Thomas Watt Gregory

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Thomas Gregory
Thomas Watt Gregory cph.3b47712.jpg
49th United States Attorney General
In office
August 29, 1914 March 4, 1919
President Woodrow Wilson
Preceded by James C. McReynolds
Succeeded by Mitchell Palmer
Personal details
Thomas Watt Gregory

(1861-11-06)November 6, 1861
Crawfordsville, Mississippi, U.S.
DiedFebruary 26, 1933(1933-02-26) (aged 71)
New York City, New York, U.S.
Political party Democratic
Education Rhodes College (BA)
University of Virginia, Charlottesville
University of Texas, Austin (LLB)

Thomas Watt Gregory (November 6, 1861 February 26, 1933) was a political progressive [1] and American attorney who served as United States Attorney General from 1914 to 1919, during President Woodrow Wilson's administration.

United States Federal republic in North America

The United States of America (USA), commonly known as the United States or America, is a country comprising 50 states, a federal district, five major self-governing territories, and various possessions. At 3.8 million sq mi (9.8 million km2), the United States is the world's third or fourth largest country by total area and is slightly smaller than the entire continent of Europe's 3.93 million sq mi (10.2 million km2). With a population of more than 327 million people, the U.S. is the third most populous country. Most of the country is located contiguously in North America between Canada and Mexico.

United States Attorney General Head of the United States Department of Justice

The United States Attorney General (A.G.) is the chief lawyer of the Federal Government of the United States, head of the United States Department of Justice per 28 U.S.C. § 503, and oversees all governmental legal affairs.

Woodrow Wilson 28th president of the United States

Thomas Woodrow Wilson was an American statesman, lawyer, and academic who served as the 28th president of the United States from 1913 to 1921. A member of the Democratic Party, Wilson served as the president of Princeton University and as the 34th governor of New Jersey before winning the 1912 presidential election. As president, he oversaw the passage of progressive legislative policies unparalleled until the New Deal in 1933. He also led the United States into World War I in 1917, establishing an activist foreign policy known as "Wilsonianism."


Early life

Gregory was born in Crawfordsville, Mississippi. He graduated from the Webb School (Bell Buckle, Tennessee) in 1881, Southwestern Presbyterian University in 1883, and he was a special student at the University of Virginia. Gregory entered the University of Texas at Austin in 1884 and graduated a year later with a degree in law.

Mississippi State of the United States of America

Mississippi is a state located in the southeastern region of the United States. Mississippi is the 32nd largest and 34th-most populous of the 50 United States. Mississippi is bordered to the north by Tennessee, to the east by Alabama, to the south by the Gulf of Mexico, to the southwest by Louisiana, and to the northwest by Arkansas. Mississippi's western boundary is largely defined by the Mississippi River. Jackson is both the state's capital and largest city. Greater Jackson, with an estimated population of 580,166 in 2018, is the most populous metropolitan area in Mississippi and the 95th-most populous in the United States.

The Webb School is a private coeducational college preparatory boarding and day school in Bell Buckle, Tennessee, founded in 1870. It has been called the oldest continuously operating boarding school in the South. Under founder Sawney Webb's leadership, the school produced more Rhodes Scholars than any other secondary school in the United States.

University of Virginia University in Charlottesville, Virginia, United States

The University of Virginia is a public research university in Charlottesville, Virginia. It was founded in 1819 by Declaration of Independence author Thomas Jefferson. It is known for its historic foundations, student-run honor code, and secret societies. UVA is the flagship university of Virginia and home to Jefferson's Academical Village, a UNESCO World Heritage Site.

He began the practice of law in Austin, in 1885. He served as a regent of the University of Texas for eight years. Gregory Gymnasium was named in honor of his efforts to provide an adequate exercise facility for the students and faculty of the University. He declined appointment as assistant attorney general of Texas in 1892 and an appointment to the state bench in 1896 but "gained experience as a trust prosecutor as a special counsel for the state of Texas." [2]

Austin, Texas Capital of Texas

Austin is the capital of the U.S. state of Texas and the seat of Travis County, with portions extending into Hays and Williamson counties. It is the 11th-most populous city in the United States and the 4th-most populous city in Texas. It is also the fastest growing large city in the United States, the second most populous state capital after Phoenix, Arizona, and the southernmost state capital in the contiguous United States. As of the U.S. Census Bureau's July 1, 2018 estimate, Austin had a population of 964,254 up from 790,491 at the 2010 census. The city is the cultural and economic center of the Austin–Round Rock metropolitan statistical area, which had an estimated population of 2,168,316 as of July 1, 2018. Located in Central Texas within the greater Texas Hill Country, it is home to numerous lakes, rivers, and waterways, including Lady Bird Lake and Lake Travis on the Colorado River, Barton Springs, McKinney Falls, and Lake Walter E. Long.

