The British Empire and its effect on Plymouth

US Ambassador to Britain in Plymouth

In March 1913, Page was appointed as ambassador to Britain by President Woodrow Wilson. This photograph sees him inspecting British soldiers on the Hoe in the early stages of the war before America had joined on the allied side in 1917. This was orchestrated to impress upon him the resolve of Britain and help convince him towards the British cause.

Ultimately, Page became one of the key figures in bringing the United States into World War I on the British side. A proud Southerner, he admired his British roots and assumed that the United Kingdom was fighting a war for democracy. As ambassador to Britain, he defended British policies to Wilson and so helped to shape a pro-Allied slant in the President and in America as a whole.

Page was criticized for his unabashedly pro-British stance as it seemed to keep him from what his job was supposed to be, the defending of the USA's interests in the face of British criticism. Among the problems with which he had to deal were the British claim of the right to stop and search American ships, including examination of mail pouches; the commercial blockade (1915); and the 'blacklist,' containing the names of American firms with whom all financial and commercial dealings on the part of the British were forbidden (1916).

In 1918, Page became ill and resigned his post as Ambassador to the Court of St. James and returned to his home in Pinehurst, North Carolina, where he died. He is buried in Old Bethesda Cemetery in Aberdeen, North Carolina. A memorial plaque in his honor rests in Westminster Abbey in Westminster, London, UK.

Empire in Your Backyard: Plymouth Article

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by Stephen Luscombe