Choate, Joseph Hodges

Choate, Joseph Hodges chōt [key], 1832–1917, American lawyer and diplomat, b. Salem, Mass.; nephew of Rufus Choate. After being admitted (1855) to the bar, he moved to New York City. His legal career lasted over 50 years and included many famous cases; his brilliant presentation of cases won him an unrivaled reputation. Choate twice helped to arouse New York City to defeat the Tammany political machine—in 1871, when the Tweed Ring was exposed (see Tweed, William Marcy), and again in 1894. He was president (1894) of the New York state constitutional convention and helped win public approval of the new constitution. In 1899 President William McKinley appointed him ambassador to Great Britain, and he served for six years with distinction, helping to promote Anglo-American friendship. In 1907 he headed the American delegation to the Second Hague Conference.

See his autobiography, Boyhood and Youth (1917); biographies by T. G. Strong (1917) and E. S. Martin (2 vol., 1920).

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