1922 Encyclopædia Britannica/Hughes, Charles Evans

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HUGHES, CHARLES EVANS (1862-), American statesman, was born at Glen Falls, N.Y., April 11 1862. He graduated from Brown University in 1881. He then studied law at Columbia (LL.B. 1884). He was admitted to the bar in 1884 and for seven years practised in New York City. From 1891 to 1893 he was professor of law at Cornell and then resumed practice in New York City, serving at the same time for several years as lecturer in the New York Law school. In 1905 he was counsel for a commission appointed by the New York Legislature to investigate the cost of gas, and in the same and the following year was counsel for a legislative committee for investigating life-insurance companies. This investigation revealed many irregularities in the management of the companies and led to the passage by the Legislature of New York and of other states of remedial legislation. The same year he was nominated by the Republicans for mayor of New York City but declined to run. In 1906 he was elected governor of New York State, defeating William Randolph Hearst, and was reëlected in 1908. He resigned in Oct. 1910 after being appointed associate justice of the U.S. Supreme Court by President Taft. In 1916 he resigned from the Supreme Court on being nominated for the presidency by the Republicans, but was narrowly defeated by President Woodrow Wilson, who had been renominated by the Democrats. Hughes's election was considered assured when the campaign began; but though he “stumped” the country widely he disappointed the people because he took no definite position on any of the specific questions involving the stand of America in the World War and especially as regards the sinking of the “Lusitania.” The result of the election was doubtful until a full count had been made, and eventually hinged upon Minnesota and California, normally Republican states. Hughes carried Minnesota by a few hundred votes but lost California by a few thousand. The electoral vote was 276 for Wilson against 255 for Hughes. The popular vote was 9,116,000 for Wilson against 8,547,000 for Hughes. The following year he again entered upon the practice of law in New York City. In 1917 he was appointed chairman of the Draft Appeals Board of New York City by Governor Whitman, and the following year was special assistant to the U.S. Attorney-General, in charge of the investigation of alleged waste and delay in the construction of aircraft. He was president of the New York State Bar Association in 1917-8 and of the Legal Aid Society 1917-9. He was opposed to Article X. of the League of Nations Covenant and urged special recognition of the Monroe Doctrine. He was the leader of the New York Bar Assn. in its opposition to the expulsion of the Socialists from the N.Y. State Legislature in 1920. In 1921 he entered the Cabinet of President Harding as Secretary of State. He was one of the four U.S. delegates to the Conference on Limitation of Armament, held in Washington, D.C., Nov. 1921, and was elected permanent chairman (see Washington Conference).