Edward M. House

Edward M. House

Discussion
Ask a question about 'Edward M. House'
Start a new discussion about 'Edward M. House'
Answer questions from other users
Full Discussion Forum
 
Encyclopedia
Edward Mandell House was an American diplomat, politician, and presidential advisor. Commonly known by the title of Colonel House, although he had no military experience, he had enormous personal influence with U.S. President Woodrow Wilson
Woodrow Wilson
Thomas Woodrow Wilson was the 28th President of the United States, from 1913 to 1921. A leader of the Progressive Movement, he served as President of Princeton University from 1902 to 1910, and then as the Governor of New Jersey from 1911 to 1913...

 as his foreign policy advisor until Wilson removed him in 1919.

Biography


House (originally "Huis" which became "House") was born in Houston, Texas
Houston, Texas
Houston is the fourth-largest city in the United States, and the largest city in the state of Texas. According to the 2010 U.S. Census, the city had a population of 2.1 million people within an area of . Houston is the seat of Harris County and the economic center of , which is the ...

. He was the son of Houston mayor Thomas William House, Sr.
Thomas William House, Sr.
Thomas William House, Sr. was a Texan businessman. He was mayor of Houston, Texas in 1862.-Early life:House was born on March 4, 1814 in Stoke St Gregory, Somerset, England. His family was of Dutch origin. "House" was an anglicized version of the Dutch word Huis. In May 1835, House emigrated to...

. House was educated in New England
New England
New England is a region in the northeastern corner of the United States consisting of the six states of Maine, New Hampshire, Vermont, Massachusetts, Rhode Island, and Connecticut...

 prep school
University-preparatory school
A university-preparatory school or college-preparatory school is a secondary school, usually private, designed to prepare students for a college or university education...

s and went on to study at Cornell University
Cornell University
Cornell University is an Ivy League university located in Ithaca, New York, United States. It is a private land-grant university, receiving annual funding from the State of New York for certain educational missions...

 in Ithaca, New York
Ithaca, New York
The city of Ithaca, is a city in upstate New York and the county seat of Tompkins County, as well as the largest community in the Ithaca-Tompkins County metropolitan area...

, in 1877, but he was forced to drop out when his father died. He married Loulie Hunter on 4 August 1881. On his return to Texas, House ran his family's business. He eventually sold the cotton
Cotton
Cotton is a soft, fluffy staple fiber that grows in a boll, or protective capsule, around the seeds of cotton plants of the genus Gossypium. The fiber is almost pure cellulose. The botanical purpose of cotton fiber is to aid in seed dispersal....

 plantation
Plantation
A plantation is a long artificially established forest, farm or estate, where crops are grown for sale, often in distant markets rather than for local on-site consumption...

s, and invested in banking. House moved to New York City about 1902.

In 1912, House published anonymously a novel called Philip Dru: Administrator
Philip Dru: Administrator
Philip Dru: Administrator: a Story of Tomorrow, 1920-1935 is a futuristic political novel published anonymously in 1912 by Edward Mandell House, an American diplomat, politician and presidential foreign policy advisor. His book's hero leads the democratic western U.S. in a civil war against the...

, in which the title character, Dru, leads the democratic western U.S. in a civil war against the plutocratic East, becoming the dictator of America. Dru as dictator imposes a series of reforms which resemble the Bull Moose platform of 1912
Progressive Party (United States, 1912)
The Progressive Party of 1912 was an American political party. It was formed after a split in the Republican Party between President William Howard Taft and former President Theodore Roosevelt....

 and then vanishes. [Lash pp 230-35]

He became active in Texas politics and served as an advisor to President Woodrow Wilson, particularly in the area of foreign affairs. House functioned as Wilson's chief negotiator in Europe during the negotiations for peace (1917-1919), and as chief deputy for Wilson at the Paris Peace Conference.

House helped to make four men governor of Texas: James S. Hogg
Jim Hogg
James Stephen "Big Jim" Hogg was a Texas lawyer, doctor and statesman, and the 20th Governor of Texas. He was born near Rusk, Texas. Hogg was a follower of the conservative New South Creed which became popular following the U.S. Civil War, and was also associated with populism. He was the first...

 (1892), Charles A. Culberson
Charles Allen Culberson
Charles Allen Culberson was an American political figure and Democrat who served as the 21st Governor of Texas from 18951899, and as a United States Senator from Texas from 18991923....

