Josephus Daniels


Public life

Occupation 1

Sec'y of the Navy


North Carolina


NA/South & Gulf region


Age of Steam and Steel (1866-1920)








Publisher, secretary of the navy, and ambassador�

Daniels� support[ed]� Woodrow Wilson for president in 1912 and as a reward was named secretary of the navy in 1913. Assistant Secretary Franklin D. Roosevelt complemented Daniels's disarming country bumpkin appearance with skilled administrative abilities that made them a highly successful team. Daniels sought to reform the navy in the interests of the common man. He instituted a number of personnel reforms, such as requiring sea service for promotion, instituting compulsory schooling for poorly educated sailors, and improving the quality of the U.S. Naval Academy.

Among Daniels's other reforms were insisting that 100 sailors be admitted to the naval academy each year and setting up training schools for them. He fought the seniority system and signed an unpopular order in 1914 that banned beer, wine, and liquor aboard navy ships. Although he was the last of Wilson's cabinet ministers to vote to go to war in 1917, he became a leader in the fight against the enemy. He is given credit for engineering the "Bridge of Ships" in World War I, by which approximately 2 million doughboys sailed to Europe without the loss of a single life, despite the ever-present menace of enemy submarines. After the war he supported the League of Nations and never forgave the Republicans who blocked U.S. participation. He felt the obstructionist tactic contributed to World War II�

Related Images

Date: 1920
Image Id: 421

Record ID: 394