This timeline is back in business.Chapter Sixty-Nine: The Presidency of Henry C. Lodge, Part OneWith Lodge's entering into office, many outsider observers of the United States were truly beginning to suspect America was becoming a one party system, not due to the machinations of an ambitious leader or an erosion of American democracy, but because of utter Republican domination of both Houses of congress. Of the 64 Senate seats, only 7 were not held by members of the Republican Party, of them only six were Democrats, consisting of Nevada's Francis G. Newlands, Colorado's Charles J. Hughes, Kentucky's Thomas H. Paynter and James B. McCreary, and Missouri's William J. Stone and Champ Clark. The sole remaining man who was opposed to the Republicans in Senate while also not being a Democrat was Wisconsin's Robert LaFollette, who claimed affliction with the Reform Party he had ran with the 1908 election, although he would frequently vote with the Republicans on many issues. As had become evident in previous years, however, the Republicans were far from a united party, and it wasn't surprising when some conservative Republicans would cross the aisle and vote with the six Democrats. This would lead Newlands to state, "The only hope for the continuance of the Democratic Party as a major political force is for a mass defection of the conservative wing of the Republican Party to our side. Should this fail, I see little hope for the future of my party."
President Henry C. Lodge
Shortly into his presidency, Lodge would be confronted with his first major issue as president, which happened to deal with the presidency of another nation, Mexico. In the wake of the 1909 Mexican Presidential Election and the subsequent Zapatista rebellion, Lodge was confronted with what to do. Should he lead the United States in remaining neutral, or back the government under Orozco that his predecessor had helped form and install? Ultimately, Lodge what stick to his principles of avoiding United States involvement abroad and following a policy of isolationism unless the Mexican government would directly request assistance, which it did not. This decision, however, would be much scorned by some of the more progressive elements of the Republican Party, including Roosevelt himself, who openly claimed that had the rebellion broken out under his administration, he would have sent troops to quell it. This move by Lodge coincided with his efforts to begin removing U.S. troops from the region, and beginning to advocate for Mexico to become more self-reliant, although he was still in favor of a friendly foreign policy, as well as remaining a firm defender of the informal alliance that existed between the United States, the Confederacy, and Mexico, which he had played a major role in crafting while acting as Secretary of State under Roosevelt.
Nevada Senator Francis Newlands, leader of the six Democrats in the Senate
Lodge's term would also be marked by his increased push for civil rights, being their most fervent advocate since Garfield. For example, he would again break with Roosevelt, and formally offered to the three discharged companies of the 27th U.S. Infantry the opportunity for reentry into the army, as well as full presidential pardons and honorable discharges for those who wished to remain out of the service. He would also meet with several leaders within the African-American community, asking to hear their grievances, as well as their ideas for improvements. Among those who he would speak to were John B. Washington, W.E.B. Du Bois, Kelly Miller, and Paul L. Dunbar. This, however, was not completely well-received by the general populace, and the Democrats were able to exploit the issue of racism for slight congressional gains in the 1910 congressional midterms, although the Republicans still dominated both houses of Congress. The most notable of these gains would be the election of William R. Hearst over incumbent Republican Chauncey M. Depew for his U.S. Senate seat of New York. Hearst's victory was attributed both to his massive media empire, as well as the effective work of his campaign manager John Alden Dix in uniting many of the disparate factions in New York who opposed Republicans but lacked unity. Despite this, Lodge remained true to his convictions, and continued his meetings with the African-Americans, which has received much praise in the modern day.
A photograph depicting U.S. and Mexican soldiers partaking in joint U.S.-CSA-Mexican military exercises as part of their policy of mutual friendship
Another major conflict would rise within the Lodge adminstration in 1911. On October 14, 1911, Chief Justice of the Supreme Court John M. Harlan was pass away, thus ending his 28 years of service on the bench that had begun with his appointment by President Garfield. The battle on who would replace him would help highlight once more the divides within the Republican Party. Lodge considered two major candidates. First was his Secretary of State Philander C. Knox, while the other was Ohio Governor William H. Taft. Remembering how his dropping out at the 1908 Republican National Convention had led to Lodge's nomination, Taft was confident he would receive the appointment, and he received the endorsements of Theodore Roosevelt and Vice-President Albert Cummins, as well as several other prominent progressive Republicans. Once again defying his old leader, Lodge would instead nominate Knox, who shared closer views to him. This would enrage Taft, who tried to mobilize enough senators to block Knox's approval, and rejected out of hand Lodge's offer to appoint him as Knox's successor in the State Department. Ultimately, however, Taft's movement failed to gain much traction, and Knox's nomination was easily approved by the Senate. Thus, Knox became the 10th Chief Justice of the United States Supreme Court, and with Taft's refusal to accept the post, Lodge would appoint James E. Watson, recently elected senator from Indiana and a close ally of House Speaker Joseph G. Cannon from his time in the House of Representatives, to the now vacated position of Secretary of State as an attempted olive branch to the conservative wing of his party.View attachment 586039
W.E.B. Du Bois, Kelly Miller, and Paul Dunbar, all among the African-American leaders whom Lodge invited to the White House
It was under the newly inaugurated Knox's court that a long awaited and prepared for legal battle began. In the case Standard Oil Co. of New Jersey v. United States, the long-awaited showdown between the most powerful monopoly of them all, Henry M. Flagler's Standard Oil, and a United States federal government intent on busting trusts finally occurred. Hundreds of people would appear as witnesses to offer their testimony, even including Chairman Henry Flagler, Vice-President John D. Archbold, as well as senior company executives including Henry H. Rogers and William A. Rockefeller. As arguments from both sides were heard, the courtroom remained tense as the future of American industry was decided, with the silence only broken the droning of the lawyers and their witnesses, the occasional rapping of the gavel, and the frantic scribing of notes by newspaper reporters eagerly hanging on every word. Eventually, the Supreme Court would return with their verdict. In it, it ordered Standard Oil to dissolve into over two dozen smaller, more local companies within six months of the court's ruling. While some eagerly claimed this as a victory, other progressives, led by Senator Robert LaFollette, saw it as a defeat in disguise, as with the ruling came the government establishing what it would consider monopolistic practices, which they feared would lead to the monopolies merely finding loopholes to continue with their ways. For the moment, however, the power of America's largest and most domineering monopoly was shattered.
Chief Justice Philander Knox
As Lodge's term began coming to a close in 1912, he and his supporters who forced to look to the future. Despite Lodge being a much more moderate president than Roosevelt had been, the divides within the Republican Party had only grown. Even though Lodge had listened to them much more than Roosevelt ever did, the arch-conservatives within the party were growing more and more dissatisfied by the day. Without the threat of a major opposition party holding them together, many of these conservatives were seriously beginning to toy with the idea of an independent run, which had been present in their minds since 1904. All of these factors would burst forth in clear light in the 1912 election.
Leaders of the Dissolved Stanard Oil: Henry Flagler, John Archbold, Henry Rogers, and William Rockefeller
Lodge and his cabinet:
President: Henry C. Lodge
Vice-President: Albert B. Cummins
Secretary of State: Philander C. Knox
Secretary of the Treasury: Hamilton Fish II
Secretary of War: Leonard Wood
Attorney General: Jonathan P. Dolliver
Postmaster General: James R. Garfield
Secretary of the Navy: Henry L. Stimson
Secretary of the Interior: Porter J. McCumber
Secretary of Agriculture: James Wilson
Secretary of Labor and Commerce: Charles Nagel