Biography for Bainbridge Colby
Bainbridge Colby was secretary of state during the last year of the administration of Woodrow Wilson. Colby was born in St. Louis, Missouri on December 22, 1869. He graduated from Williams College in 1890. Two years later, after earning his law degree from New York Law School and being admitted to the state bar, he became a successful New York attorney. In 1901, as a Republican, he was elected to one term in the New York Assembly. Ten years later, Colby abandoned the Republican Party, joined the Progressive Party, and supported Theodore Roosevelt's unsuccessful presidential reelection bid. In 1914 and 1916, Colby was an unsuccessful Progressive Party candidate for the Senate. In the presidential campaign of 1916, he actively supported Woodrow Wilson's bid for reelection. During World War I, Colby was commissioner of the U.S. Shipping Board and a member of the Emergency Fleet Corporation. In March 1920, President Wilson appointed Colby secretary of state. Colby developed a close relationship with the partially paralyzed president and served as secretary of state until the end of the Wilson administration the following March. Although secretary of state for only one year, he improved relations with Latin America, which had suffered due to Wilson's ordered invasions of Mexico. Colby also handled issues relating to League of Nations mandates. Following World War I, the victorious member nations of the league (the mandatories) took over the governing of those colonies (the mandates) that had been ruled by Germany and the Ottomans, losers in the war. Colby also participated in the difficult task of developing an official U.S. policy toward the newly established Soviet Union and its Communist rulers. At the end of his term in March 1921, Colby briefly established a law partnership with the still seriously ill Wilson. He then returned to New York City to practice law and write. Colby died on April 11, 1950.