Date of Award
Master of Arts
James W. Crowl, M.A.
Earl A. Rubley,
David Rowland Francis of St.Louis, Missouri was appointed United States ambassador to Russia by President Woodrow Wilson in 1916. Without question Francis was a well-known, loyal Democrat. Having served as mayor of St. Louis, governor of Missouri, Secretary of the Interior, president of the Louisiana Purchase Exposition of 1904,and Democratic "dark horse" for the White House,he was active in local and national politics. His knowledge of Russia, however, was little and unfortunately vague. He had no previous diplomatic experience and had previously refused a diplomatic post to Buenos Aries, Argentina. Yet his appointment to Imperial Russia was approved by the Senate without the usual committee considerations.
This study is intended to be an exposition of Francis' efforts while in Soviet Russia and after his return to the United States to bring about the overthrow of the Bolshevik regime in Soviet Russia. As the investigation developed, Francis began to crystalize for the author as a dedicated man up against an impossible situation. He was completely ignorant of revolutionaries and ideologies and nothing in his background or earlier training prepared him for the problems which beset him after the March 1917 Revolution.
This is not intended to be a definitive biography of David Rowland Francis. It touches neither on his successful career as head of his own commission house in St. Louis nor on his efficient administrations in public office nor on his avid conservation interests. The main focus here is on his attitudes and actions concerning the Bolshevik government and his work to have it over- thrown. His attitude towards that government was based on many misconceptions and much misinformation, yet he felt it to be evil. He missed the real significance of the Communist movement,but he was well-meaning and he did what he felt was right.
I am most grateful for the help and encouragement of Professor James W. Crowl of Longwood College who not only suggested the idea for this thesis but also offered invaluable suggestions for improving it. I also am indebted to the staff of the Graduate School Library at the University of Florida, the staff of the Eggleston Library at Hampden Sydney College, the staff of the Lancaster Library at Longwood College, and Mrs .Frances H. Stadler, Archivist of the Missouri Historical Society in St.Louis.
All dates are given according to the Gregorian or Western calendar except as noted.
Mayo, Elna Ann Wilson, "DAVID ROWLAND FRANCIS: THE AMERICAN AMBASSADOR TO RUSSIA, 1916-1921" (1974). Theses, Dissertations & Honors Papers. 423.