Skip to comments.John Hay: The Most Important Person You Have Never Heard Of
Posted on 03/20/2023 10:48:45 AM PDT by SunkenCiv
John Hay was President Lincoln's personal secretary, a position that began nearly five decades of public service. A diplomat who served multiple Administrations from Lincoln to Roosevelt, he was a central figure in defining the U.S. foreign policy that would be the basis of the United States role on the world stage in the twentieth century.
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John Hay: The Most Important Person You Have Never Heard Of
The History Guy: History Deserves to Be Remembered
1.17M subscribers | 647,403 views | July 1, 2020
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Transcript 0:00 · [Music] 0:09 · the latter half of the 19th century was 0:12 · a dynamic time in world and u.s. 0:13 · politics and for the United States it 0:15 · marked that shift from always looking 0:17 · inward to starting to play a much more 0:19 · robust role on the international stage 0:21 · and that would set the stage for the 0:23 · role that the u.s. played in the 0:24 · monumental events of the 20th century 0:27 · and one person played an outsized role 0:30 · in the development of that new character 0:33 · in his 50-year career of public service 0:35 · he perhaps defined the national 0:37 · character more than any single US 0:40 · president and you've probably never 0:43 · heard his name John Hay was Abraham 0:46 · Lincoln's personal secretary he was a 0:47 · poet he was a diplomat he was the string 0:51 · that tied together the u.s. 0:52 · administration's from the Civil War to 0:54 · the 20th century and he is quite 0:57 · possibly the most important person you 1:00 · never heard of and his history deserves 1:03 · to be remembered John Milton hay was 1:07 · born in Salem Indiana in 1838 when he 1:10 · was three his family moved to Warsaw 1:11 · Illinois in 18-49 he went to live with 1:14 · his uncle Milton hay in Pittsfield to 1:16 · attend a better school Milton was a 1:18 · friend of fellow illinoisians lawyer 1:20 · Abraham Lincoln and had done some of his 1:22 · law training at Lincoln's firm he 1:24 · attended Brown University where he 1:26 · became an excellent student and writer 1:27 · when he graduated with a Master of Arts 1:29 · in 1858 he was named class poet John 1:33 · returned to Illinois to clerk at his 1:34 · uncle's law firm in Springfield located 1:36 · nearby Lincoln's own firm the young John 1:38 · Hay was not interested in politics but 1:40 · after Lincoln became the nominee became 1:42 · an ardent supporter he had years earlier 1:44 · first befriended the older John Nicolay 1:46 · who worked as Lincoln's campaign 1:48 · secretary when Nick Lake found that he 1:50 · could not do all the work he enlisted 1:52 · hey we worked full time for the Lincoln 1:54 · campaign for six months when Lincoln was 1:57 · elected Nicolay encouraged him to retain 1:59 · his services and both of them followed 2:01 · Lincoln to Washington as his secretary 2:03 · they shared a single bedroom in the 2:05 · White House Lincoln worked long hours 2:07 · sometimes 14-hour days and so did his 2:09 · secretaries they combined the role of 2:11 · chief of staff press secretary and 2:13 · gatekeeper to the president office 2:16 · seekers swarmed the White House so much 2:17 · so that hey once remarked the number of 2:20 · people in the United States 2:21 · who find it impossible to earn an honest 2:23 · living must be appalling Nicolay was 2:26 · known for his ill-tempered and called 2:28 · the Bulldog in the White House but hey 2:30 · was friendly a great conversationalist 2:31 · and often smiling one observer described 2:34 · hey is a nice young fellow who 2:35 · unfortunately looks about 17 and is 2:37 · oppressed by the necessity of behaving 2:39 · like 70 he became a close friend of 2:42 · Lincoln's 17 year old son Robert one 2:45 · historian described hey is Lincoln's 2:46 · propagandists and he often wrote the 2:48 · nonnamous articles and supported the 2:49 · administration's views or spun bad news 2:51 · after the Union loss in the Battle of 2:53 · first Manassas in July 1861 he was in 2:56 · Washington to watch crowds of soldiers 2:58 · some without anything but their soiled 3:00 · and dirty uniforms reached to Washington 3:01 · but in the papers he said it was only a 3:04 · victory of vastly superior numbers over 3:06 · a few cementary regiments and that there 3:08 · is nothing in this but the lives lost 3:09 · and the lives which must be lost to make 3:12 · it good Willie Lincoln died in early 3:14 · 1862 and Abraham's grief was enormous he 3:17 · found some solace in his young secretary 3:18 · Hey thinking of him if not a surrogate 3:20 · son then the young man who stirred a 3:22 · higher form of parental nurturing