Kellogg, Frank Billings

views updated May 23 2018


Frank Billings Kellogg (18561937) emerged out of poverty and hardship to achieve a career as U.S. Secretary of State and a recipient of the Nobel Prize for Peace in 1929. Though Kellogg began his professional life as an awkward legal representative of some of the wealthiest Americans, his political and personal friendship with President Theodore Roosevelt (19011909) led Kellogg to become one of the most formidable and progressive attorneys in the federal government's efforts to break-up industrial monopolies. Kellogg was the first great prosecutor of the Sherman Anti-Trust Act, a federal law that prohibited an exclusive private monopoly or ownership of any single industry.

Kellogg was born in New York. He relocated to Olmsted County, Minnesota, with his family at age eight, part of the typical pioneering experience of his era, moving from the East Coast to the then mysterious West. Kellogg's father took the family to Minnesota to farm, but the endeavor was not prosperous. Kellogg worked on the family farm and managed to obtain six years of formal education, an accomplishment for children of hard-working farming families.

He determinably worked to be become a lawyer and escape the miseries of farm life. Kellogg passed the bar in 1877, and he described his success as "a life line thrown to rescue me from a desperate struggle for a livelihood."

As a young attorney, he took every case that came his way. In 1887, at age 31, Kellogg became a partner in a prestigious law firm in St. Paul, Minnesota, headed by his cousin, Cushman Kellogg Davis. There, Kellogg began a successful career. He took on railroad and iron ore litigation, connected with the exploitation of the great Mesabi mineral range in Minnesota, defending some of the titans of American business, such as John D. Rockefeller, Andrew Carnegie, and the railroad builder James Hill.

During business trips to Washington, D.C., Kellogg met Theodore Roosevelt, then a member of the Civil Service Commission. They became friends, and when Roosevelt became president, Kellogg had an easy entree to the White House. His friendship with Roosevelt led to many court cases in which Kellogg, representing the federal government, fought many of the most formidable industrial figures of his day. Like Roosevelt, Kellogg was alarmed by the sudden increase in corporate mergers, the formation of huge entities that often resulted in near-total monopolies on industries in the United States.

Appointed as Special Assistant Attorney General, Kellogg began fighting the paper trust, known as the General Paper Company, and won. In 1906 he began prosecution of the Union Pacific Railroad, which was eating up its competition at an alarming rate. These government victories led to the greatest single trust case of the era, the prosecution of the Standard Oil Company for violating the Sherman Anti-Trust Act. Kellogg won a Supreme Court interpretation of his case in 1911, which forced Standard Oil to break-up into smaller, competitive companies. This victory inspired newspapers to describe Kellogg as "the trust buster." Though Kellogg was a largely uneducated, nervous, hot-tempered, outspoken, and undiplomatic man, he had become a winner in the eyes of the public through his work at keeping monopolies from dominating American big business.

In 1912, Kellogg was elected president of the American Bar Association. By this time, Kellogg had undergone a conversion in political thinking. He began his career as a Republican conservative, but by 1912 he admonished his fellow lawyers to "stand for modern economic legislation, necessary to the development of the people."

In 1916 Kellogg was elected as a Republican Senator to the U.S. Congress, representing the state of Minnesota. He was, however, defeated in his 1922 bid for re-election.

President Calvin Coolidge (19231929) also liked Kellogg, and saw his usefulness during a prosperous post-war period. In 1925 Coolidge named Kellogg Secretary of State. In this position, Kellogg worked to aid in the reconciliation of German reparation debts to the United States and helped arrange loans to Germany for that country's post-war recovery.

Kellogg's diplomatic successes were modest, and not truly comparable to his important success as a "trust buster" for Theodore Roosevelt, fighting the industrial monopolies of pre-World War I America. Yet, he was also a success as Secretary of State, always striving to convey the spirit of American good will in foreign affairs. In 1929 Kellogg was awarded a Nobel Prize for Peace in honor of his diplomatic success with France, creating the Kellogg-Briand Pact of 1928 in which the signing nations renounced war "as an instrument of national policy," with the hope that it might prevent future war. Frank Billings Kellogg died in 1937.

See also: Sherman Anti-Trust Act


Armentano, Dominick T. Antitrust and Monopoly: Anatomy of a Policy Failure. New York: Holmes & Meier, 1990.

DuBoff, Richard B. Accumulation and Power: An Economic History of the United States. Armonk, N.Y.: M.E. Sharpe, 1989.

Ellis, Lewis E. Frank B. Kellogg and American Foreign Relations, 19251929. New Brunswick, N.J.: Rutgers University Press, 1961.

Ferrell, Robert H. Frank B. Kellogg. New York: Cooper Square, 1983.

