Henry Cabot Lodge, U.S. Senator

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Henry Cabot Lodge, U.S. Senator

Birthdate: (74)
Birthplace: Beverly, Essex, MA, United States
Death: November 9, 1924 (74)
Cambridge, Middlesex, Massachusetts, United States
Immediate Family:

Son of John Ellerton Lodge and Anna Sophia Cabot
Husband of Anna Cabot Mills Lodge
Father of Constance Davis Gardner; George Cabot "Bay" Lodge and John Ellerton Lodge
Brother of Elizabeth C Lodge and Wilson Wesley Lodge

Occupation: Politician
Managed by: Private User
Last Updated:

About Henry Cabot Lodge, U.S. Senator


Henry Cabot Lodge (May 12, 1850 – November 9, 1924) was an American statesman, a Republican politician, and a noted historian from Massachusetts. While the title was not official, he is considered to be one of the first Senate Majority leaders and was the first Senate Republican Leader, while serving concurrently as Chairman of the Senate Republican Conference. He is best known for his positions on foreign policy, especially his battle with President Woodrow Wilson in 1919 over the Treaty of Versailles, which the United States Senate never ratified.

Life and career

Lodge, who was always known as "Slim", was born in Boston, Massachusetts, the son of John Ellerton Lodge and Anna Cabot. His great-grandfather was Senator George Cabot. Lodge grew up on Boston's Beacon Hill after spending part of his childhood in Nahant, Massachusetts and was cousin to the American polymath Charles Peirce.

In 1872, he graduated from Harvard College, where he was a member of Delta Kappa Epsilon fraternity (Alpha chapter) and the Porcellian Club. He also was a member of the Hasty Pudding Club and took part in an early show. After traveling through Europe, Lodge returned to Harvard where he became the first student of Harvard University to graduate with a Ph.D. in Political Science. His teacher and mentor during his graduate studies was Henry Adams; Lodge would maintain a lifelong friendship with Adams. Lodge wrote his dissertation on the ancient Germanic origins of Anglo-Saxon government; he later became a vocal proponent of the superiority of the Anglo-Saxon race.

On 25 June 1871, he married Anna "Nannie" Cabot Mills Davis, the daughter of Admiral Charles Henry Davis and granddaughter of Senator Elijah Hunt Mills. His wife's maternal aunt was married to mathematician Benjamin Peirce and the mother of Charles Sanders Peirce.[5] Cabot and his wife had three children, Constance Davis Lodge (b. 6 April 1872), the noted poet George Cabot Lodge (b. 10 October 1873) and John Ellerton Lodge (b. 1 August 1876), an art curator.[6] He also graduated from the Harvard Law School in 1874 and was admitted to the bar in 1875, practicing at the Boston firm now known as Ropes & Gray. He was elected a Fellow of the American Academy of Arts and Sciences in 1878.[8] In 1880-1881, Lodge served in the Massachusetts House of Representatives. Lodge represented his home state in the United States House of Representatives from 1887 to 1893 and in the Senate from 1893 to 1924.

On November 8, 1924, Lodge suffered a severe stroke while recovering in the hospital from surgery for gallstones. He died four days later at the age of 74. He was interred in the Mount Auburn Cemetery in Cambridge, Massachusetts. Political positions

Lodge was early on associated with the conservative faction of the Republican Party. He was a staunch supporter of the gold standard, vehemently opposing the Populists and the silverites, who were led by the left-wing Democrat William Jennings Bryan. Lodge was a strong backer of U.S. intervention in Cuba in 1898, arguing that it was the moral responsibility of the United States to do so:

Of the sympathies of the American people, generous, liberty-loving, I have no question. They are with the Cubans in their struggle for freedom. I believe our people would welcome any action on the part of the United States to put an end to the terrible state of things existing there. We can stop it. We can stop it peacefully. We can stop it, in my judgment, by pursuing a proper diplomacy and offering our good offices. Let it once be understood that we mean to stop the horrible state of things in Cuba and it will be stopped. The great power of the United States, if it is once invoked and uplifted, is capable of greater things than that.