in the 3:24 · president contemporaries agreed with one 3:27 · saying that Lincoln loved him as a son 3:28 · Lincoln was close with his secretaries 3:30 · and he spent every minute with one or 3:31 · both he visited them and told stories 3:34 · when he was up at night and what little 3:35 · levity could enter the White House often 3:37 · came from Hey telling jokes and 3:38 · Lincoln's booming laugh hey and Nicolay 3:41 · were with Lincoln when he gave the 3:42 · Gettysburg Address Lincoln Cent hey all 3:44 · over the country during the war on 3:46 · missions for himself from the military 3:47 · by the end of the war he was a brevet 3:49 · colonel 3:50 · once Lincoln was safely reelected in the 3:52 · war seemed likely to end soon hey and 3:54 · Nicolay petitioned the president for new 3:56 · jobs 3:56 · Nicolay wished to marry and hey to find 3:59 · new experiences Mary Lincoln also sought 4:01 · their I'll stir as they often bump heads 4:03 · the secretaries called her the Hellcat 4:05 · Lincoln appointed them both to the US 4:07 · delegation to France he was at the White 4:10 · House with Robert when Abraham and Mary 4:12 · went to Ford's Theatre on April 14th 4:14 · 1865 they hurried to aside after he was 4:17 · shot and remain there all night until he 4:19 · died they said that a look of 4:22 · unspeakable peace came across his worn 4:24 · features at the moment of death 4:26 · he took the loss very hard in an 1866 4:29 · letter he said that Lincoln was the 4:30 · greatest character since Christ he would 4:33 · stood much of the rest of his life 4:34 · warning the man who had put him on a 4:36 · course for the rest of his life for a 4:38 · few years hey served in diplomatic teams 4:40 · in Europe in France Vienna with light 4:42 · workloads that allowed him to travel in 4:44 · 1871 he served in Spain under President 4:46 · Grant 4:47 · yes began working with Horace Greeley's 4:49 · New York Tribune than the largest 4:51 · circulating paper in the country Ralph 4:53 · Waldo Emerson joked that gravely did all 4:55 · his readers thinking in theory for them 4:56 · for two dollars a year he began by 4:59 · writing editorials and Greely Stern 5:01 · pronounced him the best he'd ever hired 5:02 · he reported on the Great Chicago Fire 5:05 · and interviewed mrs. O'Leary whose cows 5:07 · supposedly kicked the layout that 5:08 · spilled the kerosene that fired the 5:09 · straw that burned Chicago simultaneously 5:12 · he was gaining fame as a poet was 5:14 · published eleven times in 1871 became 5:17 · famous is a literary realist writing 5:19 · down to earth poetry when he mimicked 5:20 · the peculiar dialect of his childhood 5:22 · home Pike County Illinois one of his 5:25 · most popular was called Jim blood so 5:27 · we've got a steamboat engineer with two 5:29 · wives who weren't no saint but who 5:31 · sacrificed his life fighting fire in the 5:33 · boiler room to save the lives of the 5:34 · boat's passengers he weren't no saint 5:37 · but a judgement I'd run my chance with 5:38 · Jim alongside of some pious and 5:40 · gentlemen that when the shook hands with 5:42 · him he seen his duty a dead sure thing 5:44 · and he went for it there and then and 5:46 · Christ in a gonna be too hard on a man 5:49 · that died for men though he was known as 5:53 · an immense favorite of the ladies he 5:54 · remained a bachelor until he met Clara 5:56 · stone in 1872 5:57 · the daughter of a wealthy railroad 5:59 · magnate from Ohio it was love at first 6:01 · sight I had been struck down he wrote 6:03 · there's only one and one is enough 6:06 · her father Amasa stone had begun as a 6:09 · railroad engineer and amassed a fortune 6:10 · eventually becoming a board member of 6:12 · Western Union in Standard Oil 6:14 · he proposed to her in 1873 and they 6:16 · married in February of 1874 thanks to a 6:19 · Massa he became a rich man running his 6:21 · father-in-law's 6:22 · investments which were so safe they 6:24 · require no care a mess have built a 6:26 · lavish home and hay was soon worth three 6:28 · million dollars over sixty million 6:29 · dollars in two thousand twenty dollars 6:30 · the couple had four children two boys 6:33 · and two girls the girls remembered him 6:35 · as a tender-hearted father who spoiled 6:37 · them shamefully when a mess had 6:39 · committed suicide fog a train accident 6:40 · was blamed on his company hay became 6:43 · even wealthier helping to run the 6:45 · companies helped to make hay anti-labor 6:46 · and Amasa was in Europe 6:48 · where 6:48 · he dealt with a great strike of 1877 he 6:51 · was frustrated that the lower classes 6:53 · and wrote that the country is at the 6:54 · mercy of the mob he wrote his only novel 6:56 · in response the breadwinners in which he 6:59 · lambasted organized labor 7:00 · perhaps wisely he chose to publish