The Life and Accomplishments of Cordell Hull
Cordell Hull was born in Overton County, Tenn. A Tennessee legislator and judge, Democratic national committee chairman, U.S. representative (1907-1931) and senator (1931-1933), he became the longest-termed secretary of state ever under President Franklin Roosevelt (1933-1944). A strong advocate of free trade and of the "Good Neighbor" policy with South America during the 1930s, he early advocated strong support for the Allies, attended most of the great wartime conferences, and promoted international cooperation and the UN, for which he received the Nobel Peace Prize. In his distinguished career in Congress, Hull was a member of the powerful House Ways and Means Committee for eighteen years, the leader of the movement for low tariffs, the author of the first Federal Income Tax Bill (1913), the Revised Act (1916), and the Federal and State Inheritance Tax Law (1916), as well as the drafter of a resolution providing for the convening of a world trade agreement congress at the end of World War I.
He became, in short, a recognized expert in commercial and fiscal policies.
Cordell Hull strongly shared President Wilson's idealistic international outlook, becoming one of the first and most vigorous supporters of the League of Nations. With economic ideas rooted in nineteenth-century liberalism, he believed that economic nationalism was a major cause of war. He opposed Herbert Hoover's high tariff policy. Elected to the Senate in 1930, Hull was an important figure at the 1932 Democratic Convention, authoring major portions of the Democratic platform, including a low-tariff plank. In 1933 he relinquished his Senate seat to become President Franklin D. Roosevelt's Secretary of State, an appointment which surprised many but kept with President Roosevelt's placing of powerful party allies in his cabinet rather than resorting to bureaucratic technicians. As the leader of the...