General of the United States, Secretary of State
Richard Olney was born in
on September 15, 1835. He graduated from Brown
University in 1856 and from Harvard Law School in
1858, and began practicing law in Boston in 1859.
In 1874, he served a term in the Massachusetts
House of Representatives.
In 1893, President
Grover Cleveland named
Olney as his Attorney General. In this capacity,
he rose to national prominence during the Pullman Strike
of 1894. Using the guise of the Sherman
Anti-Trust Act, Olney instructed district
attorneys to secure from the federal courts writs
of injunction restraining strikers from acts of
violence. He also advised President Cleveland to
use federal troops to quell disturbances in
Chicago on the grounds that the government must
prevent potential interference with the U.S.
mails and general railway transportation between
the states. These actions ultimately resulted in
the arrest and imprisonment of Eugene V. Debs
and other strike leaders, and to the end of the
In 1895, Olney succeeded W.Q.
Gresham as Secretary of State, upon the death of the latter. In this
capacity, he was very prominent in the boundary
dispute between the British and Venezuelan
governments, during which he pointedly reminded
Britain of America's interests in ending the
controversy as outlined by the infamous Monroe
Olney retired from politics
after the end of Cleveland's term and returned to
the practice of law. He served as a regent of the
Smithsonian Institution from 1900 to 1908. He
died in Boston on April 8, 1917.
Notorious Names Database www.nndb.com/people/070/000102761
Eugene V. Debs
Secretary of State
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