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James William Good
James W. Good in 1919
50th United States Secretary of War

In office
March 6, 1929 – November 18, 1929
President Herbert Hoover
Preceded by Dwight F. Davis
Succeeded by Patrick J. Hurley
Member of the United States House of Representatives
In office
March 4, 1909 – June 15, 1921
Preceded by Robert G. Cousins
Succeeded by Cyrenus Cole
Personal details
Born (1866-09-24)September 24, 1866
Cedar Rapids, Iowa, United States
Died November 18, 1929(1929-11-18) (aged 63)
Washington, D.C., United States
Political party Republican
Spouse(s) Lucy Good
Children James William Good, Jr.
Robert Edmund Good
Alma mater Coe College
University of Michigan Law School
Profession Politician, Lawyer
Religion Presbyterian

James William Good (September 24, 1866 – November 18, 1929) was an American politician from the state of Iowa, who served in the U.S. House of Representatives and the Cabinet of President Herbert Hoover as Secretary of War. He was a member of the Republican Party.


Good was born near Cedar Rapids, Iowa, to Henry and Margaret Coombs Good. He studied at Coe College, graduating in 1892. He later studied at University of Michigan Law School, graduating in 1893. He was admitted to the bar in 1893 and commenced practice in Indianapolis, Indiana, the same year. He married Lucy Deacon on October 4, 1894. They had two sons, James William, Jr. and Robert Edmund Good.

In 1896, Good returned to Cedar Rapids, where he continued to practice law. Good served as the Cedar Rapids City Attorney from 1906 to 1908.

Congressional service

Good was a member of the United States House of Representatives from 1909 to 1921, where he represented Iowa's 5th congressional district (then made up of Linn, Grundy, Benton, Marshall, Tama, Jones, and Cedar counties). He became chairman of the House Appropriations Committee in 1919, and continued to serve in that position until the end of his service. He was re-elected seven times, and never defeated. But soon after his fellow Republican, Warren G. Harding, was elected president in November 1920, Good disclosed that he would likely resign his seat in Congress and join a Chicago, Illinois law firm, once Good's plan to reorganize the budgetary process was adopted.[1] Good resigned on June 10, 1921.[2] Republican Cyrenus Cole of Cedar Rapids won a special election to fill his vacancy, and was sworn in August 1, 1921.

Cabinet service

Good (right) being to sworn in as the Secretary of War, by John B. Randolph. Outgoing with former Secretary of War Dwight F. Davis (left).

In 1928 Good worked to elect Herbert Hoover, a fellow Iowa Republican, as President of the United States. When Hoover took office in March 1929, he appointed Good to be the United States Secretary of War and Good was soon confirmed by the United States Senate. He served in that position for eight months until his sudden death from peritonitis caused by a ruptured appendix.

He died in Washington, D.C. shortly after the Wall Street Crash of 1929 (October 24–29, 1929), at the beginning of the Great Depression. He was succeeded by the Under Secretary of War Patrick J. Hurley.


  1. Editorial, "Public or Private Life," Cedar Rapids Evening Gazette, 1921-01-06, at p. 4.
  2. "Good Resigns House Seat," New York Times, 1921-06-10.
Political offices
Preceded by
Dwight F. Davis
U.S. Secretary of War
Served under: Herbert Hoover

March 6, 1929 – November 18, 1929
Succeeded by
Patrick J. Hurley
United States House of Representatives
Preceded by
Robert G. Cousins
Member of the U.S. House of Representatives from Iowa's 5th congressional district
March 4, 1909 – June 15, 1921
Succeeded by
Cyrenus Cole

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