McChesney, Fred S., and William F. Shughart II, eds. The Causes and Consequences of Antitrust: The Public Choice Perspective. Chicago: University of Chicago Press, 1995.

Frank Billings Kellogg

views updated May 29 2018

Frank Billings Kellogg

Frank Billings Kellogg (1856-1937) negotiated the Kellogg-Briand Pact, intended to achieve international peace.

Frank B. Kellogg was born in Potsdam, N.Y., on Dec. 22, 1856. In 1867 the family moved to Minnesota, where Kellogg studied law and was admitted to the bar. He became a highly successful lawyer and was called to conduct a trust prosecution for the Federal government against the Standard Oil Company in 1911. His success led to election as president of the American Bar Association in 1912. In 1916 he was elected to the U.S. Senate but was defeated for reelection in 1922. He served as ambassador to Great Britain from 1923 to 1925.

In 1925 Kellogg was appointed secretary of state by President Calvin Coolidge. As secretary, he faced the problem of strained relations with Mexico over legislation against American oil interests, but the appointment of Dwight Morrow as ambassador relieved those tensions. Kellogg also found himself embroiled in Nicaragua, where civil war broke out against the government recognized by the United States. However, the mission of Henry L. Stimson to Nicaragua restored a measure of peace, which led, eventually, to the withdrawal of American troops. Kellogg was less successful in his attempt to bring about a reduction in naval armaments among the Great Powers.

Kellogg regarded his negotiation of the Kellogg-Briand Pact for the maintenance of world peace as his most important State Department work. Taking advantage of a French proposal to conclude a pact binding France and the United States to refrain from war with each other, Kellogg proposed a much more ambitious policy—a general international agreement for the preservation of peace. Signed in August 1928 and ratified by most of the nations of the world, this pact bound the signatory nations not "to resort to war as an instrument of national policy" and to settle all disputes by peaceful means. For this Kellogg received the Nobel Peace Prize in 1929 and was appointed a member of the Permanent Court of International Justice at The Hague, a post he held from 1930 to 1935.

In practice, the pact proved ineffectual in preventing war. It contained no provision for action against an aggressor nation and could not prevent the outbreak of World War II in 1939.

During Kellogg's tenure, the U.S. State Department took steps to allay Latin American worry over the Monroe Doctrine. In 1928 the Clark Memorandum sought to make it clear that the doctrine was not to be considered a justification for United States military intervention in the affairs of Latin America. Kellogg died on Dec. 22, 1937.

Further Reading

Old but still useful is David Bryn-Jones, Frank B. Kellogg (1937).Kellogg's conduct of foreign affairs is examined in Robert H. Ferrell, Peace in Their Time: The Origins of the Kellogg-Briand Pact (1952), and Lewis E. Ellis, Frank B. Kellogg and American Foreign Relations, 1925-1929 (1961). □

Kellogg, Frank Billings

views updated May 29 2018


Frank Billings Kellogg was born December 22, 1856, in Potsdam, New York. He moved to Minnesota at age nine, received an education in law, and was admitted to the bar in 1877. Kellogg subsequently received numerous doctor of laws degrees from various institutions, including McGill University, Montreal, 1913; New York University, 1927; Harvard, 1929; Brown University, 1930; and Occidental University, 1931. He also received two doctor of civil law degrees in 1929, from Trinity College in Connecticut and Oxford University.

After his admission to the bar, Kellogg performed the duties of city and county attorney

for St. Paul, Minnesota, and established a legal practice, specializing in corporation law. His expertise earned him the position of special counsel for the United States, and he participated in the case against the General Paper and Standard Oil trusts (United States v. Standard Oil Co., 212 U.S. 579, 29 S.Ct. 689, 53 L.Ed. 259 [1909]). He served as special counsel of the interstate commerce commission to probe into the speculative dealings concerning the Harriman railroads.

Kellogg began a phase of government and diplomatic service in 1917, when he became U.S. Senator from Minnesota for a six-year term. He followed this with a one-year appointment as minister to Great Britain. From 1925 to 1929, he performed the duties of secretary of state and negotiated treaties.

In 1928, Kellogg achieved international acclaim for his collaboration with Aristide Briand in the formulation of the kellogg-briand pact, which denounced war as a solution to international disagreements. The pact was subsequently ratified by sixty-three nations. In 1929, the Nobel Peace Prize was bestowed upon Kellogg for his contribution to world peace.

"There are only two means of enforcing a treaty. One is by war, the other is by the overpowering strength of public opinion."
—Frank Kellogg

During the latter part of his life, Kellogg acted as judge of the Permanent Court of International Justice. He died December 21, 1937, in St. Paul, Minnesota.


Kellogg-Briand Pact.

About this article

Frank B. Kellogg

All Sources -
Updated Aug 08 2016 About content Print Topic