About Leslie M. Shaw, Governor, U.S. Secretary of the Treasury
Leslie Mortier Shaw (November 2, 1848 – March 28, 1932) was an American businessman, lawyer and politician.
Born in Morristown, Vermont, he became a lawyer and banker, and in 1898 became the 17th Governor of Iowa, serving until 1902. He then became United States Secretary of the Treasury under President Theodore Roosevelt in 1902, serving until 1907. Like his predecessor Secretary Lyman Gage, Shaw firmly believed that the Treasury should serve the money market in times of difficulty through the introduction of Treasury funds.
To this end, Shaw bought back government bonds from the commercial banks that owned them, increased the number of government depository banks, and, in 1902, told the banks that they no longer needed to keep cash reserves against their holdings of public funds. The intended effect of these actions was to provide a more elastic currency, which would then respond to the needs of the market. Government intervention in the money market reached its height with Shaw. He resigned in 1907 to become a banker in New York.
He was a candidate for the nomination of the Republican Party during the U.S. presidential election, 1908.
After leaving the Presidential Cabinet and public life he returned to banking, working in New York City.
He died in Washington, DC, and is buried at the Oakland Cemetery in Denison, Iowa.