Josephus Daniels

Josephus Daniels

Infobox US Cabinet official
name=Josephus Daniels

title=United States Secretary of the Navy
term_start=March 5, 1913
term_end=March 4, 1921
predecessor=George von L. Meyer
successor=Edwin Denby
birth_date=birth date|1862|5|18|mf=y
birth_place=Washington, North Carolina, U.S.
death_date=death date and age|1948|01|15|1862|05|18
death_place=Raleigh, North Carolina, U.S.
spouse=Addie Worth Bagley Daniels
profession=Politician, Publisher

Josephus Daniels (May 18, 1862 – January 15, 1948) was an American politician and newspaper publisher from North Carolina, who served as Secretary of the Navy during World War I.

Early life and career

A native of Washington, North Carolina, Daniels moved with his mother and two siblings to Wilson, North Carolina after his father was accidentally killed by Confederate troops during the Civil War. [Kenneth Joel Zogry. "Josephus, Jonathan, and Frank Daniels." in "The Tar Heel Century". 2002. p. 302.] He was educated at Wilson Collegiate Institute. He edited and eventually purchased a local newspaper, the "Wilson Advance". Within a few years, he became part owner of the "Kinston Free Press" and the "Rocky Mount Reporter". [Kenneth Joel Zogry. "Josephus, Jonathan, and Frank Daniels." in "The Tar Heel Century". 2002. p. 302.] He studied law at the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill and was admitted to the bar in 1885, but he did not practice law. After becoming increasingly involved in the North Carolina Democratic Party and taking over the weekly paper "Daily State Chronicle", he was North Carolina's state printer in 1887-93 and chief clerk of the Federal Department of the Interior under Grover Cleveland in 1893-95.

In 1888, Daniels married Addie Worth Bagley, the granddaughter of former Governor Jonathan Worth.

News and Observer

In 1894, Daniels acquired a controlling interest in the Raleigh "News & Observer", which led him to leave his federal office. The paper was unabashed in its advocacy for the Democratic Party, which at the time was struggling against a fusion of the Republicans and Populists. [Kenneth Joel Zogry. "Josephus, Jonathan, and Frank Daniels." in "The Tar Heel Century". 2002. p. 303.]

Daniels and other Democrats launched a "White Supremacy" campaign to appeal to racist sentiment. That led to Democratic victories in 1898 and 1900 and to the disfranchisement of African Americans. On December 15, 2005, the [ 1898 Wilmington Race Riot Commission] noted in its [ draft report] that Daniels' involvement in the overthrow of the elected city government of Wilmington, NC, by actively promoting white supremacy in "The News and Observer" was so significant that he has been referred to as the "precipitator of the riot."

ecretary of the Navy

He supported Woodrow Wilson in the 1912 presidential election, and after Wilson's victory was appointed as Secretary of the Navy. He held the post from 1913 to 1921, throughout the Wilson administration, overseeing the Navy during World War I. Future U.S. President Franklin D. Roosevelt served as his Assistant Secretary of the Navy. In 1921 he resumed the editorship of the "Raleigh News and Observer".

Secretary Daniels believed in government ownership of armorplate factories, and of telephones and telegraphs. At the end of the First World War he made a serious attempt to have the Navy control all radio transmitters in the United States. If he had succeed amateur radio would have ended, and it is likely that radio broadcasting would have been substantially delayed.

Daniels banned alcohol from United States Navy ships in [ General Order 99] of 1 June 1914. This led to the folk etymology that "" (referring to a cup of coffee) derives from Daniels' name. In 1917 Daniels ordered the closure of the Storyville District in New Orleans. [ [ An Old House in the Quarter: ] ] Daniels wrote "The Navy and the Nation" (1919).

During World War One, Daniels created the Naval Consulting Board to encourage inventions that would be helpful to the Navy. Daniels asked Thomas Edison to chair the Board. Daniels was worried that the US was unprepared for the new conditions of warfare and needed new technology. [L. N. Scott, "Naval Consulting Board of the United States" (Washington, 1920), 286.]

