Biography: Louis Post

Born in New Jersey, Post was educated in New York City. After working at a variety of jobs, including three years at a New York law office, he was admitted to the bar in 1870. He moved to South Carolina to take a position as a clerk in the office of a U.S. attorney; Post was then elected to the state's Reconstruction legislature. He assisted in deposing witnesses for KKK trials in the 1870s. In 1871, he married Anna Johnson. In 1874, he returned to New York and served as assistant U.S. attorney. He quit in 1875 in disgust over the demands of Republican political bosses, and entered a private law partnership. He ended his law practice in 1880s, and became editor and publisher of a variety of newspapers in New York, Cleveland, and Chicago. During the 1880s, he was also active in campaigning for the "Single Tax" movement. His wife died in 1891, and in 1893 he remarried to Alice Thacher, a fellow Swedenborgian. Post was appointed to the Chicago school board ca. 1900, and fought against the embezzlement of school funds, restrictions on academic freedom, and for the right of teachers to organize. In 1913, President Wilson appointed Post as Assistant Secretary of Labor. As such, Post objected to the 1918 Anarchist Exclusion Act, which targeted immigrants for deportation based on their political beliefs. When Secretary of Labor William B. Wilson refused to oppose the abuse of the measure by the Justice Departments's J. Edgar Hoover and A. Mitchell Palmer, who sought to deport immigrants based on alleged ties to communism, anarchism and associations with organized labor, Post stepped in as Acting Secretary of Labor. Post served as Secretary with the support of President Woodrow Wilson for several months in 1920. His opposition to Hoover and Palmer's activities helped make him the target of impeachment proceedings and public ire as the so-called Palmer Raids ensued. Yet both President Wilson and Secretary Wilson later defended Post's actions. Post died in Washington after a short illness in 1928.