Dwight Morrow

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Dwight Morrow
Dwight Morrow.jpg
United States Senator
from New Jersey
In office
December 3, 1930 – October 5, 1931
Preceded by David Baird, Jr.
Succeeded by William W. Barbour
Personal details
Born Dwight Whitney Morrow
(1873-01-11)January 11, 1873
Huntington, West Virginia
Died October 5, 1931(1931-10-05) (aged 58)
Englewood, New Jersey
Political party Republican

Dwight Whitney Morrow (January 11, 1873 – October 5, 1931) was an American businessman, politician, and diplomat, who was also the father-in-law of Charles A. Lindbergh.

Life[edit]

Born in Huntington, West Virginia, he moved with his parents, James E. and Clara Morrow to Allegheny, Pennsylvania in 1875. His father James, was principal of Marshall College, which is now Marshall University. After graduating from Amherst College in 1895, he studied law at Columbia Law School and began practicing at the law firm Simpson Thacher & Bartlett in New York City. In 1903, he married Elizabeth Reeve Cutter, his college sweetheart, with whom he would have four children. Anne Morrow, his daughter, would later marry Charles A. Lindbergh. In 1913, he partnered at J.P. Morgan & Co., the largest, most powerful commercial bank in the United States in this era, financially backing industrial giants such as General Motors and 3M. As a partner at Morgan, he served as a director on many corporate and financial boards.

With the onset of World War I in Europe, the bank lent Britain and France large sums of money, and purchased war materials in the U.S. with it. When the United States joined the War, he became the director of the National War Savings Committee for the State of New Jersey; served abroad as advisor to the Allied Maritime Transport Council, as a member of the Military Board of Allied Supply and as a civilian aide. With his proven logistical and intellectual talents, he was moved to France and made chief civilian aide to Gen. John J. Pershing.

In 1925, Morrow was called upon by his old Amherst College classmate and friend, President Calvin Coolidge, to head the Morrow Board. In September 1925, Coolidge ordered the court-martial of Col. Billy Mitchell of the Army Air Service for "conduct prejudicial to good order and military discipline." Anticipating adverse political reaction to the trial scheduled for November, and desirous of shaping aviation policy to his own economic views, Coolidge asked Morrow to take charge of a board of military, political, and civilian aviation experts to inquire into all aspects of American aviation. The board's report, published before Mitchell's conviction, recommended the creation of an Air Corps within the Army equivalent to the Signal Corps or Quartermaster Corps, which resulted in the establishment of the U.S. Army Air Corps in July 1926.

He was appointed United States Ambassador to Mexico by Coolidge from 1927 to 1930. He was widely hailed as a brilliant ambassador, mixing popular appeal with sound financial advice. In 1927, he invited famed aviator Charles Lindbergh for a goodwill tour of Mexico. His daughter, Anne Morrow, was introduced and soon engaged to Lindbergh. To thank the town of Cuernavaca, where Morrow had a weekend house, Morrow hired the Mexican artist Diego Rivera to paint a mural inside the Palace of Cortez.

As U.S. Ambassador to Mexico, Morrow was instrumental in bringing U.S. State Department aid in the form of armaments and aircraft to assist the anti-Church government of Mexican President Plutarco Elías Calles which helped end the Cristero War of 1926 to 1929, an uprising and counter-revolution against the Calles' government's war against Christianity. Calles' forces used rape and pillaging, torture and murder of Catholic priests, desecration and destruction of Catholic churches, all in his government's extreme persecution of Catholics. Calles claimed to be strictly enforcing the anti-clerical provisions of the Mexican Constitution of 1917 and the expansion of further anti-clerical laws, but nothing in the Constitution allowed Calles to attempt to destroy Christianity in Mexico.

Morrow initiated a series of breakfast meetings with President Calles, at which the two would discuss a range of issues, from the religious uprising, to oil and irrigation. This earned him the nickname "ham and eggs diplomat" in U.S. papers. Morrow wanted the conflict to end both for regional security and to help find a solution to the oil problem in the U.S. He was aided in his efforts by Father John J. Burke of the National Catholic Welfare Conference. The Vatican was also actively suing for peace.

After the assassination of the new President Álvaro Obregón, Congress named Emilio Portes, who was more open to the Church than Calles had been, as interim president in September 1928, allowing Morrow and Burke to reinitiate their peace initiative. Portes told a foreign correspondent on May 1 that "the Catholic clergy, when they wish, may renew the exercise of their rites with only one obligation, that they respect the laws of the land."

Morrow managed to bring the war parties to agreement on June 21, 1929. His office drafted a pact called the arreglos (agreement) that allowed worship to resume in Mexico and granted three concessions to the Catholics: only priests who were named by hierarchical superiors would be required to register, religious instruction in the churches (but not in the schools) would be permitted, and all citizens, including the clergy, would be allowed to make petitions to reform the laws.

In 1930 he was elected as a Republican to the United States Senate to fill the vacancy caused by the resignation of Walter Evans Edge. At the same time he was elected for the full term commencing March 4, 1931. He served in the Senate from December 3, 1930, until his death in Englewood, New Jersey, on October 5, 1931.

Death[edit]

A partner in J.P. Morgan, Morrow was one of the richest men in New Jersey. Morrow's death on October 12, 1931, within 30 days of the next election, allowed Republican Governor Morgan Foster Larson to appoint William Warren Barbour as Morrow's successor in the U.S. Senate.[1]

Morrow was interred at Brookside Cemetery in Englewood.[2]

Morrow's will was dated January 24, 1927, and made over $1 million in specific bequests, including $200,000 to Amherst College, $200,000 to Smith College, $100,000 to the Smithsonian Institution $100,000, and several other bequests to family and friends.[3] The Estate was valued at about $10 Million. In addition, a $1 million trust fund had been set up for Anne Morrow Lindbergh in 1929.[4]

Morrow's personal papers are held by the Archives & Special Collections in Frost Library at Amherst College.

Dwight Morrow High School, founded in 1932, was named in his honor. It is a public school serving students in Englewood and Englewood Cliffs, New Jersey.

Popular culture[edit]

Dwight Morrow was portrayed by Bruce Greenwood in the 2012 film For Greater Glory set during the Cristero War.

Sources[edit]

See also[edit]

References[edit]

  1. ^ "Death of Morrow", Time (magazine), October 12, 1931. Accessed May 24, 2007.
  2. ^ Dwight Whitney Morrow, Biographical Directory of the United States Congress. Accessed August 22, 2007.
  3. ^ Dwight Morrow's Will, accessed May 24, 2007.
  4. ^ "Milestones", Time (magazine), November 2, 1931. Accessed May 24, 2007.

External links[edit]

United States Senate
Preceded by
David Baird, Jr.
United States Senator from New Jersey
1930–1931
Succeeded by
W. Warren Barbour
Party political offices
Preceded by
Walter E. Edge
Republican Nominee for the U.S. Senate (Class 2) from New Jersey
1930
Succeeded by
W. Warren Barbour
Diplomatic posts
Preceded by
James R. Sheffield
U.S. Ambassador to Mexico
1927–1930
Succeeded by
J. Reuben Clark