JFK+50: Volume 6, No. 1855WILSON'S WAR SECRETARY RESIGNED 100 YEARS AGO TODAY
Washington, D.C. (JFK+50) A century ago today, February 10, 1916, Lindley M. Garrison*, President Woodrow Wilson's Secretary of War, submitted his resignation as a result of disagreement with the President on national defense policy.
According to Arthur S. Link, Mr. Garrison...
"was a competent if unimaginative Secretary of War--methodical and efficient, judicial and impartial. He approached the business of running the army as he had the dispensing of justice from the bench."
The Secretary was more interested in military intervention than was the President who advocated a policy of neutrality. Garrison advocated military intervention in the Mexican Revolution and called for a standing army of 140,000 with a reserve of 400,000.
One pacifist congressman wrote that Secretary Garrison's real purpose was "that of placing the United States...under complete military control."
Chief of Staff General Hugh L. Scott, on the other hand, believed Garrison to be "the greatest secretary we have ever had. We certainly have never had one who would keep the politicians out of the War Department the way this one does."
Arthur Link argues that the primary reason for the Secretary's failure was his "excess of virtue--his inflexibility, his insistence upon doing the 'right' instead of the 'political' thing."
After his resignation as Secretary of War, Lindley Garrison returned to his law practice in New Jersey.
*Lindley Miller Garrison (1864-1932) was born in Camden, NJ, attended Harvard University in 1835 & earned his law degree at the University of Pennsylvania in 1886.
LMG became senior partner at the law firm of Garrison, McManus & Enright in Jersey City in 1899. He later served as Vice Chancellor of New Jersey. After his tenure as war secretary, LMG returned to his law practice.
"Lindley M. Garrison (1913-1916) Secretary of War," American President, www.millercenter.org/
"Wilson, Volume II: The New Freedom," by Arthur S. Link, Princeton Legacy Library, Princeton University Press, 1956.