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Cordell Hull, the longest serving Secretary of State

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  • Ram Lau
    http://nobelprize.org/peace/laureates/1945/hull-bio.html From Nobel Lectures, Peace 1926-1950, Editor Frederick W. Haberman, Elsevier Publishing Company,
    Message 1 of 1 , Oct 8, 2005
      From Nobel Lectures, Peace 1926-1950, Editor Frederick W. Haberman,
      Elsevier Publishing Company, Amsterdam, 1972

      Cordell Hull – Biography

      Cordell HullCordell Hull (October 2, 1871-July 23, 1955) was born in a
      log cabin in Pickett County, Tennessee, the third of the five sons of
      William and Elizabeth (Riley) Hull. His father was a farmer and
      subsequently a lumber merchant. The only one of the five boys who
      showed an interest in learning, Cordell wanted to be a lawyer. He
      obtained his elementary school training in a one-room school that his
      father himself had built in nearby Willow Grove; then for a period of
      about three years he attended in succession the Montvale Academy at
      Celina, Tennessee, the Normal School at Bowling Green, Kentucky, and
      the National Normal University at Lebanon, Ohio. He received a law
      degree in 1891 after completing a one-year course at Cumberland
      University at Lebanon, Tennessee.

      Not yet twenty, Hull began the practice of law in Celina, but having
      participated in political campaigning even while a student, decided to
      run for the state legislature as soon as he came of age. From 1893 to
      1897 he was a member of the Tennessee House of Representatives,
      abandoning politics temporarily to serve as captain of the Fourth
      Tennessee Regiment in the Spanish-American War. Hull returned to the
      practice of law, this time in Gainsboro, Tennessee, but in 1903 was
      appointed judge of the Fifth Judicial District. He held this position
      until 1907, earning the nickname «Judge», used even by his wife, Rose
      Frances Whitney, whom he married in 1917.

      Elected to Congress from the Fourth Tennessee District in 1907, Hull
      served as a U.S. representative until 1931, interrupted only by two
      years as chairman of the Democratic National Committee. In his
      distinguished career in Congress, Hull was a member of the powerful
      House Ways and Means Committee for eighteen years, the leader of the
      movement for low tariffs, the author of the first Federal Income Tax
      Bill (1913), the Revised Act (1916), and the Federal and State
      Inheritance Tax Law (1916), as well as the drafter of a resolution
      providing for the convening of a world trade agreement congress at the
      end of World War I. He became, in short, a recognized expert in
      commercial and fiscal policies.

      Hull was elected U.S. senator for the 1931-1937 term but resigned upon
      his appointment as secretary of state by President Franklin D.
      Roosevelt on March 4, 1933. He was sixty-two. In 1944 when he resigned
      because of ill health, he had occupied this important post for almost
      twelve years, the longest tenure in American history.

      His debut in this office was not auspicious. He headed the American
      delegation to the Monetary and Economic Conference in London in July,
      1933, a conference which ended in failure despite the parlous state of
      world prosperity. On the heels of disaster came triumph. In November
      of that year he headed the American delegation to the seventh
      Pan-American Conference, held in Montevideo, and there won the trust
      of the Latin American diplomats, laying the foundation for the «good
      neighbor» policy among the twenty-one American nations so successfully
      followed up in the Inter-American Conference for the Maintenance of
      Peace held in Buenos Aires (1936), the eighth Pan-American Conference
      in Lima (1938), the second consecutive Meeting of Ministers of Foreign
      Affairs of the American Republics in Havana (1940).

      Meanwhile, given authority through the Trade Agreements Act of 1934,
      he negotiated reciprocal trade agreements with numerous countries,
      lowering tariffs and stimulating trade.

      Hull was responsive, also, to the problems arising in other parts of
      the globe. From 1936 on, foreseeing danger to peace in the rise of the
      dictators, he advocated rearmament, pled for the implementation of a
      system of collective security, supported aid short of war to the
      Western democracies, condemned Japanese encroachment into Indo-China,
      warned all branches of the U.S. military well in advance of the attack
      on Pearl Harbor to prepare to resist simultaneous, surprise attacks at
      various points. Although Hull participated in some of the policy
      making conferences of the Allies, his major effort during the later
      stages of World War II was that of preparing a blueprint for an
      international organization dedicated to the maintenance of peace and
      endowed with sufficient legislative, economic, and military power to
      achieve it. Although obliged because of the precarious state of his
      health to resign as secretary of state in late November, 1944, Hull
      nonetheless served as a member of and senior adviser to the American
      delegation to the United Nations Conference in San Francisco in 1945.

      Hull did not possess the oratorical talent, the stylistic finesse, the
      brilliant charm, or the impressive personality so frequently
      characteristic of the politician who makes his way to the front
      benches. Tall and lean in figure, almost shy in manner, earnest and
      sincere in thought and deed, Hull had the power that comes to one who
      is thoroughly convinced of the rightness of his political and economic
      policies for peace and justice, is capable of defending them against
      all comers, and unwearying in his efforts to give them practical form.

      Selected Bibliography
      Buell, Raymond Leslie, The Hull Trade Program and the American System.
      New York, Foreign Policy Association, 1938.
      Hinton, Harold B., Cordell Hull: A Biography, with a Foreword by
      Sumner Welles. London and New York, Hurst & Blackett, 1942.
      Hull, Cordell. The Hull papers are in the Manuscript Division of the
      Library of Congress.
      Hull, Cordell, Addresses and Statements by the Hon. Cordell Hull,
      Secretary of State of the United States of America, in Connection with
      His Trip to South America to Attend the Inter-American Conference for
      the Maintenance of Peace, Held at Buenos Aires, Argentina, Dec. 1-23,
      1936. Washington, D.C., U.S. Government Printing Office, 1937.
      Hull, Cordell, Economic Barriers to Peace: Addresses on the Occasion
      of the Presentation of the Woodrow Wilson Medal to the Hon. Cordell
      Hull, N.Y., April 5, 1937. New York, Woodrow Wilson Foundation, 1937.
      Hull, Cordell, The Memoirs of Cordell Hull. 2 vols. London, Hodder &
      Stoughton, 1948.
      Hull, Cordell, The Moscow Conference: Addresses by Cordell Hull before
      a Joint Meeting of Both Houses of Congress, Nov. l8, 1943. Washington,
      D.C., U.S. Government Printing Office, 1943.
      Hull, Cordell, The War and Human Freedom: Address by the Hon. Cordell
      Hull over AII National Radio Networks, Thurs., July 23, 1942.
      Washington, D.C., U.S. Govermnent Printing Office, 1942.
      Pratt, Julius W., Cordell Hull. 2 vols. Vols. XII and XIII of the
      American Secretaries of State and Their Diplomacy. New York, Cooper
      Square Publishers, 1964.

      From Nobel Lectures, Peace 1926-1950, Editor Frederick W. Haberman,
      Elsevier Publishing Company, Amsterdam, 1972

      This autobiography/biography was written at the time of the award and
      later published in the book series Les Prix Nobel/Nobel Lectures. The
      information is sometimes updated with an addendum submitted by the
      Laureate. To cite this document, always state the source as shown above.
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