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Winthrop Moore Daniels (September 30, 1867 - January 3, 1944) was an American government official and university professor. A friend and onetime assistant of then-Professor Woodrow Wilson, President Wilson appointed Daniels, then a member of the New Jersey Public Utilities Board to the Interstate Commerce Commission in 1914, and stood by him through a bitter confirmation battle in the Senate. He was a longime professor at Princeton Universitymarker, where he was an assistant to Wilson before becoming a fellow professor, and at Yale Universitymarker.

Daniels was born in Dayton, Ohiomarker on September 30, 1867. He gained his undergraduate degree from Princeton, before studying abroad in Leipzig. He served on the Princeton faculty from 1892 to 1911, when he left to become a member of the Public Utilities Board. He survived a bruising confirmation battle in the Senate when Wilson appointed him to the I.C.C., and served on that body until 1923.

After his government service, Daniels served as a professor of transportation at Yale from 1923 until 1940, when he became professor emeritus. He served in appointive capacities, such as railroad trusteeships. He died in Saybrook Point, Connecticut on January 3, 1944.

Early life

Winthrop M. Daniels was born in Dayton, Ohio, the son of Edwin and Mary Daniels. He attended Princeton University where he secured his bachelor's degree in 1888 and his master's degree two years later. He studied in Leipzig and taught for a year as an instructor at Wesleyan Universitymarker from 1891-92.

New Jersey; Princeton and the PSC

In 1892, Daniels was appointed as Assistant Professor of Political Economy, and three years later became a full professor, a post he kept until he entered government service in 1911. He married Joan Robertson in 1898; the two would have a son and a daughter. A friend of Wilson's, Daniels joined with Wilson in training the Princeton debaters for their championship matches against Harvardmarker and Yale.

On May 1, 1911, Daniels became a member of the Public Utilities Commission, replacing Frank H. Sommer of Newark. While on the Commission, Daniels authored a rate case opinion involving the Passaic Gas Company, in which he added intangible value for goodwill to the physical value of the corporation. This was controversial, since regulated companies' rates were a percentage of their valuation.

Interstate Commerce Commission

On November 21, 1913, Interstate Commerce Commissioner John H. Marble died after an attack of acute indigestion. The death of Marble, who had been appointed to fulfill the unexpired term of Franklin Knight Lane after Lane was appointed Interior Secretary, together with the resignation of Charles A. Prouty left Wilson with two seats to fill. He chose Daniels and Coloradan Henry C. Hall.

While Hall had no difficulty being confirmed, because of the Passaic rate case, Daniels' nomination was bitterly opposed by progressives in the Senate led by Robert La Follette and New Jersey Senator James Edgar Martine. Wilson refused to withdraw the nominations, stating that he would be personally responsible for Daniels' success as a ICC member. After a three-day battle, the Senate confirmed Daniels, with La Follette himself voting for confirmation. Daniels' confirmation, by a vote of 36 to 27 on April 3, 1914, came after some Democrats who had been inclined to oppose Daniels voted in favor rather than offend President Wilson by rejecting a personal friend of the President. The nomination had been believed to be in serious danger, with the Democrats "in despair" fearing a rejection by the Senate.

Wilson's renomination of Daniels in December 1916 set off a second bruising fight in the Senate, with the progressive wing of the Republican party opposing the nomination due to their belief that Daniels was a reactionary. Nonetheless, Daniels was reconfirmed for a full seven year term on January 10, 1917, 42 to 15.

Later life

In early 1923, nearly a year before the scheduled end of his term, Daniels resigned Instead, Daniels became a professor of transportation at Yale University, where he served until 1940; becoming professor emeritus on his retirement. He died January 3, 1944 in Saybrook Point, Connecticutmarker.


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