Day, William Rufus

Day, William Rufus, 1849–1923, American statesman and associate justice of the U.S. Supreme Court (1903–22), b. Ravenna, Ohio. Admitted (1872) to the bar, Day practiced law in Ohio and served (1886–90) as judge of the court of common pleas. He became (1897) assistant to the Secretary of State and then (Apr., 1898) Secretary of State in the month when war was declared against Spain. He was successful in converting France and Germany from an attitude of seeming hostility to definite neutrality. Made chairman (Sept., 1898) of the U.S. commission to arrange peace after the Spanish-American War, he insisted upon purchase of the Philippines rather than claiming these islands by right of conquest. The treaty therefore provided for the payment of $20 million. Day became (1899) a judge of the U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals, and in 1903 President Theodore Roosevelt appointed him to the Supreme Court, where he generally voted for the dissolution of trusts and the preservation of states' rights.

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