Luke Edward Wright

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Luke Edward Wright (August 29, 1846November 12, 1922) was a U.S. political figure. He served as Governor-General of the Philippines between 1904 and 1906 and also as Secretary of War from 1908 to 1909.

Wright was born in Giles County, Tennessee and moved with his family to Memphis in 1850. He attended the public schools, and enlisted at fifteen in the Confederate Army with Company G of the 154th Senior Tennessee Regiment during the American Civil War. In 1863, Wright was cited for bravery under fire in the Battle of Murfreesboro and was promoted to second lieutenant. After the Civil War, Wright entered the University of Mississippi, but did not graduate and only attended from 1867 to 1868. He also married Katherine Semmes in 1868.

After studying law in his father’s office, Wright was admitted to the bar and entered into practice in Memphis. For eight years, he served as attorney general of Tennessee and was instrumental in establishing a relief committee during an epidemic of yellow fever in 1878. In 1900, Wright was a member of the second Philippine Commission and was appointed vice-governor of the Philippines in 1901. Wright became full Governor-General of the Philippines in 1904 and continued in that office until 1906. From 1906 to 1907, Wright served as United States ambassador to Japan.

From July 1, 1908 to March 1, 1909, Wright served as United States Secretary of War under President Theodore Roosevelt. He stressed actions to eliminate unfit officers and sought to take advantage of aviation technology. He served less than a year before resigning and returned to private life. He died in Memphis in 1922.


Preceded by
William Howard Taft
Civil Governor of the Philippines
February 1, 1904April 1, 1906
Succeeded by
Henry Clay Ide
Preceded by
William Howard Taft
United States Secretary of War
Succeeded by
Jacob M. Dickinson


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