Hay, John Milton

Hay, John Milton,

1838–1905, American author and statesman who was an important political figure from the mid-19th cent. into the early 20th cent.; b. Salem, Ind., grad. Brown. He practiced law at Springfield, Ill., where he met Abraham LincolnLincoln, Abraham
, 1809–65, 16th President of the United States (1861–65). Early Life

Born on Feb. 12, 1809, in a log cabin in backwoods Hardin co., Ky. (now Larue co.), he grew up on newly broken pioneer farms of the frontier.
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. Hay accompanied Lincoln to Washington and was the president's assistant private secretary, writing some of his more grandiloquent correspondence until Lincoln's death. The next five years were spent in minor posts in the U.S. legations at Paris, Vienna, and Madrid. Then followed four years of journalism in New York City, a period during which he published Pike County Ballads (1871). Marriage to the daughter of a wealthy Cleveland banker enabled him to pursue the profession of man of letters, to travel, and to fill political posts of distinction.

He was appointed assistant secretary of state in 1878 and moved to Washington, D.C., where he became the intimate of Henry AdamsAdams, Henry,
1838–1918, American writer and historian, b. Boston; son of Charles Francis Adams (1807–86). He was secretary (1861–68) to his father, then U.S. minister to Great Britain.
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 and Clarence KingKing, Clarence,
1842–1901, American geologist, b. Newport, R.I., grad. Sheffield Scientific School, Yale, 1862. After serving as a volunteer assistant in the California state geological survey (1863–65, 1866), he persuaded Congress to appropriate funds for the
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. In this period he published with John G. NicolayNicolay, John George
, 1832–1901, biographer of Lincoln, b. Bavaria. In 1837 he was brought to the United States, and his family settled in Pike co., Ill. He worked on the Pittsfield, Ill., Free Press and was its editor and owner from 1854 to 1856.
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, the monumental Abraham Lincoln: A History (10 vol., 1890), a work for which the young secretaries, while serving under Lincoln, had gathered material with his knowledge and permission. In Mar., 1897, McKinley appointed Hay ambassador to Great Britain, and there he served his country well during the trying time of the Spanish-American WarSpanish-American War,
1898, brief conflict between Spain and the United States arising out of Spanish policies in Cuba. It was, to a large degree, brought about by the efforts of U.S. expansionists.
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.

From Sept. 20, 1898, until his death, July 1, 1905, he was secretary of state under Presidents McKinleyMcKinley, William,
1843–1901, 25th president of the United States (1897–1901), b. Niles, Ohio. He was educated at Poland (Ohio) Seminary and Allegheny College. After service in the Union army in the Civil War, he returned to Ohio and became a lawyer at Canton.
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 and Theodore RooseveltRoosevelt, Theodore,
1858–1919, 26th President of the United States (1901–9), b. New York City. Early Life and Political Posts

Of a prosperous and distinguished family, Theodore Roosevelt was educated by private tutors and traveled widely.
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. In the McKinley administration he was a maker of policies, and he was also a prominent figure in the Roosevelt administration, despite his chief's posthumous description of him as a "fine figurehead." Hay was responsible for the Open DoorOpen Door,
maintenance in a certain territory of equal commercial and industrial rights for the nationals of all countries. As a specific policy, it was first advanced by the United States, but it was rooted in the typical most-favored-nation clause of the treaties concluded
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 policy (1899) with regard to China, which stressed freedom of commercial enterprise for American merchants; for U.S. involvement in the Boxer UprisingBoxer Uprising,
1898–1900, antiforeign movement in China, culminating in a desperate uprising against Westerners and Western influence.

By the end of the 19th cent. the Western powers and Japan had established wide interests in China.
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; and for the Hay-Pauncefote TreatiesHay-Pauncefote Treaties
, negotiated in 1899 and 1901 by Secretary of State John Hay, for the United States, and Lord Pauncefote of Preston, British ambassador to the United States, for Great Britain, with the object of modifying the Clayton-Bulwer Treaty, concerning the
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.

Bibliography

See W. R. Thayer, Life and Letters of John Hay (1915, repr. 1972); biographies by T. Dennett (1933, repr. 1961) and J. Taliaferro (2013); J. Zeitz, Lincoln's Boys: John Hay, John Nicolay and the War for Lincoln's Image (2014).

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The following article is from The Great Soviet Encyclopedia (1979). It might be outdated or ideologically biased.

Hay, John Milton

 

Born Oct. 8, 1838, in Salem, Ind.; died July 1, 1905, in Newbury. N.H. US statesman and diplomat.

Hay was educated as a lawyer. He served as ambassador to Great Britain from 1897 to 1898, and in the latter year he became secretary of state. Hay was one of the chief figures responsible for the imperialistic expansion of the USA around the turn of the 20th century. He helped negotiate the Paris Peace Treaty of 1898, which ended the Spanish-American War. In 1899, Hay proclaimed the Open Door policy in regard to China. He was also associated with the Hay-Pauncefote Treaty of 1901, the Hay-Herrán Treaty of 1903, and the Hay-Bunau-Varilla Treaty of 1903, all of which concerned the construction and status of the future Panama Canal.

The Great Soviet Encyclopedia, 3rd Edition (1970-1979). © 2010 The Gale Group, Inc. All rights reserved.