Philander C. Knox

Philander Chase Knox (May 6, 1853 – October 12, 1921) was an American lawyer, bank director and politician. A member of the Republican Party, Knox served in the Cabinet of three different presidents and represented Pennsylvania in the United States Senate.

Born in Brownsville, Pennsylvania, Knox became a prominent attorney in Pittsburgh, forming the law firm of Knox and Reed. With the industrialists Henry Clay Frick and Andrew Mellon, Knox also served as a director of the Pittsburgh National Bank of Commerce.[1] In early 1901, he accepted appointment as United States Attorney General. Knox served under President William McKinley until McKinley was assassinated in September 1901, and Knox continued to serve under President Theodore Roosevelt until 1904, when he resigned to accept appointment to the Senate.

Knox won re-election to the Senate in 1905 and unsuccessfully sought the 1908 Republican presidential nomination. In 1909, President William Howard Taft appointed Knox to the position of United States Secretary of State. From that post, Knox reorganized the State Department and pursued dollar diplomacy, which focused on encouraging and protecting U.S. investments abroad. Knox returned to private practice in 1913 after Taft lost re-election. He won election to the Senate in 1916 and played a role in the Senate's rejection of the Treaty of Versailles. Knox was widely seen as a potential compromise candidate at the 1920 Republican National Convention, but the party's presidential nomination instead went to Warren G. Harding. While still serving in the Senate, Knox died in October 1921.

Philander Knox
Philander C Know-H&E
United States Senator
from Pennsylvania
In office
March 4, 1917 – October 12, 1921
Preceded byGeorge T. Oliver
Succeeded byWilliam E. Crow
In office
June 10, 1904 – March 4, 1909
Preceded byMatthew Quay
Succeeded byGeorge T. Oliver
40th United States Secretary of State
In office
March 6, 1909 – March 5, 1913
PresidentWilliam Howard Taft
Woodrow Wilson
Preceded byRobert Bacon
Succeeded byWilliam Jennings Bryan
44th United States Attorney General
In office
April 5, 1901 – June 30, 1904
PresidentWilliam McKinley
Theodore Roosevelt
Preceded byJohn W. Griggs
Succeeded byWilliam Moody
Personal details
Philander Chase Knox

May 6, 1853
Brownsville, Pennsylvania, U.S.
DiedOctober 12, 1921 (aged 68)
Washington, D.C., U.S.
Political partyRepublican
EducationWest Virginia University, Morgantown
University of Mount Union (BA)
Philander C. Knox's signature

Early life, education, and marriage

Philander Knox House
Knox's house in Brownsville

Philander Chase Knox was born in Brownsville, Pennsylvania, one of nine children of Rebecca (née Page) and David S. Knox, a banker.[2] He was named after the Episcopal Bishop Philander Chase. He attended public school in Brownsville, graduating at the age of fifteen.[3] He attended West Virginia University for a time, and then Mount Union College, where he graduated in 1872 with a bachelor of arts degree. While there, he formed a lifelong friendship with William McKinley, the future U.S. President, who at the time was a local district attorney. Knox then returned to Brownsville, and was occupied for a short while as a printer at the local newspaper, then as a clerk at the bank where his recently deceased father had worked. Soon he left for Pittsburgh, and studied law while working at the law offices of H. R. Swope & David Reed in Pittsburgh.[4]

Marriage and family

In 1880, Knox married Lillian "Lillie" Smith, daughter of Mr. and Mrs. Andrew Darsie Smith. Her father was a partner in a steel company known as Smith, Sutton and Co. The company eventually became a part of Crucible Steel. Knox and his wife had several children, including Hugh Knox. His extended relatives include a nephew, "Billy" Knox.

Legal career

Knox was admitted to the bar in 1875 and practiced in Pittsburgh. From 1876 to 1877, he was Assistant United States Attorney for the Western District of Pennsylvania. Knox became a leading Pittsburgh attorney in partnership with James Hay Reed, their firm being Knox and Reed (now Reed Smith LLP). In 1897 Knox became President of the Pennsylvania Bar Association. Along with Jesse H. Lippencott, a fellow member of an elite hunting club (see South Fork below), Knox served as a director of the Fifth National Bank of Pittsburgh. With Henry Clay Frick and Andrew Mellon, he was a director of the Pittsburgh National Bank of Commerce. As counsel for the Carnegie Steel Company, Knox took a prominent part in organizing the United States Steel Corporation in 1901.

