Olney, Richard (West's Encyclopedia of American Law)
In the late nineteenth century, the Massachusetts-born attorney Richard Olney exerted a powerful influence over domestic and international affairs. From 1893 to 1895, Olney served as U.S. attorney general under President GROVER CLEVELAND and, from 1895 to 1897, as SECRETARY OF STATE. A nationalist with a forceful personality who took a broad view of federal power, Olney is remembered for two important actions during his public career that had long-lasting implications for U.S. law. First, as attorney general, he used the office in 1894 to break a strike by railway workers that hampered the delivery of mail nationwide. The outcome affected the rights of workers for more than a quarter of a century, thrust Olney into the national spotlight, and earned him the enmity of LABOR UNIONS. Second, after becoming secretary of state, he resolved a conflict between Venezuela and England that shaped U.S. foreign policy well into the twentieth century.
Born in Oxford, Massachusetts, on September 15, 1835, Olney was educated at Brown University and Harvard Law School. Admitted to the Boston bar in 1859, he established a successful law practice and earned recognition for his work with railroads. A brief political career followed with his election to the Massachusetts state legislature, where he served one term between 1873 and 1874. In 1893 he was appointed...
(The entire section is 797 words.)
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