Biography of William Rufus Day (1849-1923)

Politician and United States magistrate, born in Ravenna (Ohio) on April 17, 1849 and died in Mackinac Island (Michigan) on July 9, 1923, who served as Secretary of State and justice of the Supreme Court for twenty years.

Son of Luther T. Day, studied law at the University of Michigan, where he graduated in 1870. After being admitted to the bar, he began to practise in Canton (Ohio), and in 1886 he was appointed judge of the State of Ohio in a Court of first instance (Common Pleas). An untimely illness prevented him from further ascending the judicial career, but in 1897 President William McKinleyappointed him Assistant Secretary of State, and at the outbreak of war with Spain in 1898, served as Secretary of State. From this position he managed the neutrality of France and Germany in the conflict, proposed the purchase, rather than the simple seizure, of the Philippine Islands in the amount of $ 20 million, and chaired the Committee to negotiate the Treaty of peace with Spain. During the course of these events, Day emphasized at all times for his opposition to the imperialist policy promoted by McKinley, which finally led him to resign in 1899. Between 1899 and 1903 he was judge of the Court of appeals of the Court sixth, and that last year was appointed judge of the Supreme Court by President Theodore Roosevelt, charge in which replaced George Shiras Jr. From this position he opposed often the policy of Roosevelt, especially in labor matters and federal legislation, but on the other hand voted in favour of the measures the Government antitrust. In 1922 it was replaced by Pierce Butler.