Social organizations

Knox was a member of the South Fork Fishing and Hunting Club, which had a clubhouse upriver of Johnstown, Pennsylvania. It maintained an earthen dam for a lake by the club, which was stocked for fishing. The dam failed in May 1889, causing the Johnstown Flood and severe losses of life and property downriver. When word of the dam's failure was telegraphed to Pittsburgh, Frick and other members of the South Fork Club gathered to form the Pittsburgh Relief Committee for assistance to the flood victims. They decided together to refrain from speaking publicly about the club or the flood. This strategy was a success, and Knox and Reed were able to fend off all lawsuits that would have placed blame upon the Club's members.

Knox was also a member of the elite Duquesne Club in Pittsburgh.


Knox's nickname was "Sleepy Phil," as he was said to have dozed off during board meetings, or because he was cross-eyed.

Political career

U.S. Attorney General

In 1901, Knox was appointed as US Attorney General by President William McKinley and was re-appointed by President Theodore Roosevelt. He served until 1904. While serving President Roosevelt, Knox worked hard to implement the concept of Dollar Diplomacy.

He told President Roosevelt: "I think, it would be better to keep your action free from any taint of legality,"[5] made in regard to the construction of the Panama Canal.

U.S. Senator

In June 1904, Knox was appointed by Governor Samuel W. Pennypacker of Pennsylvania to fill the unexpired term of the late Matthew S. Quay in the United States Senate. In 1905, he was elected by the state legislature to fill the remainder of the full term for the US Senate seat (to 1909).

Knox made an unsuccessful bid for the Republican Party nomination in the 1908 U.S. presidential election.

U.S. Secretary of State

In February 1909, President William Howard Taft nominated Senator Knox to be Secretary of State.[6] He was at first found to be constitutionally ineligible, because Congress had increased the salary for the post during his Senate term, thus violating the Ineligibility Clause.[7] In particular, Knox had been elected to serve the term from March 4, 1905, to March 4, 1911. During debate on legislation approved on February 26, 1907, as well as debate beginning on March 4, 1908, he had consistently supported pay raises for the Cabinet, which were eventually instituted for the 1908 fiscal calendar.[7][8] The discovery of the constitutional complication came as a surprise after President-elect Taft had announced his intention to nominate Knox.[7]

The Senate Judiciary Committee proposed the remedy of resetting the salary to its pre-service level, and the Senate passed it unanimously on February 11, 1909.[8] Members of the U.S. House of Representatives mounted more opposition to the relief measure and defeated it once. After a special procedural rule was applied, the measure was passed by a 173–115 vote.[9] On March 4, 1909, the salary of the Secretary of State position was reverted from $12,000 to $8,000, and Knox took office on March 6.[7][8] Later known as the "Saxbe fix", such legislation has been passed in a number of similar circumstances.

Knox served as Secretary of State in Taft's cabinet until March 5, 1913. As Secretary of State, he reorganized the Department on a divisional basis, extended the merit system to the Diplomatic Service up to the grade of chief of mission, pursued a policy of encouraging and protecting American investments abroad, declared the ratification of the Sixteenth Amendment, and accomplished the settlement of controversies related to activities in the Bering Sea and the North Atlantic fisheries.

Under Taft the focus of foreign policy was the encouragement and protection of U.S. investments abroad called Dollar diplomacy. This was first applied in 1909, in a failed attempt to help China assume ownership of the Manchurian railways.[10] Knox felt that not only was the goal of diplomacy to improve financial opportunities, but also to use private capital to further U.S. interests overseas. In spite of successes, "dollar diplomacy" failed to counteract economic instability and the tide of revolution in places like Mexico, the Dominican Republic, Nicaragua, and China.[11]

Return to the Senate

Following his term of office, Knox resumed the practice of law in Pittsburgh. In 1916, Knox was elected by popular vote to the Senate from Pennsylvania for the first time, after passage of the Seventeenth Amendment providing for such popular elections. He served from 1917 until his death in 1921. While a Senator, he was highly critical of the Treaty of Versailles ending World War I, saying "this Treaty does not spell peace but war — war more woeful and devastating than the one we have but now closed".[12]

