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Choate, Joseph Hodges (1832-1917)

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Joseph Hodges Choate

Courtesy of the Collections of the New York Genealogical & Biographical Society

This lawyer, who grew up in Salem, Massachusetts, battled Tammany Hall in New York before he became U.S. Ambassador to Great Britain. He settled the Alaska-Canada dispute and negotiated the Open Door Policy in China.

In addition to his service as founder of the American Museum of Natural History, Choate strengthened New York’s Metropolitan Museum of Art, New York Hospital, and the Carnegie Endowment for International Peace.

He was an advocate of laissez-faire economic policy. Some people did not forget that, even during a great U.S. depression, Choate vigorously attacked the income tax as a form of class warfare.