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George W.  Wickersham - Attorney General

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Born on September 19, 1858, in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania, George Woodward Wickersham earned his LL.B. from the University of Pennsylvania in 1880. Prior to and following his graduation, he practiced law in Philadelphia and continued to do so until 1882. He then moved to New York City and worked at the old, prestigious law firm of Strong and Cadwalader, where he became an associate of the President's brother, Henry Taft.

Wickersham entered the administration of William Howard Taft in March 1909 as attorney general, remaining until the end of the Taft presidency in March 1913. Following his tenure in the cabinet, Wickersham was named by President Woodrow Wilson to serve on the War Trade Board to Cuba during WWI. President Herbert Hoover later named him to a spot on the National Commission on Law Observance and Enforcement.

Wickersham was a staunch critic of trusts, lauding the April 1909 ruling to dissolve the Standard Oil Company as "one of the most important ever rendered in this country." He also won the enmity of the business community with his battle against progressive railroad regulations. George Woodward Wickersham died in New York City on January 26, 1936.

Citation Information

Consulting Editor

Peri E. Arnold

Professor Arnold is a professor in the Department of Political Science at the University of Notre Dame. His writings include:

Making the Managerial Presidency: Comprehensive Reorganization Planning, 1905–1996 (University Press of Kansas, 1986)