1922 Encyclopædia Britannica/Root, Elihu
ROOT, ELIHU (1845-), American lawyer and political leader (see 23.711), was elected president of the N.Y. State Bar Association in 1910, and chairman of the board of trustees of the Carnegie Institution of Washington in 1913. He was chairman of the N.Y. State Republican Convention in 1912, 1913, 1914, 1916, and permanent chairman of the Republican National Convention in 1912. In 1913 he favoured the repeal of the bill exempting American shipping from Panama Canal tolls. He also approved President Wilson's policy of non-interference in Mexico. He assailed as class legislation the exemption of labour unions and agricultural associations from the Sherman Anti-Trust Act. On Dec. 10 1910 he was awarded the Nobel peace prize because of his work in the pacification of the Philippines and Cuba as well as his part in the negotiations between the United States and Japan. The same day he became a member of the Court of Arbitration for settling the claims of British, French and Spanish subjects in connexion with property seized by the Portuguese Government when a republic had been proclaimed. In 1915 he opposed Secretary Bryan's treaty with Colombia, disapproving any apology for incidents attending the acquisition of the Canal Zone and regarding the proposed payment of $25,000,000 as too large. He attacked the Ship Purchase bill, pointing out dangers of international difficulties in case interned vessels were taken over. He also argued that for the Government to acquire shipping would discourage private enterprise and was socialistic in tendency. He was president of the State Constitutional Convention in 1915 and worked for many reforms, including the short ballot, means for remedying the law's delays and the excessive cost of securing justice, and the making of impeachments easier. When submitted to the voters, however, the new constitution was defeated. He was unanimously elected president of the American Bar Association in 1915. The same year he retired from the U.S. Senate, having refused to stand for a reëlection.
He had long advocated preparedness on the part of the United States and early in 1917 spoke in favour of war against Germany. After the United States entered the World War he urged full support of the President. In May 1917 he was appointed chairman of the special American mission sent to Russia and was given the rank of ambassador. Arriving at Petrograd in June he addressed the Russian Council of Ministers and in Moscow spoke at a special session of the Duma and at a meeting of the local Council of Workmen's and Soldiers' Delegates. Later he visited General Brussilov at staff headquarters. On his return to America he was elected honorary president of the National Security League, succeeding Joseph H. Choate. On Sept. 25 1917 he presided at the meeting of the National Association Opposed to Woman Suffrage and denounced suffrage agitation during the critical period of the war. He had never supported the movement and in 1914 had been blacklisted by the National American Suffrage Association. He approved in general the Covenant of the League of Nations but in 1919 suggested six amendments to protect American interests, including reservations concerning the Monroe Doctrine and immigration. He favoured separate consideration of the Peace Treaty and the League. He was strongly opposed to the Prohibition amendment to the Federal Constitution; was retained as counsel by several brewing interests and in 1920 argued before the U.S. Supreme Court against its constitutionality, but unsuccessfully. In 1920 the President reappointed him U.S. delegate to the Hague Tribunal and he went to Holland to assist in organizing the Permanent Court. In July 1920 he spoke at the unveiling of St. Gaudens' statue of Lincoln in London. In 1921 he was one of the four U.S. delegates at the Washington Conference on the Limitation of Armament.
He was the author of several volumes of lectures and addresses, including Experiments in Government and the Essentials of the
Constitution (1913, lectures delivered at Princeton); Addresses on International Subjects (1916); Addresses on Government and Citizenship (1916); The Military and Colonial Policy of the United States (1916); Latin America and the United States (1917); Miscellaneous Addresses (1917); North Atlantic Coast Fisheries at The Hague (1917) and The United States and the War (1918).