Robert McNutt McElroy (December 28, 1872 - January 15, 1959) was a professor of history at Princeton University from 1898 to 1916.
He was born in Perryville, Kentucky. He married Louise Booker on May 21, 1900. He died in Līhu'e, Hawaii and was buried in Princeton, New Jersey.
He was the first American professor to teach in China on an official professor-exchange program, lecturing there from 1916 to 1917. He became a jingoistic advocate of a strong national defense during World War I, working with the National Security League (NSL).
In April 1918, McElroy accused practically every citizen in the state of Wisconsin of treason. McElroy was addressing some University of Wisconsin Army junior cadets on behalf of the NSL in the rain on the college's campus. The acoustics made it difficult to hear him, and the wet cadets fidgeted throughout his speech. McElroy grew increasingly angry as he spoke, convinced the cadets were ignoring him. Finally McElroy—whether in exasperation or because he truly believed it—accused the students and the university's faculty of treason. But since no one could hear him, there was no response to his statement. McElroy then broadened his accusation to include the chief justice of the Wisconsin Supreme Court (who was also in attendance) and the entire population of the state of disloyalty as well. To make matters worse, McElroy published these accusations in a number of newspaper articles. When word of McElroy's statements were made known, the public and press turned on the NSL and accused it of xenophobia and fanaticism. Many mainstream supporters of the League, unaware of the jingoistic tendencies of some of the more senior members of the organization's inner circle, quit in protest.
During the 1920s and 1930s he taught at Oxford University, Cambridge University and other institutions of higher education in the United Kingdom.
He was a noted biographer of Grover Cleveland and Jefferson Davis, and wrote respected histories of the states of Kentucky and Texas and the conquest of the American West.
- ^ a b c d e "Robert McElroy, Educator, Dead," New York Times, January 17, 1959.
- ^ "Historians at Princeton," New York Times, May 3, 1914.
- ^ "Princeton Rites for McElroy," Associated Press, January 24, 1959.
- ^ a b "Dr. R. McN. McElroy Back," New York Times, December 1, 1933.
- ^ "McElroy Going to China," New York Times, April 23, 1916; Rood, "The Young China and the Old," New York Times, May 20, 1923.
- ^ "Schools to Take Up Patriotic Campaign," New York Times, March 1, 1918.
- ^ "Educators Discuss War," New York Times, July 27, 1917.
- ^ "Sharply Rebukes McElroy," Associated Press, March 1, 1919.
- ^ Wisconsin at the time had a large German-American population, which lent credence to the conclusion that McElroy truly believed the state's citizens to be traitors. Shulman, "The Progressive Era Origins of the National Security Act," Dickinson Law Review, Winter 2000; Edwards, Patriots In Pinstripe, 1982.
- ^ "Oxford Seeks American," New York Times, June 5, 1925.
- "Dr. R. McN. McElroy Back." New York Times. December 1, 1933.
- "Educators Discuss War." New York Times. July 27, 1917.
- Edwards, John Carver. Patriots In Pinstripe: Men of the National Security League. Washington D.C.: University Press of America, 1982. ISBN 0819123498
- "Historians at Princeton." New York Times. May 3, 1914.
- "McElroy Going to China." New York Times. April 23, 1916.
- "Oxford Seeks American." New York Times. June 5, 1925.
- "Princeton Rites for McEIroy." Associated Press. January 24, 1959.
- "Robert McElroy, Educator, Dead." New York Times. January 17, 1959.
- Robert McNutt MCELROY (28 Dec 1872 - 15 Jan 1959)
- Rood, Henry. "The Young China and the Old." New York Times. May 20, 1923.
- "Schools to Take Up Patriotic Campaign." New York Times. March 1, 1918.
- "Sharply Rebukes McElroy." Associated Press. March 1, 1919.
- Shulman, Mark R. "The Progressive Era Origins of the National Security Act." Dickinson Law Review. 104 (Winter 2000).
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