|Born||15 Mar 1874|
|Died||3 Feb 1952|
Contributor: C. Peter Chen
Harold LeClair Ickes was born on a farm outside of Hollidaysburg, Pennsylvania, United States. He graduated from the University of Chicago in 1897 and became a reporter for the Chicago Record and then the Chicago Tribune. In 1907, he received a law degree from the University of Chicago, but chose to enter politics instead of becoming an attorney. In 1933, he transformed from a local politician to a national one when Franklin Roosevelt broke party lines and chose him as a member of his cabinet. He became Roosevelt's Secretary of the Interior but he also took on many other roles. He was best known for his ability to separate his responsibilities and politics, therefore becoming one of Roosevelt's most effective implementers of the New Deal.
During WW2, Ickes was a strong voice criticizing the mistreatment of Japanese-Americans in the United States. In Oct 1944, Douglas MacArthur returned to the Philippines and re-established the Filipino government under Sergio Osmeña without consulting Ickes. As Secretary of the Interior, Ickes believed that the Philippines, which was an American possession at the time, fell under his jurisdiction. MacArthur accused Ickes of attempting to interject on policies in an area of the world that he was unacquainted with, while Ickes argued that it was his responsibility to ensure Filipino leaders such as Manuel Roxas who collaborated with the Japanese during the war did not remain in power. To settle the dispute, Roosevelt stepped in and eventually sided with MacArthur. Believing MacArthur had overstepped into his turf, this event became a sore between the relationship of the two men for the rest of their lives.
After Roosevelt's death, Ickes remained in Harry Truman's cabinet, but he resigned in Feb 1946 after ethical disagreements with Truman, in which Ickes thought he was expected to commit perjury in order to benefit the political party. He left the legacy of being the Secretary of Interior longer than any other head of that department.
Sources: Reminiscences, Wikipedia.
Harold Ickes Timeline
|15 Mar 1874||Harold Ickes was born.|
|3 Feb 1952||Harold Ickes passed away.|
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