it 7:02 · anonymously he reinterred politics in 7:05 · 1879 when President Hayes appointed him 7:07 · Assistant Secretary of State he 7:08 · supported James Garfield in the election 7:10 · of 1880 and advised the president and 7:12 · friend on appointments upon election but 7:15 · did not join the administration he 7:17 · grieved for her a second president when 7:18 · Garfield was shot and died in 1881 his 7:22 · family spent several months of every 7:23 · year in Europe and built two new homes 7:25 · and a Norma's mansion in Washington and 7:27 · a more modest cottage in New Hampshire 7:29 · that he called the fells in Washington 7:32 · they joined historian Henry Adams 7:33 · grandson of President John Quincy Adams 7:35 · Adams wife clover and Fame geologist 7:37 · Clarence King to form a tight knit Club 7:39 · they called the five of hearts 7:41 · unfortunately clover committed suicide 7:43 · in 1885 it was during this time that he 7:47 · and John Nicolay began writing the ten 7:48 · volume Abraham Lincoln a history using 7:51 · papers Robert Lincoln held their primary 7:54 · goal was to reveal the real Lincoln his 7:55 · former acquaintances like Lincoln's law 7:57 · partner William Herndon were making a 7:59 · living selling their own versions and 8:00 · Lincoln's reputation still hung in the 8:02 · balance 8:02 · the two secretaries rep more than 1.2 8:04 · million words about the former president 8:06 · his time over the next 15 years it began 8:08 · publishing in 1890 at first a chapter at 8:11 · the time and cereal form and century 8:12 · magazine but eventually as a 10 volume 8:14 · work they were accused of aggressive 8:17 · northern ISM but it came at a time when 8:19 · southern apologists were engaging in 8:20 · what hay and nickel a believed to be 8:22 · revisionist history the work would 8:25 · become the basis of the image of Lincoln 8:26 · we know today the great orator the sage 8:28 · father figure and the master of a team 8:30 · of rivals hay was an early supporter of 8:33 · William McKinley for first Speaker of 8:34 · the House in 1889 and then his nominee 8:36 · for president in 1896 he had been among 8:39 · the first to send money when McKinley 8:40 · was nearly bankrupted in the 1893 panic 8:43 · and he helped her on the nomination 8:44 · campaign as early as 1894 he admired 8:47 · McKinley who he called awfully like 8:49 · Lincoln in many respects hay donated so 8:52 · much to McKinley's campaign that Henry 8:53 · Adams later wondered I would give 8:55 · sixpence to know how much he paid for 8:56 · McKinley 8:57 · his politics must have cost for his 9:00 · services McKinley appointed Heyman 9:02 · to England he was well-liked in the 9:04 · capital in Queen Victoria called him the 9:06 · most interesting of all ambassadors I 9:08 · have known when John Sherman left his 9:10 · position as Secretary of State 9:11 · McKinley happily invited hate to take 9:12 · his place the US had just won the 9:14 · spanish-american war quickly and easily 9:16 · and what was left was to dismantle 9:18 · Spain's Empire as Secretary Hague 9:20 · completed treaties that gave us control 9:22 · over the Philippines Guam and Puerto 9:24 · Rico NASA came to an agreement with 9:26 · England and Germany to secure American 9:28 · Samoa he also supported a China free of 9:30 · colonialism and submitted the open door 9:32 · note in September 1899 which demanded 9:35 · unhindered trade for all the Pacific 9:37 · nation the open door policy protected 9:40 · trade but also Chinese sovereignty 9:41 · looking for a middle path that kept 9:43 · Jennifer been controlled by any single 9:45 · European power the Chinese weren't 9:47 · accommodating anti-foreign sentiment was 9:49 · rife especially with the fists of 9:51 · righteous harmony or the boxers the 9:54 · Boxer Rebellion grew quickly and soon 9:55 · missionaries had been killed in the 9:57 · foreign legations besieged when the 9:59 · multinational relief force was sent a 10:00 · feared that Europe had decided to 10:02 · conquer the country he worked with the 10:04 · Chinese Minister in Washington to help 10:05 · establish a resolution to the conflict 10:07 · in which China lost no territory to 10:09 · Europe Theodore Roosevelt replaced 10:12 · McKinley's dead vice president for the 10:13 · 1900 election which they won handily but 10:16 · the new century would bring tragedy for 10:18 · John Hay first in 1901 his oldest son 10:21 · Albert accidentally fell from a six 10:23 · floor window in Connecticut and died it 10:25 · hit a hard and collapsed when he reached 10:27 · New Haven simply overwhelmed hay was at 10:30 · the fells in September when he learned 10:31 · that McKinley had been shot at the 10:32 · Chicago World's Fair doctors thought 10:34 · they had saved the president was surgery 10:36 · so he went to