Charles Joseph Bonaparte

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Bonaparte, Charles Joseph,

1851–1921, U.S. cabinet official, b. Baltimore; grandson of Jérôme Bonaparte and Elizabeth Patterson. A lawyer and political leader in Baltimore, he identified himself with reform causes. President Theodore Roosevelt appointed him one of the commissioners to investigate conditions in the Indian TerritoryIndian Territory,
in U.S. history, name applied to the country set aside for Native Americans by the Indian Intercourse Act (1834). In the 1820s, the federal government began moving the Five Civilized Tribes (Cherokee, Creek, Seminole, Choctaw, and Chickasaw) of the Southeast to
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 and in 1905 appointed him Secretary of the Navy. In Dec., 1906, he shifted from this office to that of Attorney General, which he retained until the end of Roosevelt's administration. He was active in suits brought against the trusts and was largely responsible for breaking up the tobacco monopoly. He was one of the founders, and for a time the president, of the National Municipal League.
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Bonaparte, Charles Joseph

(1851–1921) lawyer, reformer; born in Baltimore, Md. (great-nephew of the Emperor Napoleon I). He was born into wealth but imbued with a sense of high-minded social responsibility by his New England-born mother. He practiced law in Baltimore, where he fought rampant corruption in both the city and state government, and founded the Civil Service Reform Association of Maryland and the National Civil Service Reform League (both in 1881; he served as the latter's chairman, 1901–05). His reform activities led to a friendship with Theodore Roosevelt who, as president, appointed him secretary of the navy (1905) and then attorney general (1906–09). Although he led Roosevelt's anti-trust campaign, he was himself essentially a conservative who had no great faith in the masses. After leaving the Department of Justice, he returned to practice law in Baltimore, and was founder and president of the National Municipal League.
The Cambridge Dictionary of American Biography, by John S. Bowman. Copyright © Cambridge University Press 1995. Reproduced with permission.