John Davis Long

From The Dreadnought Project
Jump to: navigation, search

John Davis Long (October 27, 1838 – August 28, 1915) served as the thirty-fourth Secretary of the Navy from 1897 through 1902.

Life & Career

Born in Buckfield, Maine to Zadoc Long, he graduated from Harvard University in 1857 and practiced law in Maine and Massachusetts. Long then served as Speaker of the Massachusetts House of Representatives (1876–1879), Lieutenant Governor (1879), Governor (1880–1883) and Congressman from Massachusetts. He was present at the dedication of the Town Hall in Stoughton, Massachusetts on 22 November, 1881.

Appointed 34th Secretary of the Navy by President William McKinley on 5 March, 1897, Long may at first have seemed an odd choice, being a man who "loathed war and avoided military duty in the Civil War".[1] Nevertheless, Long served with vision and efficiency through the next five years, organizing the Navy for the challenges of the Spanish-American War and the expansion that followed, although the "meticulous and pensive" Long was overshadowed by the "[b]rilliant, brash, and pugnacious" Roosevelt.[2] Between the two of them, the groundwork was laid for the growth of the "New American Navy" during Roosevelt's presidency.

In March 1900, Long created the General Board to improve the efficiency of the Navy's administration, although he was careful to guard his own authority by making the General Board a purely advisory body.[3]

Long resigned in 1902, returned to Massachusetts. He died at Hingham, Massachusetts in 1915. The destroyer Long (DD-209) was named for him.

In 1870, Long married Mary Woodward Glover, with whom he had two daughters, Margaret and Helen, before she died in 1882. In 1886 Long married Agnes Pierce; their son, Pierce, was born 29 December, 1887.

See Also


  • Hagan, Kenneth J. (1992). This People's Navy: The Making of American Sea Power. Paperback ed. New York: The Free Press.
  • Kuehn, John T. (2008). Agents of Innovation: The General Board and the Design of the Fleet That Defeated the Japanese Navy. Annapolis: Naval Institute Press.
  • Long, John D. (1903). The New American Navy, Volume 1. New York: The Outlook Company.
  • Long, John D. (1903). The New American Navy, Volume 2. New York: The Outlook Company.


Naval Appointments
Preceded by
Hilary A. Herbert
Secretary of the Navy
6 Mar, 1897 – 30 Apr, 1902
Succeeded by
William H. Moody


  1. Hagan. This People's Navy. p. 209.
  2. Hagan. This People's Navy. p. 209.
  3. Kuehn. Agents of Innovation. pp. 10-11.