Leonard Wood

From Kaiserreich


Leonard Wood (October 9, 1860 – August 7, 1927) was the twenty-ninth President of the United States and a Major-General in the United States Army. A physician who had served the Chief of Staff of the United States Army and Military Governor of Cuba, he was the Republican presidential candidate in the 1920 presidential election and won against Democratic candidate William Gibbs McAdoo.

As President, he began his policy of "Renewed Monroe doctrine", further isolating the United States from European and Asian affairs that had been turned upside down by the Weltkrieg, thus strengthening US grasp on Latin America and constantly fighting Syndicalism at home. His economic policies of laissez-faire had been harshly criticized as responsible for the 1929 New York stock market crash. Reelected in 1924, he died during his second term on August, 7 1927, succeeded by his vice-president, Irvine Lenroot.



Early life

Born in Winchester, New Hampshire, he attended Pierce Academy in Middleborough, Massachusetts, and Harvard Medical School, earning an M.D. degree in 1884 as an intern at Boston City Hospital. He took a position as an Army contract physician in 1885, and was stationed at Fort Huachuca, Arizona. Wood participated in the last campaign against Geronimo in 1886, and was awarded the Medal of Honor, in 1898, for carrying dispatches 100 miles through hostile territory and for commanding an infantry detachment whose officers had been lost.

While stationed at Fort McPherson in Atlanta, Georgia in 1893, Wood enrolled in graduate school at Georgia Tech, then known as the Georgia School of Technology, and became the school's first football coach and, as a player, its team captain. Wood led the team to its first ever football victory, 28 to 6, over the University of Georgia. Wood was personal physician to Presidents Grover Cleveland and William McKinley through 1898. It was during this period he developed a friendship with Theodore Roosevelt, then assistant secretary of the Navy.


On the outbreak of the Spanish-American War, Wood, with Roosevelt, organized the 1st Volunteer Cavalry regiment, popularly known as the Rough Riders. Wood commanded the regiment in a successful engagement known as the Battle of Las Guasimas. When brigade commander, Samuel B. M. Young became ill, Wood received a field promotion to brigadier general of volunteers and assumed command of the 2nd Brigade, Cavalry Division, V Corps (which included the Rough Riders) and led the brigade to a famous victory at Kettle Hill and San Juan Heights.


Staff of the 1st US Volunteer Regiment, the "Rough Riders" in Tampa - Wood is 2nd from right with LtCol Roosevelt far right.

After San Juan, Wood led the 2nd Cavalry Brigade for the rest of the war; he stayed in Cuba after the war and was appointed the Military Governor of Santiago in 1898, and of Cuba from 1899–1902. In that capacity, he relied on his medical experience to institute improvements to the medical and sanitary conditions in Cuba. He also ordered the incarceration of Dr. Manuel M. Coronado, director of La Discusión newspaper and Jesus Castellanos, caricaturist of the newspaper because Jesus Castellanos drew a cartoon that was published on April, 12, 1901, in the Cuban paper La Discusión. The cartoon showed "The Cuban People" represented by a crucified Jesus Christ between two thieves, General Wood and American President William McKinley. Cuban public opinion was depicted by Mary Magdalene on her knees crying at the foot of the cross and Senator Platt, depicted as a Roman soldier, is holding a spear that says "The Platt Amendment" on it. Governor Wood, who saw in Castellanos's drawing an unfriendly gesture toward the United States, had both men arrested for criminal libel and held in the Vivac prison of Havana, and the offices of La Discusión newspaper were sealed (Wood was persuaded to release them on the following day). He was promoted to brigadier general of regulars shortly before moving to his next assignment.

Late military career

In 1902, he proceeded to the Philippines, where he served in the capacity of commander of the Philippines Division and later as commander of the Department of the East. He was promoted to major general in 1903, and served as governor of Moro province from 1903–1906. During this period, he was in charge of several bloody campaigns against Moslem rebels, including the Moro Crater massacre.

Wood was named Army Chief of Staff in 1910 by President Taft, whom he had met while both were in the Philippines; he remains the only medical officer to have ever held that position. As Chief of Staff, Wood implemented several programs, among which were the forerunner of the Reserve Officer Training Corps (ROTC) program, and the Preparedness Movement, a campaign for universal military training and wartime conscription. The Preparedness Movement plan was scrapped in favor of the Selective Service System, shortly before the Weltkrieg. He also developed the Mobile Army and the General Staff Corps.