Following American victory in the Spanish–American War, Lodge came to represent the imperialist faction of the Senate, those who called for the annexation of the Philippines. Lodge maintained that the United States needed to have a strong navy and be more involved in foreign affairs. He was a staunch advocate of entering World War I on the side of the Allied Powers, attacking President Woodrow Wilson's perceived lack of military preparedness and accusing pacifists of undermining American patriotism. After the United States entered the war, Lodge continued to attack Wilson as hopelessly idealistic, assailing Wilson's Fourteen Points as unrealistic and weak. He contended that Germany needed to be militarily and economically crushed and saddled with harsh penalties so that it could never again be a threat to the stability of Europe.

As chairman of the Senate Foreign Relations Committee, Lodge led the successful fight against American participation in the League of Nations, which had been proposed by President Wilson at the close of World War I. He also served as chairman of the Senate Republican Conference from 1918 to 1924. During his term in office, he and another powerful senator, Albert J. Beveridge, pushed for the construction of a new navy.

Treaty of Versailles

The summit of Lodge's Senate career came in 1919, when as the unofficial Senate majority leader, he tried to secure approval of the Treaty of Versailles and clear the way for American entry into the League of Nations, despite his personal reservations. Lodge made it clear that the United States Congress would have the final authority on the decision to send American armed forces on a combat or a peacekeeping mission under League auspices.

Lodge maintained that membership in the world peacekeeping organization would threaten the political freedom of the United States by binding the nation to international commitments it would not or could not keep. Lodge did not, however, object to the United States interfering in other nations' affairs, and was in actuality a proponent of imperialism (see Lodge Committee for further explanation). 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 make efforts to repel aggression of any kind. Lodge perceived an open-ended commitment to deploy soldiers into conflict regardless of it being relevant to the national security interests of the United States. He did not want America to have this obligation unless Congress approved. Lodge was also motivated by political concerns; he strongly disliked President Wilson and was eager to find an issue for the Republican Party to run on in the presidential election of 1920.

Senator Lodge argued for a powerful American role in world affairs:

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.

Lodge appealed to the patriotism of American citizens by objecting to what he saw as the weakening of national sovereignty: "I have loved but one flag and I can not share that devotion and give affection to the mongrel banner invented for a league."

The Senate was divided into a "crazy-quilt" of positions on the Versailles question. It proved possible to build a majority coalition, but impossible to build a two thirds coalition that was needed to pass a treaty. One block of Democrats strongly supported the Versailles Treaty. A second group of Democrats supported the Treaty but followed Wilson in opposing any amendments or reservations. The largest bloc, led by Lodge, comprised a majority of the Republicans. They wanted a Treaty with reservations, especially on Article X, which involved the power of the League Nations to make war without a vote by the United States Congress. Finally, a bi-partisan group of 13 "irreconcilables" opposed a treaty in any form. The closest the Treaty came to passage came in mid-November, 1919, was when Lodge and his Republicans formed a coalition with the pro-Treaty Democrats, and were close to a two thirds majoriy for a Treaty with reservations, but Wilson rejected this compromise. Cooper and Bailey suggest that Wilson's stroke on Sept 25, 1919, had so altered his personality that he was unable to effectively negotiate with Lodge. Cooper says the psychological effects of a stroke were profound: "Wilson's emotions were unbalanced, and his judgment was warped....Worse, his denial of illness and limitations was starting to border on delusion." The Treaty of Versailles went into effect but the United States did not sign it, and made separate peace with Germany and Austria-Hungary. The League of Nations went into operation, but the United States never joined. The League was ineffective in dealing with major issues, which some observers attribute to the American failure to join. In 1945 it was replaced by the United Nations, which assumed many of the League's procedures and peacekeeping functions, although Article X of the League of Nations was notably absent from the UN mandate. That is, the UN was structured in accordance with Lodge's plan, with the United States having a veto power in the UN which it did not have in the old League of Nations. Henry Cabot Lodge, Jr., Lodge's grandson, served as U.S. Ambassador to the United Nations from 1953 to 1960.