Washington to manage the 10:37 · government McKinley's condition quickly 10:39 · became grave in the early hours of 10:41 · September 14th hay was alone in 10:43 · Washington weeping while he waited the 10:45 · inevitable news it was hey who telegram 10:48 · the news of the president's death the 10:49 · Vice President Roosevelt who is 10:51 · traveling in the dead of night out of 10:52 · the Adirondacks he visited John Nicolay 10:55 · on his deathbed only a few days later 10:57 · and left that meeting stricken with 10:59 · grief in December clans king died 11:01 · leaving only three and the five of 11:03 · hearts what a strange and tragic fate it 11:06 · has been of mine he said to stand by the 11:09 · bier of three of my dearest friends 11:11 · Lincoln Garfield and McKinley three of 11:15 · the gentlest 11:16 · of men all risen to be head of state and 11:18 · all done to death by assassins Roosevelt 11:23 · insisted that McKinley's cabinet stay on 11:25 · especially the venerated hey and so he 11:27 · did he negotiated a treaty that within 11:30 · disagreements over Alaska's southernmost 11:31 · borders and worked on finally securing 11:33 · American rights to what became the 11:34 · Panama Canal for years the preferred 11:37 · right had been through Nicaragua but 11:38 · Roosevelt said his eyes instead on 11:40 · Panama in part of Colombia first 11:42 · negotiations with the British failed and 11:44 · then when he negotiated with Colombia 11:45 · the Foreign Congress rejected it hey and 11:48 · Roosevelt decided that they had played 11:49 · nice long enough he predicted an 11:51 · insurrection on the Isthmus of Panama 11:52 · against the regime of folly and graft of 11:55 · Bogota a production that came true with 11:57 · the help of Panamanian agent in 11:59 · Washington and the islands presence of 12:01 · US ships off the Panamanian coast 12:02 · America had its canal he never overcame 12:06 · his grief for the loss of his son three 12:08 · years after his death he wrote the death 12:10 · of our boy made my wife and me old at 12:12 · once and for the rest of our lives 12:14 · result insisted hey stay on for a second 12:16 · term but the ailing he went to Europe on 12:18 · leave hoping to restore his health he 12:21 · went with his wife and Henry Adams and 12:22 · visited medicinal baths a little of his 12:25 · humor remained as he wrote to a friend 12:26 · that there is nothing the matter with me 12:28 · except old age the Senate and one or two 12:31 · other mortal maladies he visited 12:33 · Washington once more in June before 12:35 · leaving for the fells where he died on 12:37 · July 1st John Hay would be considered to 12:39 · be important he would deserve to be 12:41 · remembered merely for the role that he 12:43 · played in the historical understanding 12:44 · of the humanity of Abraham Lincoln one 12:47 · historian said that Americans today 12:49 · understand Lincoln in much the way that 12:50 · Nicolay and hay hoped that they would 12:52 · but it's difficult to overstate the role 12:55 · that he played in u.s. foreign policy 12:57 · his actions weren't always without 12:59 · controversy but he brought about more 13:01 · than 50 treaties in one of the most 13:04 · important times in US diplomatic history 13:06 · he played an outsized role in the 13:09 · development of US policy towards Asia 13:11 · and in the redevelopment of our special 13:13 · relationship with the United Kingdom and 13:15 · those would be defining factors in the 13:17 · role that the u.s. would play in the 13:19 · defining events of the 20th century and 13:22 · yet his name is nearly forgotten he once 13:25 · said that when he died I shall not be 13:26 · much missed except for by my wife he 13:29 · died at just the 13:30 · of 66 and yet he had outlived so many of 13:32 · his friends and in his 50-year career in 13:35 · public service he impacted both 13:38 · presidents and policy with the great 13:41 · personalities of Abraham Lincoln and 13:43 · Theodore Roosevelt John Hay was an arrow 13:47 · that ran through both I hope you enjoyed 13:51 · this episode of the history guy short 13:53 · snippets a forgotten history between 10 13:54 · and 15 minutes long and if you did enjoy 13:56 · please go ahead and click that thumbs up 13:57 · button if you have any questions or 13:59 · comments or suggestions for future 14:01 · episodes please write those in the 14:02 · comment section I will be happy to 14:03 · personally respond be sure to follow the 14:05 · history guy on Facebook Instagram 14:07 · Twitter and check out our merchandise on 14:09 · T spring comm and if you'd like more 14:11 · episodes on forgotten history all you 14:13 · need to do is subscribe 14:17 · [Music]
Looks like its turning into Modern History Week (used to be a.k.a. Thoroughly Modern Miscellany) here at GGG.
