Marshall, Thomas R. (Thomas Riley), 1854-1925

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Thomas Riley Marshall (March 14, 1854 – June 1, 1925) was an American politician who served as the 28th vice president of the United States from 1913 to 1921 under President Woodrow Wilson. A prominent lawyer in Indiana, he became an active and well known member of the Democratic Party by stumping across the state for other candidates and organizing party rallies that later helped him win election as the 27th governor of Indiana. In office, he proposed controversial changes to the Constitution of Indiana; the state courts blocked his attempts.

Marshall's popularity as Indiana governor, and the state's status as a critical swing state, helped him secure the Democratic vice presidential nomination on a ticket with Wilson in 1912 and win the subsequent general election. An ideological rift developed between the two men during their first term, leading Wilson to limit Marshall's influence in the administration, and his brand of humor caused Wilson to move Marshall's office away from the White House. During Marshall's second term he delivered morale-boosting speeches across the nation during World War I and became the first U.S. vice president to hold cabinet meetings, which he did while Wilson was in Europe. As he was president of the United States Senate, a small number of anti-war Senators kept it deadlocked by refusing to end debate. To enable critical wartime legislation to be passed, Marshall had the body adopt its first procedural rule allowing filibusters to be ended by a two-thirds majority vote—a variation of this rule remains in effect.

Marshall's vice presidency is most remembered for a leadership crisis following a stroke that incapacitated Wilson in October 1919. Because of their personal dislike for Marshall, Wilson's advisers and wife Edith sought to keep him uninformed about the president's condition to prevent him from assuming presidential powers and duties. Many people, including cabinet officials and Congressional leaders, urged Marshall to become acting president, but he refused to forcibly assume Wilson's powers and duties to avoid setting a precedent. Without strong leadership in the executive branch, the administration's opponents defeated the ratification of the League of Nations treaty and effectively returned the United States to an isolationist foreign policy. Marshall is also the only known Vice President of the United States to have been exclusively targeted in an assassination attempt while in office. Marshall was the first Vice President since Daniel D. Tompkins, nearly a century earlier, to serve two full terms.

Marshall was known for his wit and sense of humor; one of his most enduring jokes, which provoked widespread laughter from his colleagues, came during a Senate debate. Responding to Senator Joseph Bristow's catalog of the nation's needs, Marshall quipped that, "What this country needs is a really good five-cent cigar." After his terms as vice president, he opened an Indianapolis law practice, where he authored several legal books and his memoir, Recollections. He continued to travel and speak publicly. Marshall died while on a trip after suffering a heart attack in 1925.