At the 1920 Republican National Convention, Knox was considered a potential compromise candidate who could unite the progressive and conservative factions of the party. Many thought that California Senator Hiram Johnson would release his delegates to back his friend Knox, but Johnson never did. Warren G. Harding instead emerged as the compromise candidate, and Harding went on to win the 1920 election.[13] After the election, Knox urged President Harding to consider Andrew Mellon for the position of Secretary of the Treasury, and Mellon ultimately took the position.[14]

In April 1921, he introduced a Senate resolution to bring a formal end to American involvement in World War I. It was combined with a similar House resolution to create the Knox–Porter Resolution, signed by President Warren G. Harding on July 2.[15]


Knox died in Washington, D.C. on October 12, 1921, aged 68.

See also


  1. ^ "Philander Chase Knox" (PDF). New York Times. October 14, 1921.
  2. ^ Demmler, Ralph H (1977). "Knox & Reed; Reed, Smith, Shaw & Beal; Reed, Smith, Shaw & McClay", p. 7
  3. ^ Dodds, A. John (Mar–Jun 1950). "Philander C. Knox – Legal Adviser to Pittsburgh Business". The Western Pennsylvania Historical Magazine. 33: 11–20.
  4. ^ Beveridge, Albert J. (1923). "Philander Chase Knox, American Lawyer, Patriot, Statesman". The Pennsylvania Magazine of History and Biography. 47.2: 89–114 – via JSTOR.
  5. ^ Morris, Edmund (2001). Theodore Rex. New York: The Modern Library. p. 300. ISBN 0-8129-6600-7.
  6. ^ 43 Congressional Record 2390-403 (1909).
  7. ^ a b c d "Knox Seems Barred From the Cabinet". The New York Times. 1909-02-10. Retrieved 2009-01-25.
  8. ^ a b c "Knox Relief Bill Passes in Senate" (PDF). The New York Times. 1909-02-12. Retrieved 2009-01-25.
  9. ^ "Way Clear For Knox to Enter Cabinet" (PDF). The New York Times. 1909-02-16. Retrieved 2009-01-25.
  10. ^ For more on Knox's actions in Manchuria, see Michael H. Hunt, Frontier Defense and the Open Door: Manchuria in Chinese-American Relations, 1895–1911, New Haven, CT: Yale University Press, 1973
  11. ^ "Dollar Diplomacy, 1909–1913". Office of the Historian, United States Department of State. Retrieved 28 August 2016. This article incorporates text from this source, which is in the public domain.
  12. ^ "Harmony of the Secret Treaties and the 14 Points". Harper's Weekly, Vol. 2: 33. 1919. Retrieved April 2, 2015.
  13. ^ "Harding Nominated for President on the Tenth Ballot at Chicago; Coolidge Chosen for Vice President". New York Times. 13 June 1920. Retrieved 9 October 2015.
  14. ^ Cannadine, David (2006). Mellon: An American Life. A. A. Knopf. pp. 525–526. ISBN 0-679-45032-7.
  15. ^ Staff (July 3, 1921). "Harding Ends War. Signs Peace Decree At Senator's Home. Thirty Persons Witness Momentous Act in Frelinghuysen Living Room at Raritan". The New York Times.

External links

Legal offices
Preceded by
John W. Griggs
United States Attorney General
Succeeded by
William Moody
U.S. Senate
Preceded by
Matthew Quay
U.S. Senator (Class 1) from Pennsylvania
Served alongside: Boies Penrose
Succeeded by
George T. Oliver
Preceded by
John Spooner
Chair of the Senate Rules Committee
Succeeded by
Murray Crane
Preceded by
George T. Oliver
U.S. Senator (Class 1) from Pennsylvania
Served alongside: Boies Penrose
Succeeded by
William E. Crow
Preceded by
Lee Overman
Chair of the Senate Rules Committee
Succeeded by
Charles Curtis
Political offices
Preceded by
Robert Bacon
United States Secretary of State
Succeeded by
William Jennings Bryan
Party political offices
First Republican nominee for U.S. Senator from Pennsylvania
(Class 1)

Succeeded by
David Reed
1905 United States Senate election in Pennsylvania

The 1905 United States Senate election in Pennsylvania was held on January 17, 1905. Incumbent Philander C. Knox was elected by the Pennsylvania State Assembly to his first full term in the United States Senate.