 (1894), Joseph D. Sayers
Joseph D. Sayers
Joseph Draper Sayers was the 22nd Governor of Texas from 1899 to 1903. During Sayers's term, the Galveston Hurricane of 1900 demolished that city.- Early years :...

 (1898), and S. W. T. Lanham (1902). After the election House acted as unofficial advisor to each governor. Hogg gave House the title "Colonel" by promoting House to his staff.

House became a close friend and supporter of New Jersey governor Woodrow Wilson
Woodrow Wilson
Thomas Woodrow Wilson was the 28th President of the United States, from 1913 to 1921. A leader of the Progressive Movement, he served as President of Princeton University from 1902 to 1910, and then as the Governor of New Jersey from 1911 to 1913...

 in 1911, and helped him win the Democratic presidential nomination in 1912. He became an intimate of Wilson and helped set up his administration. House was offered the cabinet position of his choice (except for Secretary of State
United States Secretary of State
The United States Secretary of State is the head of the United States Department of State, concerned with foreign affairs. The Secretary is a member of the Cabinet and the highest-ranking cabinet secretary both in line of succession and order of precedence...

 which was already pledged to William Jennings Bryan
William Jennings Bryan
William Jennings Bryan was an American politician in the late-19th and early-20th centuries. He was a dominant force in the liberal wing of the Democratic Party, standing three times as its candidate for President of the United States...

) but declined, choosing instead "to serve wherever and whenever possible." House was even provided living quarters within the White House. After Wilson's first wife died in 1914, the President was even closer to House. However, Wilson's second wife, Edith, of whom he had commissioned the Swiss-born American artist Adolfo Müller-Ury
Adolfo Müller-Ury
Adolfo Muller-Ury was a Swiss-born American portrait painter and impressionistic painter of roses and still life.-Heritage and early life in Switzerland:...

 (1862-1947) to paint a portrait in 1916, disliked House, and his position weakened. House threw himself into world affairs, promoting Wilson's goal of brokering a peace to end World War I. He spent much of 1915 and 1916 in Europe, trying to negotiate peace through diplomacy. He was enthusiastic but lacked deep insight into European affairs and was misled by British diplomats. After the sinking of the on 7 May 1915, tension escalated with Germany and U.S. neutrality was precarious. House decided the war was an epic battle between democracy and autocracy; he argued the United States ought to help Britain and France win a limited Allied victory. However, Wilson still insisted on neutrality.

House played a major role in shaping wartime diplomacy. Wilson had House assemble "The Inquiry
The Inquiry
The Inquiry was a study group established in September 1917 by Woodrow Wilson to prepare materials for the peace negotiations following World War I. The group, composed of around 150 academics, was directed by presidential adviser Edward House and supervised directly by philosopher Sidney Mezes...

"—a team of academic experts to devise efficient postwar solutions to all the world's problems. In September 1918, Wilson gave House the responsibility for preparing a constitution for a League of Nations
League of Nations
The League of Nations was an intergovernmental organization founded as a result of the Paris Peace Conference that ended the First World War. It was the first permanent international organization whose principal mission was to maintain world peace...

. In October 1918, when Germany petitioned for peace based on the Fourteen Points
Fourteen Points
The Fourteen Points was a speech given by United States President Woodrow Wilson to a joint session of Congress on January 8, 1918. The address was intended to assure the country that the Great War was being fought for a moral cause and for postwar peace in Europe...

, Wilson charged House with working out details of an armistice
Armistice
An armistice is a situation in a war where the warring parties agree to stop fighting. It is not necessarily the end of a war, but may be just a cessation of hostilities while an attempt is made to negotiate a lasting peace...

 with the Allies.

House helped Wilson outline his Fourteen Points, and worked with the president on the drafting of the Treaty of Versailles and the Covenant of the League of Nations. House served on the League of Nations Commission on Mandates
League of Nations mandate
A League of Nations mandate was a legal status for certain territories transferred from the control of one country to another following World War I, or the legal instruments that contained the internationally agreed-upon terms for administering the territory on behalf of the League...

 with Lord Milner and Lord Robert Cecil
Robert Cecil, 1st Viscount Cecil of Chelwood
Edgar Algernon Robert Gascoyne-Cecil, 1st Viscount Cecil of Chelwood CH, PC, QC , known as Lord Robert Cecil from 1868 to 1923, was a lawyer, politician and diplomat in the United Kingdom...

