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HaroldIckes - Blake Allen History 305 Namorato November 5...

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Blake Allen History 305 Namorato November 5, 2007 Harold Ickes Harold Ickes was the Secretary of the Interior for thirteen years, serving from 1933 to 1946 and served as the chairman of the Public Works Administration under President Franklin Roosevelt. He was also a strong player in several parts of President Franklin D. Roosevelt’s “New Deal.” Harold LeClair Ickes was born on March 15, 1874 to Martha Ann McCune Ickes and Jesse B. W. Ickes. 1 He was born in Frankstown Township, Pennsylvania and was the first son but the second of seven children. 2 Ickes was raised Presbyterian by his mother and “was taught to believe that Presbyterianism was the quickest and the only sure way to grace.” 3 After his mother Martha’s death in 1890 her sister Ada Wheeler took Harold and his sister Mary in and the two of them relocated to Chicago, he was sixteen at the time. 4 Ickes Aunt Ada was the person who kept Ickes education on track, “Had it not been for his Aunt Ada, who was one of those members of the family who loved books and who swore by education, our young gadfly might have abandoned his schooling then and there.” 5 He attended the University of 1 Jeanne Nienaber Clarke, Roosevelt’s Warrior, (Baltimore, The Johns Hopkins University Press, 1996), 4. 2 Linda J. Lear, Harold L. Ickes The Aggressive Progressive 1874-1933, (New York, Garland Publishing, Inc., 1981), 1. 3 Harold L. Ickes, The Autobiography of a Curmudgeon, (New York, Cornwall Press, 1943), 8. 4 Lear, 1-4. 5 Ickes, 14-15.
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Chicago graduating with a B.A. in 1897 and also earned a law degree from the University of Chicago in 1907. Harold Ickes got his Republican believes from both sides of his family but his mother was the most influential on him as a child growing up in rural America. He thought of his mother as, “a good, hard-working, long-suffering woman: as a practicing Christian, she was concerned about poverty and suffering, about issues of justice and fairness.” 6 Her influence may have later had an effect on which candidates for election he would choose to support, “he supported candidates who had little chance of success but believed in a cause and whose candidacy opposed the prevailing power system and the intrusion of business influence in government.” 7 Harold Ickes grew up in an interesting time in American history and it would later influence his political goals and views, “Overall Harold Ickes grew up in an era of optimism tempered by the recognition that gross inequities existed in society, that poverty was too present in the midst of plenty, that outdated barriers to opportunity stifled many talented people, and that utter profligacy was common in the use of the nation’s wealth and resources.” 8 In his early years he was a news reporter first for The Chicago Record and then The Chicago Tribune. Ickes also helped certain Republican candidates, such as John Harlan, with their political campaigns in Chicago, but was never part of any political machine and believed them to be corrupt. These early campaigns taught Ickes how municipal politics worked.
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