Archival Resources
Role Title Holding Repository
referencedIn Humphrey, William E. (William Ewart), 1862-1934. William E. Humphrey papers, 1903-1936. Library of Congress
creatorOf Marshall, Thomas R. (Thomas Riley), 1854-1925. Typed letter signed Thos R. Marshall to: "My Dear Sir" January 11, 1924. Wellesley College
referencedIn Stuart, James Arthur, 1880-1975. Papers, 1907-1965. Indiana Historical Society Library
referencedIn William Carl Buchanan Collection, 1820-1912 East Carolina University, Joyner Library
referencedIn Swanson, Claude Augustus, 1862-1939. Letter : U.S. Senate, to Willard Saulsbury, 1926 December 3. University of Virginia. Library
referencedIn Thomas Watt Gregory papers, 1896-1933, (bulk 1919-1933) Library of Congress. Manuscript Division
referencedIn Fairbanks mss., 1819-1939 Lilly Library (Indiana University, Bloomington)
referencedIn Records of the National Park Service, 1785 - 2006. National Register of Historic Places and National Historic Landmarks Program Records, 2013 - 2017 National Archives Library, National Archives Records Administration
referencedIn Wilson, Woodrow, 1856-1924. Woodrow Wilson collection, 1625-1976 (bulk 1883-1924) Princeton University Library
creatorOf Marshall, Thomas R. (Thomas Riley), 1854-1925. Letter of Thomas R. Marshall, 1913. Library of Congress
referencedIn Ludlow mss., 1898-1948 Lilly Library (Indiana University, Bloomington)
referencedIn Lansing, Robert, 1864-1928. Robert Lansing papers, 1831-1935 (bulk 1914-1920). Library of Congress
referencedIn Robert Lansing Papers, 1831-1935, (bulk 1914-1920) Library of Congress. Manuscript Division
referencedIn Records of Early Select Committees, 1789 - 1921 United States. National Archives and Records Administration
referencedIn New York Times Company records. Arthur Hays Sulzberger papers, 1823-1999 New York Public Library. Manuscripts and Archives Division
creatorOf Marshall, Thomas R. (Thomas Riley), 1854-1925. Correspondence with Edgar Fahs Smith, 1911-1928. University of Pennsylvania Libraries, Van Pelt Library
referencedIn Brenneman, Franklin R. Franklin R. Brenneman photographs and letters [graphic], 1903-1922. Alaska State Library
referencedIn John J. Carton Papers, 1883-1921 Bentley Historica Library University of Michigan
referencedIn Frederick M. Dearborn collection of military and political Americana, Part I: The Revolution and the Administration, 1669-1958. Houghton Library
referencedIn Swanson, Claude Augustus, 1862-1939. Letter to Willard Saulsbury [manuscript], 1926 December 3. University of Virginia. Library
referencedIn William E. Humphrey Papers, 1903-1936 Library of Congress. Manuscript Division
creatorOf Stearnes, R. C. (Reaumur Coleman), 1866-1945. Papers of Reamur Coleman Stearnes [manuscript] 1830, 1890-1940, 1942. University of Virginia. Library
referencedIn Stuart, James Arthur, 1880-1975. Papers, 1907-1965. Indiana Historical Society Library
referencedIn Thayer, William Roscoe, 1859-1923. Papers, 1762-1927 (bulk 1872-1921) Houghton Library
referencedIn Records of District Courts of the United States, 1685 - 2009. Certificates of Electors of the Electoral College for Massachusetts, 1840 - 1964 National Archives at Boston
referencedIn George Sterling papers, 1909-1942 (bulk 1920-1926). Stanford University. Department of Special Collections and University Archives
referencedIn Records of the Office of Counsel to the President (Reagan Administration). 1/20/1981 - 1/20/1989. John Roberts' Subject Files, 1982 - 1986 Ronald Reagan Library
referencedIn Gregory, Thomas Watt, 1861-1933. Thomas Watt Gregory papers, 1896-1933 (bulk 1919-1933). Library of Congress
creatorOf Kirkpatrick, Orion E. (Orion Ephraim), b. 1863. Papers, 1920-1936. Idaho State Archives, Idaho State Historical Society
referencedIn General Records of the United States Government, 1778 - 2006. Enrolled Acts and Resolutions of Congress, 1789 - 2013. National Archives Library, National Archives Records Administration
referencedIn Autograph File, M, 1648-1985. Houghton Library
referencedIn Deam, Charles Clemon, 1865-1953. [Papers], 1896-1952. Indiana State Library - ISL
referencedIn History of Indiana University, 1968-1981 Indiana University, Bloomington. Center for the Study of History and Memory
Role Title Holding Repository
Relation Name
associatedWith Brenneman, Franklin R. person
associatedWith Buchanan, William Carl. person
associatedWith Carton, John J. (John Jay), 1856-1934 person
associatedWith Deam, Charles Clemon, 1865-1953. person
associatedWith Dearborn, Frederick M. (Frederick Myers), b. 1876 person
associatedWith Fairbanks, Charles W. (Charles Warren), 1852-1918 person
correspondedWith Gregory, Thomas Watt, 1861-1933. person
associatedWith Huhlein, Charles F., d. 1938. person
correspondedWith Humphrey, William E. (William Ewart), 1862-1934. person
associatedWith Indiana University Center for the Study of History and Memory corporateBody
associatedWith Kirkpatrick, Orion E. (Orion Ephraim), b. 1863. person
correspondedWith Lansing, Robert, 1864-1928. person
associatedWith Ludlow, Louis, 1873-1950 person
associatedWith New York Times Company corporateBody
associatedWith Stearnes, R. C. (Reaumur Coleman), 1866-1945. person
correspondedWith Stuart, James Arthur, 1880-1975. person
associatedWith Swanson, Claude Augustus, 1862-1939. person
correspondedWith Thayer, William Roscoe, 1859-1923 person
alumnusOrAlumnaOf Wabash College corporateBody
associatedWith Wilson, Woodrow, 1856-1924. person
Place Name Admin Code Country
Fort Wayne IN US
Pierceton IN US
Quincy IL US
North Manchester IN US
Osawatomie KS US
District of Columbia DC US
Indianapolis IN US
Subject
Occupation
Governors--Indiana
Lawyers
Authors
Vice Presidents--United States
Activity

Person

Birth 1854-03-14

Death 1925-06-01

Male

Americans

English

Information

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