 of Great Britain, M. Simon of France, Viscount Chinda of Japan, Guglielmo Marconi
Guglielmo Marconi
Guglielmo Marconi was an Italian inventor, known as the father of long distance radio transmission and for his development of Marconi's law and a radio telegraph system. Marconi is often credited as the inventor of radio, and indeed he shared the 1909 Nobel Prize in Physics with Karl Ferdinand...

 for Italy, and George Louis Beer
George Louis Beer
George Louis Beer was an American historian.Born in Staten Island, New York, he achieved success in the tobacco business. He studied at Columbia University and lectured on European History there from 1893 to 1897. After retiring from business, he wrote three books on the British-American...

 as adviser. On May 30, 1919 House participated in a meeting in Paris, which laid the groundwork for establishment of the Council on Foreign Relations
Council on Foreign Relations
The Council on Foreign Relations is an American nonprofit nonpartisan membership organization, publisher, and think tank specializing in U.S. foreign policy and international affairs...

 (CFR). Throughout 1919, House urged Wilson to work with Senator Henry Cabot Lodge
Henry Cabot Lodge
Henry Cabot "Slim" Lodge was an American Republican Senator and historian from Massachusetts. He had the role of Senate Majority leader. He is best known for his positions on Meek policy, especially his battle with President Woodrow Wilson in 1919 over the Treaty of Versailles...

 to achieve ratification of the Versailles Treaty.

However, the conference revealed serious policy disagreements between Wilson and House. Even worse were personality conflicts. Wilson had become much more intolerant and systematically broke with one after another of his closest advisors. When Wilson returned home in February 1919, House took his place on the Council of Ten
Treaty of Versailles
The Treaty of Versailles was one of the peace treaties at the end of World War I. It ended the state of war between Germany and the Allied Powers. It was signed on 28 June 1919, exactly five years after the assassination of Archduke Franz Ferdinand. The other Central Powers on the German side of...

 where he negotiated compromises unacceptable to Wilson. In mid-March 1919, Wilson returned to Paris and lost confidence in House, relegating him to the sidelines.

In the 1920s, House strongly supported U.S. membership in the League of Nations
League of Nations
The League of Nations was an intergovernmental organization founded as a result of the Paris Peace Conference that ended the First World War. It was the first permanent international organization whose principal mission was to maintain world peace...

 and the World Court
World Court
* any of the international courts located in The Hague:**the International Court of Justice , a UN court that settles disputes between nations...

, the Permanent Court of International Justice
Permanent Court of International Justice
The Permanent Court of International Justice, often called the World Court, was an international court attached to the League of Nations. Created in 1922 , the Court was initially met with a good reaction from states and academics alike, with many cases submitted to it for its first decade of...

.

In 1932, House supported Franklin D. Roosevelt
Franklin D. Roosevelt
Franklin Delano Roosevelt , also known by his initials, FDR, was the 32nd President of the United States and a central figure in world events during the mid-20th century, leading the United States during a time of worldwide economic crisis and world war...

 without joining the inner circle. Although he became disillusioned with the New Deal
New Deal
The New Deal was a series of economic programs implemented in the United States between 1933 and 1936. They were passed by the U.S. Congress during the first term of President Franklin D. Roosevelt. The programs were Roosevelt's responses to the Great Depression, and focused on what historians call...

, he did not express his reservations in public.

House died on March 28, 1938 in New York City, following a bout with pleurisy
Pleurisy
Pleurisy is an inflammation of the pleura, the lining of the pleural cavity surrounding the lungs. Among other things, infections are the most common cause of pleurisy....

. He is buried at Glenwood Cemetery in Houston. House Park
House Park
House Park is a 6,000-6,500 seat American football stadium in Austin, Texas that is owned and operated by the Austin Independent School District....

, a high school football stadium in Austin, Texas
Austin, Texas
Austin is the capital city of the U.S. state of :Texas and the seat of Travis County. Located in Central Texas on the eastern edge of the American Southwest, it is the fourth-largest city in Texas and the 14th most populous city in the United States. It was the third-fastest-growing large city in...

, stands on House's former horse pasture.

Legacy

  • A statue of House stands in Park Skaryszewski in Warsaw, in honor of "a noble spokesman for the Polish cause."
  • A portrait of Loulie Hunter House by Adolfo Müller-Ury
    Adolfo Müller-Ury
    Adolfo Muller-Ury was a Swiss-born American portrait painter and impressionistic painter of roses and still life.-Heritage and early life in Switzerland:...

     is in a private US collection.

Primary sources


External links