Hay! What’s happening!?!?!..............
Ironically, he sometimes wore a straw hat.
Okay, I’m out.
Then he was making Hay while the sun shines..................
Worst joke in history (but clean at least, and best of all, has less than 1% to do with this topic).
This is a few miles from me.
Thanks, I was wondering if there were one. I'm building a sort of itinerary for a driving vacation this year or next.
Among the sometimes amusing typos in YT's generated transcript, "a Norma's mansion" should be "enormous mansion".
I most certainly have heard of him. He crafted the Open Door Policy toward China to prevent it from being carved up by colonial powers and negotiated a series of treaties that cleared the way for us to build the Panama Canal.
The worst joke I ever heard was about the Foo Bird. I’ll not repeat it here. Yours is bad enough, thank you.
That one would be off-limits here due to the punchline. :^)
I heard the Foo Bird before the Shelly joke.
And just before the Foo Bird, I heard the one about the rabbi walking down the mountain...
The first switcheroo pun joke I heard was the one about the golden dragon, the princess, and the castle. :^)
Rabbi? Mountain? I’ll find it.
Any luck? Here’s a different version:
One summer a group of migrant Trid farmers and their families were working the pea fields for the Jolly Green Giant. Every morning the Trids would report to the Jolly Green Giant for work. Standing orders were for them to line up at the farm entrance to receive their instructions for the day. The Jolly Green Giant would let know which fields they were to work in that day, whether they would be weeding, or watering or harvesting, etc. Then, just before they would be released to go into the fields, he would inspect them. He would walk up and down the line and then walk behind the line. Every time when he walked behind the line, he would kick each Trid as he passed by.
Since the Jolly Green Giant was, well, a giant and since the Trids were, well, just Trids, i.e., little, it hurt when he kicked them. Finally, one of the Trids got fed up and went to see his Rabbi about it. He explained the whole story to the Rabbi and asked him if he could help them.
The Rabbi said, after a few moments thought that he had no idea why the Jolly Green Giant would do that. He offered to go out the next day with the Trids to the farm and see if he could see anything which would make sense of what was going on.
The next day the Trids lined up as usual at the farm entrance to received their instructions and the Rabbi, dressed up in farm hand clothes, lined up in the middle with them. As usual, the Jolly Green Giant would let know which fields they were to work in that day, etc. Then, he inspected them. He walked up and down the line and then walked behind the line. He kicked each Trid as he came to it. However, when he reached the middle of the line, where the Rabbi was standing: he paused, he carefully looked at the Rabbi from both sides, stepped past him and then went on down the line kicking each Trid as he came to it.
The Rabbi was really puzzled. Not knowing what else to do, he went up to the Jolly Green Giant and asked him why he had kicked each of the Trids and why he had skipped him.
The Jolly Green Giant looked at the Rabbi solemnly for a minute or so and then said, sadly, shaking his head:
“Silly, Rabbi; kicks are for Trids.”
Three men were standing before St. Peter at the pearly gates and he said to the first man, "Tell me about the day you died."
The man said, "I came home early and found my wife in bed, with nothing on, and knew she had another man. In a rage I stormed all over the apartment but couldn't find him anywhere. I went out onto the balcony, and saw a man in what looked like my robe, exiting the building. I knew he'd be long gone by the time I ran down the stairs, so I looked around the kitchen for a weapon to throw, then grabbed the refrigerator, carried it to the balcony, and tossed it hard enough that it crushed him! The strain of the act gave me a heart attack, and I died."
St. Peter thought, since it was a crime of passion, he let the man in.
He then asked the next man in line about the day he died. "Well, sir, it was awful," said the second man. "I had stepped out of my building, looking for my newspaper delivery, when I was crushed by a refrigerator!"
"Ah!" said St. Peter. "Tell me about the day you died?", he said to the third man in line.
"Well, I was hiding in this refrigerator ..."
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