Charles Gates Dawes


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(b. Marietta, Ohio, 27 Aug. 1865; d. Evanston, Illinois, 23 Apr. 1951)

US; Vice-President 1925–9, US ambassador to Britain 1929–32 The son of an American army general, Dawes attended local schools before graduating from Marietta College, Ohio, 1884 and from Cincinnati Law School in 1886. He was called to the bar that same year and began practising law in Lincoln, Nebraska. In 1894, after publishing The Banking System of the United States, he gave up law and combined a career in business and finance with his interests in Republican Party politics. In 1896, he was appointed by President McKinley to the position of Comptroller of the Currency. He retired from office in 1901 and turned his attention once again to his private business interest, gaining a reputation as one of the outstanding financial experts in the country.

Commissioned in 1917, Dawes had a distinguished career in the US army during the First World War. He was promoted to the rank of brigadier-general and decorated both by his own country and by Britain, Italy, France, and Belgium.

In 1921 President Harding appointed Dawes to the newly created post of Director of the Budget. This led to his selection as head of the American delegation to the Reparation Commission in 1923, the outcome of which, the ‘Dawes Plan’ made his name famous in international politics and made him a joint winner, with Sir Austen Chamberlain, of the Nobel Prize for Peace, 1925.

Invited by President Coolidge to be his running mate, Dawes was elected Vice-President in 1925 and served until 1929. Having failed to gain the Republican party's nomination for President in 1928, he was appointed by President Hoover to serve as US ambassador to Britain. He held this position until 1932, when he returned to America and the appointment of president of the Reconstruction Finance Corporation.

A solider, banker, politician, and diplomat, Dawes was a cultured and modest man. He refused to accept personal credit for the Dawes Plan, citing instead the contribution made by the British delegates, Lord Stamp and Sir Robert (later Lord)Kindersley. He was the author of numerous books including: Essays and Speeches (1915); A Journal of the Great War (1921); Notes as Vice-President (1935); Journal of Reparations (1939); Journal as Ambassador to Great Britain (1939); A Journal of the Mckinley Years (1950).

Subjects: Politics — Contemporary History (Post 1945).

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