Newton Baker

Newton Baker

Newton Baker was born in West Virginia in 1871. After graduating from John Hopkins University (1892) he became as a lawyer in Cleveland, Ohio.

Baker was a reforming Democratic mayor of Cleveland (1912-16) and a person who had expressed pacifist beliefs, surprisingly accepted the post of secretary of war under Woodrow Wilson.

In 1917 Baker was criticised by Republicans such as Henry Cabot Lodge for not making Leonard Wood, field commander of the United States Army. Instead Baker appointed John Pershing.

After the United States entered the First World War Baker drew up plans for universal military conscription which resulted in the mobilization of more than 4 million men.

Baker was a member of the USA's delegation to the Paris Peace Conference of 1919 and helped draw up the covenant of the League of Nations.

In 1920 Baker returned to his legal practice in Cleveland. He joined the Permanent Court of Arbitration at the Hague in 1928 and the following year Herbert Hoover appointed him to the Law Enforcement Commission. In his retirement Baker wrote Why We Went to War (1936). Newton Baker died on 25th December, 1937.