|About the Book|
Originally published in 1902 this short biography contains lots of great information and illustrations seldom seen in the last 110 years.Mr. Root became Secretary of War on August 1, 1899. When the announcement of his appointment was made it wasMoreOriginally published in 1902 this short biography contains lots of great information and illustrations seldom seen in the last 110 years.Mr. Root became Secretary of War on August 1, 1899. When the announcement of his appointment was made it was received with no enthusiasm. He cut no figure in the popular eye. His career had been confined almost exclusively to the City of New York. Even there he was not closely identified with the powers in political control. Outside of New York his name was more or less familiar as that of a lawyer who stood high at the bar but among the people his personality was colorless. Mil¬lions, especially in the West, had never heard of him at all. Any one of a dozen New York lawyers might have been selected with equal reason so far as popular approbation went. But President McKinley knew the man and knew his record, and some of those who were closest to the President were in a position to tell him what he might not have known on his own account. For many years Mr. Root had been recognized in New York as a lawyer of great intellect and force. As a young man of thirty he had already made his mark as counsel for great corporations. Throughout his career he had been identified with that branch of the law which had to do with business. He was regarded as a genius in organization and in constructive capacity. At the same time he had a place of his own in politics, although he was never identified with the dominant faction and had never been elected to office. At thirty-four he was a candidate for judge of the Court of Common Pleas. At thirty-eight he was appointed by President Arthur a United States District Attorney for the southern district of New York, and in two years of service in that position he made a record that is even now remembered. About the same time he was chairman of the Republican County Committee. Theodore Roosevelt, then freshly graduated from college, was just entering on his political career. That was the only distinctly political office that Elihu Root ever filled until he became Secretary of War. He was vice-president of the Bar Association of New York, president of the New England Society, the Union League and Republican clubs of New York. He was also a delegate at large to the State Constitutional Convention, and as chairman of the Judiciary Committee was instrumental in shaping the course of the proceedings. As a lawyer, when President McKinley called him to Washington, Mr. Root was earning one of the great incomes among New York lawyers—how great nobody knows but himself. It has been estimated all the way from $75,000 to $100,000 a year. He was one of the hardest-worked men at the New York bar.Secretary Root came into the Cabinet, therefore, as a constructive lawyer of ap¬proved business capacity. His special mission was to aid the administration in working out the problems arising from our control of new territory. It was expected, of course, that he would administer the routine affairs of the War Department with intelligence and force, but the routine department work was merely an incident of the larger program which the President had in mind for him. It is a striking tribute to Mr. Roots ability and breadth of intelligence that his success in the field which was set aside for him has been equaled by his success in administering the routine affairs of his department. He has affected reforms there which will be felt many years after he has left the field of action. Not only has he achieved much in his own particular province, but he has made himself felt in every branch of governmental work. Before President McKinley died Secretary Root had become the great force of the administration.He is no less a force under President Roosevelt, who turned to him for counsel the moment he was sworn into office.