House, Edward Mandell

House, Edward Mandell, 1858–1938, American political figure, adviser to President Wilson, b. Houston. Active in Texas politics, he was (1882–92) campaign manager and adviser to Gov. James Hogg and his successors. He was known as “Colonel” House because of a Texas state office he held. He met Woodrow Wilson in 1911 and helped him secure (1912) the Democratic presidential nomination. After Wilson's election House became the President's closest adviser. He often served as the President's liaison with members of the administration and important men in the country. Greatly interested in foreign affairs, he was sent to Europe in 1914 in an attempt to prevent the outbreak of war and again in 1915 to propose a peace conference. After U.S. entry into World War I, he was U.S. representative at the conference for coordinating Allied activities. House also gathered data for the peace conference, was American delegate to negotiate the armistice, and was a member of the U.S. peace commission. He helped to draft the Treaty of Versailles and the Covenant of the League of Nations. More conciliatory and realistic than Wilson at the peace conference, his friendship with Wilson ended in 1919 because of conflict on the conduct of the negotiations. House and Charles Seymour edited the documentary What Really Happened at Paris (1921). Some of his papers, selected and edited by Seymour as The Intimate Papers of Colonel House (2 vol., 1926–28), are a valuable historical source.

See A. D. H. Smith, The Real Colonel House (1918) and Mr. House of Texas (1940); A. MacPhail, Three Persons (1929); A. L. George and J. George, Woodrow Wilson and Colonel House (1956, repr. 1964).

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