George B. Cortelyou

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George B. Cortelyou

George Bruce Cortelyou (* 26. July 1862 in New York City ; † 23. October 1940 on Long Iceland , New York ) was an American Republican politician, Trade and Labor Minister , Postmaster General (Postmaster General) and Finance .

Studies and professional career

After school, he first completed a teaching degree at Westfield State College , which he finished in 1882 with a Bachelor of Arts (BA) . This was followed by a law degree at Georgetown University and George Washington University . After completing his studies, he initially worked as a teacher.

In 1891 he joined the US Postal Inspection Service and was first secretary to the Chief Postal Inspector of New York for a year . In 1892 he was appointed secretary of the 4th Deputy Postmaster General in Washington .

Political career

Secretary to Presidents McKinley and Roosevelt

In 1895, at the suggestion of Postmaster General Wilson S. Bissell, he became office manager and stenographer for then US President Grover Cleveland .

After the end of Cleveland's tenure in 1897, this in turn recommended him to his successor, William McKinley, as Deputy Secretary. In 1900 he became the President's personal secretary. When McKinley was assassinated on September 6, 1901, the injuries of which he succumbed eight days later, Cortelyou was immediately present and was even assigned by the President to convey the news of the assassination to First Lady Ida McKinley .

Under McKinley's successor as president, the previous Vice-President Theodore Roosevelt , he also became his personal secretary. However, he was far more than just a personal secretary, but rather one of the President's closest and most important advisers. So Roosevelt commissioned him to work out a more professional way of working in the White House . In particular, it was under his responsibility to regulate the protocol and improve public relations by providing a dedicated workroom for journalists , brief press releases and compiling important press releases for the president.

Trade, Labor and Postal Ministers under President Roosevelt

GB Cortelyou in the study

On February 18, 1903, President Roosevelt appointed him to his cabinet as the first Minister of Commerce and Labor . He held this office until his replacement by Victor H. Metcalf on June 30, 1904.

Between 1904 and 1907 he was chairman of the Republican National Committee and thereby contributed to the successful re-election of President Roosevelt in 1904 .

On March 6, 1905, he was the successor to Robert J. Wynne himself Post Minister (Postmaster General). He held this office until January 15, 1907. He was succeeded by George von Lengerke Meyer . During his tenure he expanded the local postal network and drastically reduced the deficit of the postal ministry.

Secretary of the Treasury under Roosevelt

Portrait of GB Cortelyou in the Treasury

He then became Treasury Secretary on March 4, 1907, succeeding LM Shaw .

During his tenure there was a serious financial crisis in 1907. Like his predecessor, he was of the opinion that the finance minister's job was to protect the banking system. On the other hand, he had to acknowledge that the Treasury Department was not equipped to maintain economic stability. However, he succeeded in alleviating the financial crisis by setting up large government fund deposits in state banks and buying government bonds. In order to better cope with future crises, Cortelyou advocated a more elastic currency policy and the establishment of a central bank . During his tenure in 1907, the Aldrich Vreeland Act was passed, which provided for the issue of a special currency in times of crisis and the establishment of a National Monetary Commission to establish the central bank.

After the end of President Roosevelt's tenure on March 4, 1909, he moved into the private sector and was most recently President of the Consolidated Gas Company and the New York Gas Company.

During the Second World War , the cargo ship USS Cetus (AK-77) was baptized in his name on November 21, 1942 .

Web links

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