Cabot Lodge
- Lodge Committee
- Library of Congress: "Today in History: May 12"
- Senator Henry Cabot Lodge, Sr. Against the League of Nations
- For Intervention in Cuba
- Biography at the Biographical Directory of the United States Congress
- Henry Cabot Lodge and the League of Nations, James Hewes Jr. Proceedings of the American Philosophical Society, Vol. 114, No. 4 (Aug. 20, 1970), pp. 245-255
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