The Navy named USS "Josephus Daniels" (DLG/CG-27) for the Secretary. It was in commission from 1965 to 1994. One of the recruit barracks at the Navy's Recruit Training Center in Great Lakes, Illinois is also named for him.

Later life

Daniels strongly supported Franklin Roosevelt for president in 1932. Roosevelt then appointed his former boss and long time friend United States Ambassador to Mexico as part of his Good Neighbor Policy. Upon Daniels' arrival, a group of Mexicans stoned the American Embassy. Although the American naval bombardment in April 1914 of the Mexican Naval Academy at Veracruz was blamed on then Secretary of the Navy Daniels, he had disagreed with the act and only proceeded when ordered to by Wilson. After accepting the appointment as Ambassador in order to try and heal the rift the invasion had created between the two nations, his speeches and policies while serving as Ambassador to Mexico did greatly improve U. S. - Mexican relations. He praised a proposed Mexican plan for universal popular education and, in a speech to U. S. consular officials, advised them to refrain from interfering too much in the affairs of other nations. Daniels also favored the Loyalist cause in the Spanish Civil War, realizing that a collapse of the Spanish government would have dire affects on Mexico. In 1941, when his son Jonathan was named a special assistant to FDR, Josephus resigned his post in Mexico to return to North Carolina and resume the editor's post at the News & Observer and continued his outspoken editorial style.

Daniels had married Addie Worth Bagley on May 2, 1888, and the Daniels family grew to include four sons: Josephus, Worth Bagley, Jonathan Worth, and Frank A. III. After Addie Daniels died in 1943, the S.S. Addie Daniels was commissioned in her honor in 1944.

Daniels published several recollections of his years in public office. The Navy and the Nation, a collection of Daniels' war addresses as Secretary of the Navy, was published in 1919; Our Navy at War followed in 1922; the Life of Woodrow Wilson was published in 1924; and The Wilson Era in 1944.

Josephus Daniels died on January 15, 1948. During the course of his life, Daniels operated several newspapers, culminating with the News & Observer, which is still in operation today. He served in public office with a strong belief in improving conditions for labor and the working class. The story of Daniels' life closely mirrors that of North Carolina during the same time period. From the catastrophe of Civil War to national prominence, Daniels was a prime example of the strengths and weaknesses that marked the progress of his state. From the continuing presence of the News & Observer to the public middle school in Raleigh which bears his name, the influence of Josephus Daniels continues to be felt.In 1941, he retired to Raleigh due to his wife's poor health. After completing a five-volume autobiography in which he expressed regret over the vicious attacks (but not the overall righteousness) of the White Supremacy campaign, he died in Raleigh in 1948 at the age of eighty-five. Daniels divided his shares of the News and Observer among all his children, one of whom, Jonathan Worth Daniels, became editor. [Kenneth Joel Zogry. "Josephus, Jonathan, and Frank Daniels." in "The Tar Heel Century". 2002. p. 304.] Eight years after he died, the new Daniels Middle School was named after him.

Daniels Hall on North Carolina State University main campus is also named after him [ Daniels Hall ] at



Daniels, Josephus. "Editor in Politics". Chapel Hill: The University of North Carolina Press, 1941.

External links

* [ "Josephus Daniels" from the "North Carolina Encyclopedia", The State Library of North Carolina]
*gutenberg author|id=Josephus+Daniels|name=Josephus Daniels
* [ North Carolina Election of 1898]
* [ Josephus Daniels] at Find A Grave

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Look at other dictionaries:

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  • Josephus Daniels House — Infobox nrhp | name =Josephus Daniels House nrhp type =nhl caption = location= 1520 Caswell St., Raleigh, North Carolina lat degrees = 35 lat minutes = 47 lat seconds = 56.65 lat direction = N long degrees = 78 long minutes = 38 long seconds = 50 …   Wikipedia

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