Thomas R. Marshall

Thomas R. Marshall

Infobox Vice_President | name=Thomas Riley Marshall

order=28th Vice President of the United States
term_start=March 4, 1913
term_end=March 4, 1921
predecessor=James S. Sherman
successor=Calvin Coolidge
order2 = 27th Governor of Indiana
term_start2 = January 11, 1909
term_end2 = January 13, 1913
lieutenant2 = Frank J. Hall
predecessor2 = Frank Hanly
successor2 = Samuel M. Ralston
birth_date=birth date|mf=yes|1854|3|14|mf=y
birth_place=North Manchester, Indiana
death_date=death date and age|mf=yes|1925|6|1|1854|3|14
death_place=Washington, D.C.
spouse=Lois Irene Kimsey Marshall
alma_mater=Wabash College
president=Woodrow Wilson

Thomas Riley Marshall (March 14, 1854ndash June 1, 1925) was an American politician who served as the twenty-eighth Vice President of the United States of America under Woodrow Wilson from 1913 to 1921.

Early life

Marshall was born in North Manchester, Indiana, where he frequently spent time listening to lawyers. Marshall studied law at Wabash College. He was admitted to the bar in 1875 and began his career as a lawyer in Columbia City, Indiana.

He served as Governor of Indiana from 1909 to 1913. He was a popular speaker and active in local Democratic Party politics, but was regarded only as a competent small-town lawyer when he was given the nomination as a compromise dark horse candidate. During his term he saw a child labor law and some anti-corruption legislation passed but was not successful in passing much of his progressive platform through the state legislature or in raising a convention to rewrite the state constitution. He was a strong opponent of Indiana's recently-passed sterilization laws, ordering state institutions not to follow them. He was one of the earliest and most prominent opponents of such laws, and he carried his opposition into the Vice-Presidency. Also during his Governorship no execution took place in Indiana [] , due to his opposition to the capital punishment [ [ Indiana's Five ] ] .

Vice Presidency

At the 1912 Democratic convention in Baltimore, Marshall's name was put in as Indiana's choice for President. For a time it looked as if Marshall might actually end up as a compromise nominee, but ultimately William Jennings Bryan agreed to endorse Woodrow Wilson; Indiana's delegates successfully lobbied to have Marshall named the vice presidential candidate. He was elected on the Wilson ticket in 1912, was reelected in 1916 and served as Vice President until 1921. It is said that Marshall initially turned down the nomination, assuming the job would be boring. Marshall is currently the last governor to serve two full terms as Vice President.

Marshall was not particularly fond of Wilson. Though Wilson invited Marshall to cabinet meetings, Marshall's ideas were rarely considered. In 1913 Wilson took the then unheard-of step of meeting personally with members of the Senate in the Capitol building. Before this, Presidents had made a habit of using the Vice President (who serves as President of the Senate) as a go-between with the Senate; Wilson took advantage of the opportunity to show that he had no intention of trusting Marshall with delicate business. Since that time, presidents have rarely relied on their vice presidents in dealing with the Senate, with the notable strong exception of George W. Bush and Dick Cheney. [ Ben Pershing, "Cheney Still a Player: On Hill, His Role Is Undiminished", Dec. 14, 2005] ]

As Marshall made little news and was viewed as something of a comic foil in Washington, a number of Democratic party insiders wanted him dumped from the 1916 ticket. Wilson, after deliberating, ultimately decided that it would demonstrate party unity if he kept Marshall on; thus in 1916 Marshall became the first Vice President re-elected since John C. Calhoun in 1828 and Wilson and Marshall became the first President and Vice President team to be re-elected since Monroe and Tompkins in 1820. It was also the first presidential election ever in which the incumbent vice president won all the states won by the incumbent president, something that has since become the norm when a president seeks reelection.

During his second term, Marshall saw the United States enter World War I. Wilson sent him out on the road, speaking across the country to encourage Americans to buy war bonds and support the war effort. This was a job to which Marshall was well suited; he had been earning extra money as a public speaker while Vice President. Also in his second term Marshall became the first Vice President to conduct cabinet meetings; Wilson left him with this responsibility while traveling in Europe to sign the Versailles treaty and push his League of Nations idea.

After suffering a more mild one the previous month, on October 2, 1919, President Woodrow Wilson suffered a severe stroke that left him partially paralyzed and almost certainly incapacitated. Though Marshall was advised that the President had suffered an infirmity and despite the requests of many to do so, Marshall did not attempt to become the first Acting President of the United States. The process for declaring a President incapacitated was at that time unclear, and Marshall was fearful of the precedent that might be set in establishing one. While Marshall would perform ceremonial functions for the remainder of Wilson's term, with First Lady Edith Wilson performing most of the routine duties and details of government, he would not have opportunity to meet with Wilson to ascertain his condition until their final day in office.

Later life

Marshall returned to Indianapolis after his term as Vice President and resumed his law practice. He also wrote a number of books on the law as well as his "Recollections", a memoir. In 1922-23 he served as chair of the Federal Coal Commission.

Marshall died on a visit to Washington, D.C. in 1925 and is interred in Crown Hill Cemetery, Indianapolis, Indiana. Incidentally, Crown Hill Cemetery also holds the remains of Benjamin Harrison, the 23rd President of the United States and two other United States Vice-Presidents: Charles W. Fairbanks and Thomas A. Hendricks.


Marshall is best known for a phrase he introduced to the American lexicon. During a Senate debate in 1917, a particularly bellicose Senator catalogued what he felt the country needed: "What this country needs is more of this; what this country needs is more of that." Marshall leaned over to a clerk and quipped, "What this country needs is a really good five-cent cigar."

The story may be apocryphal, but Marshall was known for having a quick wit. Upon his election as vice president, Marshall sent President-elect Woodrow Wilson a book, inscribed "From your only Vice." He was known to greet citizens walking by his office on the White House tour by asking them to "be kind enough to throw peanuts at me." Upon hearing of his nomination as Vice President (he was not present at the convention), Marshall quipped that he was not surprised, as "Indiana is the mother of Vice Presidents, home of more second-class men than any other state."

One of his favorite jokes was about a woman with two sons, one of whom ran away and went to sea and one of whom was elected Vice President of the United States. Neither was ever heard of again.

Marshall opted not to seek the presidential nomination in 1920. Instead, the Democratic Party nominated James M. Cox as president and Franklin Delano Roosevelt as vice president; the Republican ticket of Warren G. Harding and Calvin Coolidge won at the ballot boxes that year.


*David J. Bennett: "He Almost Changed the World: The Life And Times Of Thomas Riley Marshall", Freeman & Costello, ISBN 978-1425965624

ee also

*List of Governors of Indiana
*Vice President of United States

External Links

Visit [] for more information.

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