1908 United States presidential election

The United States presidential election of 1908 was the 31st quadrennial presidential election, held on Tuesday, November 3, 1908. Secretary of War and Republican Party nominee William Howard Taft defeated three-time Democratic nominee William Jennings Bryan.

Popular incumbent President Theodore Roosevelt honored his promise not to seek a third term, and persuaded his close friend, Taft, to become his successor. With Roosevelt's support, Taft won the presidential nomination of the 1908 Republican National Convention on the first ballot. Having lost the 1904 election badly, the Democratic Party re-nominated Bryan, who had been defeated in 1896 and 1900 by Republican William McKinley. Despite his two previous defeats and the waning of the Free Silver issue, Bryan remained extremely popular among the more liberal and populist elements of the Democratic Party.

Bryan ran a vigorous campaign against the nation's business elite, but the Democrat suffered the worst loss of his three presidential campaigns. Taft won 51.6% of the popular vote and carried most states outside of the Solid South. Taft's triumph gave Republicans their fourth straight presidential election victory. Two third party candidates, Eugene V. Debs of the Socialist Party and Eugene W. Chafin of the Prohibition Party, each took over 1% of the popular vote.

1909 United States Senate special election in Pennsylvania

The 1909 United States Senate special election in Pennsylvania was held on March 16, 1909. George T. Oliver was elected by the Pennsylvania General Assembly to the United States Senate.

1916 United States Senate election in Pennsylvania

The 1916 United States Senate election in Pennsylvania was held on November 7, 1916. Incumbent Republican U.S. Senator George T. Oliver was not a candidate for re-election. The Republican nominee, Philander C. Knox defeated Democratic nominee Ellis C. Orvis.

Knox died in October 1921, during his first term, and William E. Crow was appointed to fill the vacancy. Crow, however, also died before the expiration of the term, in August 1922. David A. Reed was appointed to fill the vacancy created by Crow's death, and was subsequently elected to complete the rest of the term expiring in March 1923 and to a full six-year term in his own right on the same day.

Charlton v. Kelly

Charlton v. Kelly, 229 U.S. 447 (1913), is a case pertaining to extradition of a U.S. citizen to Italy. In 1910, Porter Charlton confessed in New York to having murdered his wife in Italy. The Italian vice consul requested Charlton's extradition. Hon. John A. Blair, one of the judges of the Circuit Court of the United States for the district of New Jersey, suspended Charlton's petition for a writ of habeas corpus and a warrant was issued for his arrest. This order for extradition was approved by Secretary of State Philander C. Knox.

Electoral history of Theodore Roosevelt

Electoral history of Theodore Roosevelt, 26th President of the United States (1901–1909), 25th Vice President of the United States (1901) and 33rd Governor of New York (1899–1900)

New York gubernatorial race, 1898

New York gubernatorial election, 1898

Theodore Roosevelt/Timothy L. Woodruff (R) - 661,715 (49.09%)

Augustus Van Wyck/Elliott Danforth (D) - 643,921 (47.77%)

Benjamin Hanford (Socialist) - 23,860 (1.77%)

John Kline (Prohibition) - 18,383 (1.36%)Vice Presidential race, 1900

1900 Republican National Convention (Vice Presidential tally):

Theodore Roosevelt - 925 (99.89%)

Abstaining - 1 (0.11%)United States presidential election, 1900:

William McKinley/Theodore Roosevelt (R) - 7,228,864 (51.6%) and 292 electoral votes (65.32%, 28 states carried)

William Jennings Bryan/Adlai E. Stevenson I (D) - 6,370,932 (45.5%) and 155 electoral votes (34.68%, 17 states carried)

John Granville Woolley/Henry Brewer Metcalf (Prohibition) - 210,864 (1.5%)

Eugene V. Debs/Job Harriman (Socialist) - 87,945 (0.6%)

Wharton Barker/Ignatius L. Donnelly (Populist) - 50,989 (0.4%)

Joseph Francis Maloney/Valentine Remmel (Socialist Labor) - 40,943 (0.3%)

Others - 6,889 (0.0%)

Electoral history of William Borah

Electoral history of William Edgar Borah, United States Senator from Idaho (1907–1940)

