- Wood, Leonard
- (1860–1927)A proconsul in the American Empire created by the Spanish American War, Leonard Wood directed civil and military governments in both Cuba and the Philippines. Wood joined the U.S. Army in 1885 and won the Congressional Medal of Honor for his participation in the final campaign against the Apache Chief Geronimo. At the start of the Spanish-American War, Wood and Theodore Roosevelt formed the First United States Volunteer Cavalry, popularly known as the Rough Riders. After the war, General Wood remained as governor of Santiago Province and eventually became military governor of Cuba.Tasked with setting Cuba on the road to independence, Wood rebuilt the infrastructure; battled sanitation problems, disease, and hunger; and reorganized the Latin government along Anglo-Saxon lines. In close association with Secretary of War Elihu Root, Wood held local and national elections and supervised the organization and subsequent work of the Cuban Constitutional Convention. He played a leading role in securing Cuban acceptance of the Platt Amendment and in getting the United States to negotiate the Cuban Reciprocity Treaty. After the inauguration of the new Cuban government, President Roosevelt sent Wood to extend direct American control over the Muslim inhabitants of the Philippines. Wood, determined to make the American presence felt, worked to abrogate the existing Bates Agreement and coerce the Moros into respecting American laws, including an end to slavery and piracy. To punish noncompliant Moros, Wood launched the Moro Punitive Expeditions. After his service in the Moro Province, Wood became head of the Philippine Division and eventually chief-of-staff of the U.S. Army. In 1920, Wood unsuccessfully ran as a candidate for the Republican nomination for president. He returned to the Philippines as governor-general in 1921 and served in that capacity until his death in 1927.FURTHER READING:Hagedorn, Hermann. Leonard Wood: A Biography. New York: Harper & Brothers, 1931;Hitchman, James H. Leonard Wood and Cuban Independence, 1898-1902. The Hague: Nijhoff, 1971;Lane, Jack C. Armed Progressive: General Leonard Wood. San Rafael, CA: Presidio Press, 1978.JAMES PRUITT
Encyclopedia of the Age of Imperialism, 1800–1914. 2014.