| Elihu Root |
(Lawyer, Deep Politician)
Clinton, New York
|Died||1937-02-07 (Age 91)|
|Alma mater||Hamilton College, New York University School of Law|
|Relatives|| • Oren Root I|
• Oren Root II
|Spouse||Clara Frances Wales|
|Member of||Corsair Club, Council on Foreign Relations/Historical Members, Phi Beta Kappa, The Pilgrims Society|
Elihu Root was a senior figure in the development of US law, a Nobel Peace Prize winner, and politician.
Root was an important figure in the introduction of the global prohibition of drugs.
The Root Doctrine
The overarching rationale for accepting and sustaining rightwing dictatorships was written by Root in 1922. Root justified support for right-wing dictatorships in Latin America with the argument that the populace in the victim country was incapable of democratic rule. They hadn't learned the knack of it. But no matter: the Italians had undertaken to govern themselves without having learned the knack of it, Root averred, singling Mussolini out for praise as the man of the hour, under whose dictatorship Italy had experienced a revival of prosperity, contentment, and happiness.
He described the "right of selfprotection" in a presidential address to an audience at the American Society of International Law. The former U.S. secretary of state proclaimed the sovereign right of a state to take early action to "prevent a condition of affairs in which it will be too late to protect itself."
Washington's support for rightwing dictators during the Cold War was a continuation, an elongation and an intensification of this policy, which placed the fear of communism, socialism, and the spread of disorder as the centerpiece of its formulation. The Cold War demanded new and expanded tactics, approaches, and procedures, but the ideological basis and fundamental assumptions remained remarkably consistent.
It seems reasonable to presume that the Root Doctrine has been operational throughout United States history, both long before its articulation and to this very day. Prior to the Spanish American War, the United States carried out 103 interventions; between the end of that war and the Great Depression, it sent troops to Latin America 32 times. In any case, the Root Doctrine would soon become bipartisan, and it was touted as being more cost-effective than invasions.