Chairman of the Senate Foreign Relations Committee (1924–1933)

Dean of the Senate (1933–1940)

Candidate for 1936 Republican presidential nomination

First inauguration of Theodore Roosevelt

The first inauguration of Theodore Roosevelt as the 26th President of the United States, took place on Saturday, September 14, 1901 at the Ansley Wilcox House, at 641 Delaware Avenue in Buffalo, New York, following the death of President William McKinley earlier that day. The inauguration marked the commencement of the first term (a partial term of 3 years, 171 days) of Theodore Roosevelt as President. John R. Hazel, U.S. District Judge for the Western District of New York, administered the Oath of office.

Francis McNulty Jr.

Francis McNulty Jr. was a Republican member of the Iowa House of Representatives from 1896 to 1898. Originally from Michigan where he graduated from the University of Michigan Law School at Ann Arbor, Michigan, McNulty removed to Sioux City, Iowa where he practiced law and served as a state representative in the Iowa General Assembly. He represented District 58 in Woodbury County, Iowa. Not a year after his term of office ended, after gold was discovered in Nome, Alaska (Cape Nome) in 1899, McNulty moved there. He practiced law in Nome, arguing cases before the United States District Court of the Territory of Alaska (Est. 1884). At least one of his successfully argued cases is published. In 1904, Republican Philander C. Knox, United States Attorney General in the Cabinets of both U.S. Presidents William McKinley and Theodore Roosevelt, and the 7 term U.S. Senator from Iowa (prior having served four terms as a U.S. Representative from the state) Republican William B. Allison both endorsed McNulty for appointment as U.S. Attorney for the District of Alaska. The position had been recently vacated by Marvin Grisby.

Hugh Knox

Hugh Smith Knox (January 27, 1883 – January 2, 1936) was an American football player. He played at the halfback position at Yale University and was selected as a first-team All-American in 1906.

Knox was the son of Philander C. Knox, who served as the U.S. Secretary of State under William Howard Taft and U.S. Attorney General under William McKinley and Theodore Roosevelt. He attended Allegheny Prep School before enrolling at Yale University.

While he was a student at a private school in Connecticut, Knox was arrested and charged in May 1903 with assault. The complainant alleged that he had been beaten badly by a group of young men, which included Knox. Because his father was the U.S. Attorney General, the case received coverage in the press. Knox was put on trial in Norwalk, Connecticut, and he was found not guilty.Knox graduated in 1907 from Yale University, where he was a member of Skull and Bones. At Yale, Knox played at the halfback position for Yale's football teams in 1905 and 1906. In Yale's 6–0 victory over Harvard in 1906, Knox was credited a 40-yard run that was considered one of the most exciting plays of the 1906 season. The New York Times called it a "magnificent effort" and a "beautiful run" and described Knox "swerving in and picking his way through the broken field ahead, ... dodging one and another of the oncoming Cambridge men."At the conclusion of the 1906 season, Knox was selected as a first-team All-American halfback by both Walter Camp, Caspar Whitney, the New York World and the New York Mail. The New York Times wrote that Knox was "as useful as any man on the field in general work."Knox later served as the private secretary to his father while he served as the U.S. Secretary of State. In 1910, Knox traveled incognito to Southern California to visit with Yale football legend, Walter Camp. The Los Angeles Times reported on Knox's visit as follows: "Short of stature, he bears a striking resemblance to his distinguished father, with the same restless dark eyes and dark hair growing sparse on the forehead. Mr. Knox is a bachelor and has not had the romantic marital history of his two younger brothers."In December 1911, Knox was married at New York's Fifth Avenue Presbyterian Church Katherine McCook, the daughter of Anson G. McCook, a member of the "Fighting McCooks," one of the most prolific military families during the American Civil War. The couple planned to live in Washington, D.C.Knox died in 1936 at Ithaca, New York.

Inauguration of Warren G. Harding

The inauguration of Warren G. Harding as the 29th President of the United States was held on Friday, March 4, 1921. The inauguration marked the commencement of Warren G. Harding's only term as President and of Calvin Coolidge's only term as Vice President. Harding died 2 years, 151 days into this term, and Coolidge succeeded to the presidency.

