Henry Cabot Lodge: Railroads Should be out of Government's Hands

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Henry Cabot Lodge was born in Boston, Massachusetts, May 12, 1850. In 1876, he became the first student of Harvard University to receive a Ph.D. in political science. He was married to Anna Cabot Mills Davis, daughter of Admiral Charles Henry Davis and granddaughter of U.S. Senator Elijah Hunt Mills. Henry and Anna had two sons, the noted poet George Cabot Lodge and John Ellerton Lodge, an art curator.

Lodge represented his home state as a Republican in the House of Representatives from 1887 to 1893 and in the Senate from 1893 to 1924. In 1901, he proposed a bill in the Senate that would ban the use of alcohol to minors. As chairman of the Senate Foreign Relations Committee, he led the successful fight against American participation in the League of Nations, which had been proposed by President Woodrow Wilson at the close of World War I.

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. Lodge did not object to the United States interfering in other nation's affairs—he was a proponent of imperialism.

When the United States entered World War I on April 4th, 1917, the nation’s railroads tried to coordinate their efforts to support the war, but private action ran into anti-trust and other regulatory barriers. Also, government departments sought priority for shipping and congestion at freight yards became prevalent. The Interstate Commerce Commission recommended that the government take over the industry to assure efficient operation and President Wilson issued an order for nationalization on December 26th, 1917. The railroads were restored to private ownership after the war.

Offered is a nice period letter from Republican Senator Henry Cabot Lodge expressing his desire to see the railroads returned to private ownership.

One page, 8 ½” x 11”, TLS, on United States Senate, Committee on Private Land Claims letterhead, February 5th, 1918, to Edward H. Snow of Putnam High School, Putnam, MA. “I received your letter of the 1st. I am and always have been opposed to Government ownership and I shall most certainly support legislation for the return of the Railroads to private ownership as soon as possible after the war. With best thanks for what you so kindly say about me personally, I am, Very truly yours, H.C. Lodge”

Toning and small stain in date area not affecting readability.

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