Gregory Gymnasium

Gregory Gymnasium is the 4,000-seat current home of the University of Texas Longhorn women's volleyball team, and former home of the Longhorn basketball and swimming teams. The basketball teams moved out in 1977 to the Erwin Center. It also serves as the home court for the Austin Aces of World Team Tennis.

While embracing the progressive rhetoric of the early 20th century with his condemnations of "plutocratic power," "predatory wealth," and "the greed of the party spoilsmen," Gregory participated in Edward M. House's Democratic coalition.

Edward M. House

Edward Mandell House was an American diplomat, politician, and an adviser to President Woodrow Wilson. He was known by the nickname Colonel House, although he had performed no military service. He was a highly influential back-stage politician in Texas before becoming a key supporter of the presidential bid of Wilson in 1912. Having a self-effacing manner, he did not hold office but was an "executive agent", Wilson's chief advisor on European politics and diplomacy during World War I (1914–18) and at the Paris Peace Conference of 1919. In 1919 Wilson, suffering from a series of small strokes, broke with House and many other top advisors, believing they had deceived him at Paris.

Gregory was a delegate to the Democratic National Convention at St. Louis and at state delegate at-large at the Baltimore convention. He was appointed Special Assistant to the US Attorney General in 1913, in the investigation and proceedings against the New York, New Haven and Hartford Railroad Company.

Democratic National Convention series of presidential nominating conventions held every four years since 1832 by the United States Democratic Party

The Democratic National Convention (DNC) is a series of presidential nominating conventions held every four years since 1832 by the United States Democratic Party. They have been administered by the Democratic National Committee since the 1852 national convention. The primary goal of the Democratic National Convention is to nominate and confirm a candidate for president and vice president, adopt a comprehensive party platform and unify the party. Pledged delegates from all fifty U.S. states and from American dependencies and territories such as Puerto Rico and the Virgin Islands, and superdelegates which are unpledged delegates representing the Democratic establishment, attend the convention and cast their votes to choose the Party's presidential candidate. Like the Republican National Convention, the Democratic National Convention marks the formal end of the primary election period and the start of the general election season.

Attorney General

In 1914, President Woodrow Wilson appointed him Attorney General of the United States, and he held that office until 1919. Despite a continuing commitment to progressive reform, Gregory's performance as attorney general provoked enormous controversy because of his collaboration with Postmaster General Albert S. Burleson and others in orchestrating a campaign to crush domestic dissent during World War I.

Albert S. Burleson American politician

Albert Sidney Burleson was a conservative Democrat and United States Postmaster General and Representative. He is known for gaining cabinet support for instituting racial segregation in the US Post Office, which President Woodrow Wilson applied to other federal agencies.

World War I 1914–1918 global war originating in Europe

World War I, also known as the First World War or the Great War, was a global war originating in Europe that lasted from 28 July 1914 to 11 November 1918. Contemporaneously described as, "the war to end all wars," it led to the mobilisation of more than 70 million military personnel, including 60 million Europeans, making it one of the largest wars in history. It is also one of the deadliest conflicts in history, with an estimated nine million combatants and seven million civilian deaths as a direct result of the war, while resulting genocides and the resulting 1918 influenza pandemic caused another 50 to 100 million deaths worldwide.

Gregory helped frame the Espionage and Sedition Acts, which compromised the constitutional guarantees of freedom of speech and press, and he lobbied for their passage. He encouraged extralegal surveillance by the American Protective League and directed the federal prosecutions of more than 2,000 opponents of the war: "By 1918 the Attorney General was able to declare, 'It is safe to say that never in its history has this country been so thoroughly policed.'" [3]

In 1916, Wilson wanted to appoint Gregory to the US Supreme Court, but the attorney general declined the offer because of his impaired hearing, his eagerness to participate in Wilson's re-election campaign, and his belief that he lacked the necessary temperament to be a judge. Gregory was a member of Wilson's Second Industrial Conference in 1919 and 1920.

During a trip to New York to confer with Franklin Roosevelt, Gregory contracted pneumonia and died. He is buried in Austin.

His portrait was painted in 1917 by the Swiss-born American artist Adolfo Müller-Ury (1862–1947); it hangs in the Department of Justice in Washington, DC.

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  2. "The new Attorney General". The Independent. August 31, 1914. Retrieved July 24, 2012.
  3. Peterson, H. C.; Fite, Gilbert C. (1957). Opponents of War, 1917-1918. Madison, WI: University of Wisconsin Press. p. 20.
Legal offices
Preceded by
James C. McReynolds
U.S. Attorney General
Served under: Woodrow Wilson

Succeeded by
A. Mitchell Palmer