Chief Justice Edward D. White administered the presidential oath of office. Harding placed his hand on the Washington Inaugural Bible as he recited the oath.Coolidge was sworn in as Vice President in the Senate Chamber and on the east portico of the Capitol, respectively, which he believed ruined "all semblance of unity and continuity." Critic H. L. Menken described Harding's inaugural address, writing, "It is rumble and bumble. It is flap and doodle. It is balder and dash. But I grow lyrical."The 1921 Committee of Inaugural Ceremonies consisted of:

Sen. Philander C. Knox (R-PA)—Chairman

Sen. Knute Nelson (R-MN)

Sen. Lee Slater Overman (D-NC)

Rep. Joseph Gurney Cannon (R-IL)

Rep. Charles F. Reavis (R-NE)

Rep. Charles Manly Stedman (D-NC)—Replaced Rep. William W. Rucker (D-MO) who resigned from the Joint Committee.The 1921 inauguration was the first in which an automobile was used to transport the president-elect and the outgoing president (Woodrow Wilson) to and from the Capitol.

Knox–Porter Resolution

The Knox–Porter Resolution (42 Stat. 105) was a joint resolution of the United States Congress signed by President Warren G. Harding on July 2, 1921, officially ending United States involvement in World War I. The documents were signed on the estate of Joseph Sherman Frelinghuysen, Sr. in Raritan, New Jersey.

List of Secretaries of State of the United States

This is a list of Secretaries of State of the United States.

Monessen, Pennsylvania

Monessen is a city in Westmoreland County, Pennsylvania, United States. The population was 7,720 at the 2010 census. In 1940, 20,257 people lived there. In 1990 the population was 13,026. Monessen is the most southwestern municipality of Westmoreland County. Steel-making was a prominent industry in Monessen, which was a Rust Belt borough in the "Mon Valley" of southwestern Pennsylvania that became a third-class city in 1921. Monessen is part of the Pittsburgh metropolitan area, the Rivers of Steel National Heritage Area, as well as the Laurel Highlands.


Philander may mean:

to have sexual intercourse with many women

Philander (genus), a genus of opossums

"Philander", a historic name for the dusky pademelon (Thylogale brunii)People with the first name Philander:

Philander Chase (1775–1852), Episcopal Church bishop, educator, founder of Kenyon College, and pioneer of the United States western frontier

Philander Claxton (1862–1957), American journalist

Philander C. Knox (1853–1921), American lawyer and politician

Philander Smith (1809–1882), American philanthropist and eponym of Philander Smith College

Philander Stephens (1788–1861), Jacksonian member of the U.S. House of Representatives from PennsylvaniaPeople with the last name Philander:

Vernon Philander (born 1985), South African cricketer

United States Senate Committee on Rules

The United States Senate Committee on Rules is a defunct Congressional committee, replaced by the United States Senate Committee on Rules and Administration.

United States Senate Committee on Rules and Administration

The Senate Committee on Rules and Administration (also called the Senate Rules Committee) is responsible for the rules of the United States Senate, administration of congressional buildings, and with credentials and qualifications of members of the Senate, including responsibility for dealing with contested elections.

The committee is not as powerful as its House counterpart, the House Committee on Rules as it does not set the terms of debate for individual legislative proposals, since the Senate has a tradition of open debate.

Some members of the committee are also ex officio members of the Joint Committee on Printing.

United States occupation of Nicaragua

The United States occupation of Nicaragua from 1912 to 1933 was part of the Banana Wars, when the US military forcefully intervened in various Latin American countries from 1898 to 1934. The formal occupation began in 1912, even though there were various other assaults by the U.S. in Nicaragua throughout this period. American military interventions in Nicaragua were designed to stop any other nation except the United States of America from building a Nicaraguan Canal.

Nicaragua assumed a quasi-protectorate status under the 1916 Bryan–Chamorro Treaty. But with the onset of the Great Depression, it became too costly for the U.S. government and a withdrawal was ordered in 1933.

William E. Crow

William Evans Crow (March 10, 1870 – August 2, 1922) was an American lawyer and Republican party politician from Uniontown, Pennsylvania. He served in the Pennsylvania State Senate from 1907 until 1921, and was the body's President pro tempore in 1911. In 1921, he was appointed to the United States Senate, after Philander C. Knox died in office. Crow himself died in office less than a year after his appointment.

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