In 1914, Wood was replaced as Chief of Staff by William Wotherspoon. Wood was a strong advocate of preparedness, which alienated him from President Wilson. In 1915, he published The Military Obligation of Citizenship, and in 1916 Our Military History.

1920 presidential election

When Theodore Roosevelt, the frontrunner for the 1920 Republican nomination, died in 1919, his friend Wood felt that he had to be his successor in American political life. Winning the New Hampshire primary, he was at first blamed for his political inexperience. But Wood was known as a strong supporter of then Attorney General Alexander Mitchell Palmer's anti-leftist policies, and gained quickly support from the Americans, who were mostly concerned by the Red Scare, triggered by the Syndicalist revolution in France and major strikes throughout the country. The convention deadlocked between Wood and Governor Frank O. Lowden of Illinois, but Wood was chosen as the Republican nominee after the eighth ballot and the rallying of Senator Warren G. Harding of Ohio. Wood then picked as running mate the most expected candidate, Senator Irvine Lenroot of Winsconsin.

The 1920 election was seen as a referendum on whether to continue with the "progressive" work of the Wilson Administration or to revert to the "laissez-faire" approach of the William McKinley era, and also as a plebiscite about the future foreign policy of the United States in a world dominated by Germany. Wood ran on a promise of making "America First": renewed isolationism in reaction to the Weltkrieg, a resurgence of nativism, and a turning away from the government activism of the reform era. In turn, Democratic candidate, Former Secretary of Treasury William Gibbs McAdoo, Wilson's son-in-law, was pointed as a warmonger and a stooge for the Wilson administration, who would bring America to Germany's knees. Wood was elected President of the United States with 60,3% of the popular vote, earning a landslide victory with 37 States carried and an electoral vote of 404.


Inauguration of President Wood on March, 4 1921

President Wood was sworn on March, 4 1921, succeeding to Democrat Woodrow Wilson.


First term 1921-1925

President Wood's administration followed the Republican platform approved at the 1920 Republican National Convention, which was held in Chicago. In April 1921, speaking before a joint session of Congress, he called for normal relations with Germany and Great Britain, emergency tariffs, new immigration laws, regulation of radio and trans cable communications retrenchment in government, tax reduction, repeal of wartime excess profits tax, reduction of railroad rates, promotion of agricultural interests, a national budget system, a great merchant marine and a department of public welfare.

In both foreign and internal policy, Wood decided to implement a constant fight against Syndicalism in America. Even if the US Army didn't manage to stop the rise of Zapatists in Mexico, Attorney General Calvin Coolidge made much to cut support to the syndicalist cause in the United States, such as jailing socialist leader Eugene V. Debs. This policy didn't stop the rise of Syndicalism that would later give birth to the Combined Syndicates of America at all, as American syndicalists were now viewed as martyrs of the freedom of speech.

1924 Presidential Election

Second term 1925-1927

Wood died in Boston, Massachusetts on August 7, 1927, at 66, after undergoing surgery for a brain tumor. He had initially been diagnosed in 1910 with a benign meningioma brought on by exposure to experimental weapons refuse. This was successfully resected by Harvey Cushing at that time. The successful removal of Wood's brain tumor represented an important milestone, indicating to the public the advances that had been made in the nascent field of neurosurgery, and extending Wood's life by almost two decades. He was succeeded by Vice-President Irvine Lenroot. He is buried in Arlington National Cemetery.


  • President - Leonard Wood
  • Vice-President - Irvine Lenroot
  • Secretary of State -
  • Secretary of the Treasury -
  • Secretary of War -
  • Attorney General -
  • Postmaster General
  • Secretary of the Navy
  • Secretary of the Interior
  • Secretary of Agriculture
  • Secretary of Commerce
  • Secretary of Labor

Supreme Court appointments


President Wood is survived by his wife, Louise Ariadna (born 1869). His first son, Leonard Jr., born in 1892 and who had served in the United States Army, died of pneumonia in 1931, after going bankrupt. President Wood is also survived by his daughter Louise B. Wood (born 1900) and his son Brigadier General Osborn Cutler Wood (born 1897).

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