Wood sought to modernize the U.S. Army. As chief of staff (1910–14), he worked to break the authority of the War Department bureau system, to reform the General Staff, and to reorganize the field army. He also encouraged the formation of the Army League, a supportive group of business, foreign policy, and education elites. After war broke out in Europe in 1914, Wood became, with former President Theodore Roosevelt, one of the chief architects of the “Preparedness” movement, advocating compulsory, short‐term military training for all able‐bodied young men, as well as reserve officer training to prepare a mass reserve army. Wood's highly visible role in the controversial Republican‐led campaign to drum up popular support for military preparedness did little to endear him to Democratic President Woodrow Wilson. Established as a partisan figure, the army's senior general spent the period of U.S. involvement training recruits in Kansas.
Resentment at having been denied command in France during World War I pushed Wood further into politics. Afterward, he claimed Roosevelt's mantle as leader of the Republican Party's progressive wing, yet also ran a “law and order” campaign for the presidential nomination in 1920 while on active duty. The convention chose Senator Warren Harding, who after election sent Wood to the Philippines as governor general, a position that he held until his death from a brain tumor.
Wood's restless energy and monumental ambition made him an innovator who adapted the progressive spirit of the age to military affairs. He was also a maverick, ruthlessly attacking anything that thwarted his ambitions, and exempting himself from traditional strictures excluding professional soldiers from politics.
[See also Army, U.S.: 1900–41; Philippine War.]
Andrew J. Bacevich
Leonard Woods, 1774–1854, American Congregational theologian, b. Princeton, Mass. He was prominent in upholding orthodox Calvinistic views in the controversy over Unitarianism as presented by William Ellery Channing, Henry Ware, and others. He was professor of theology at Andover Theological Seminary (1808–46) and published (1885) a history of that institution. Among his works are A Reply to Dr. Ware's Letter to Trinitarians and Calvinists (1821) and Remarks on Dr. Ware's Answer (1822).