Lodge was a vocal supporter of immigration restrictions because he was concerned about the possible failure of American isolation, that is the assimilation of immigrants with an alien culture. 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 and that a mass influx of uneducated immigrants would result in social conflict and national decline. Lodge was alarmed that large numbers of immigrants, primarily from Eastern and Southern Europe, were flooding into industrial centers, where the poverty of their home countries was being perpetuated and crime rates were rapidly rising. Lodge observed that these immigrants were "people whom it is very difficult to assimilate and do not promise well for the standard of civilization in the United States." He felt that the United States should temporarily shut out all further entries, particularly persons of low education or skill, in order to more efficiently assimilate the millions who had come. From 1907 to 1911, he served on the Dillingham Commission, a joint congressional committee 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. It should be remembered, however, that Lodge was no rampant xenophobe, remarking once that "It [the U.S. flag] is the flag just as much of the man who was naturalized yesterday as of the man whose people have been here many generations."

Lodge, along with Theodore Roosevelt, was a supporter of "100% Americanism." In an address to the New England Society of Brooklyn in 1888, Lodge stated:

Let every man honor and love the land of his birth and the race from which he springs and keep their memory green. It is a pious and honorable duty. But let us have done with British-Americans and Irish-Americans and German-Americans, and so on, and all be Americans...If a man is going to be an American at all let him be so without any qualifying adjectives; and if he is going to be something else, let him drop the word American from his personal description.

He also said this, as quoted in the Deseret News, Salt Lake City, Utah, August 8, 1891:

Within the last decades the character of the immigration to this country has changed materially. The immigration of the people who have settled and built up the nation during the last 250 years, and who have been, with trifling exceptions, kindred either in race or language or both is declining while the immigration of people who are not kindred either in race or language and who represent the most ignorant classes and the lowest labor of Europe, is increasing with frightful rapidity. The great mass of these ignorant immigrants come here at an age when education is unlikely if not impossible and when the work of Americanizing them is in consequence correspondingly difficult. They also introduce an element of competition in the labor market which must have a disastrous effect upon the rate of American wages. We pay but little attention to this vast flood of immigrants. The law passed by the last congress has improved the organization of the Immigration Department, but it has done very little toward sifting those who come to our shores.


1877. Life and letters of George Cabot. Little, Brown.

1882. Alexander Hamilton.

1883. Daniel Webster. Houghton Mifflin.

1889. George Washington. (2 volumes). Houghton Mifflin.

1891. Boston (Historic Towns series). Longmans, Green, and Co.

1895. Hero tales from American history. With Theodore Roosevelt. Century.

1898. The story of the Revolution. (2 volumes). Charles Scribner's Sons.

1902. A Fighting Frigate, and Other Essays and Addresses. Charles Scribner's Sons.

1906. A Frontier Town and Other Essays". Charles Scribner's Sons.

1909. The Best of the World's Classics, Restricted to Prose. (10 volumes). With Francis Whiting Halsey. Funk & Wagnalls.

1913. Early Memories. Charles Scribner's Sons.

1915. The Democracy of the Constitution, and Other Addresses and Essays. Charles Scribner's Sons.

1919. Theodore Roosevelt. Houghton Mifflin.

1921. The Senate of the United States and other essays and addresses, historical and literary. Charles Scribner's Sons.

1925. The Senate and the League of Nations. Charles Scribner's Sons.


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Henry Cabot Lodge, U.S. Senator's Timeline

May 12, 1850
Beverly, Essex, MA, United States
April 6, 1872
Age 21
Paris, Paris, Île-de-France, France
October 10, 1873
Age 23
Boston, Suffolk, Massachusetts, United States
May 1878
Age 27
November 9, 1924
Age 74
Cambridge, Middlesex, Massachusetts, United States