American Statesmen: Secretaries of State from John Jay to Colin Powell

By Edward S. Mihalkanin | Go to book overview
Save to active project

CYRUS VANCE (1917-2002)

Served 1977-1980

Appointed by President Jimmy Carter

Democrat

Twentieth-century American statesmen—indeed, statesmen in any century or nation—share common attributes that distinguish them as benefactors of their countries and of their world. Diplomatic and negotiating skills lead the list of talents necessary to such men. Other important qualities include modest self-effacement, a large dose of nonpartisanship in matters of state, and an optimistic faith in the ability of even the most intransigent belligerents to find some common ground based on mutual self-interest. Most of all, statesmen possess an abiding hope that, with reason, guidance, and dogged perseverance, political leaders can be shown a path from hostile bloodletting to peaceful accommodation. The United States has been blessed with a handful of such men in the last century. Among them, there is no better example than Cyrus Vance, a man who dedicated his life to a belief in negotiated settlements and earned the title “the Ultimate Troubleshooter” from Strobe Talbott.

Cyrus Vance was born the second son to Amy Roberts and John Vance in Clarksburg, West Virginia, on April 27, 1917. In the next year, the family moved to Bronxville, New York, so that John could commute to his lucrative insurance business in Manhattan. Cyrus was never to know his father beyond his seventh year, when the elder Vance died unexpectedly. In grief, the family traveled to Switzerland for a year where Cyrus and his brother learned French at the Institute Sillig in Vevey.

John Vance's death threw the burden of raising two sons on Amy Vance. Vance's mother was a thoughtful woman who inculcated a sense of moral values to her children. These characteristics transferred to her son. To fill part of the paternal void, Cyrus turned to his uncle, the famed Constitutional lawyer and previous ambassa-dor to England, John W. Davis. In 1924, Davis became a candidate for president at the Democratic convention that had to cast 105 ballots before obtaining a majority. As Vance's mentor, Davis quizzed the young man on points of law on Sundays when Cyrus went to his home.

-512-

Notes for this page

Add a new note
If you are trying to select text to create highlights or citations, remember that you must now click or tap on the first word, and then click or tap on the last word.
Loading One moment ...
Project items
Notes
Cite this page

Cited page

Style
Citations are available only to our active members.
Sign up now to cite pages or passages in MLA, APA and Chicago citation styles.

Cited page

Bookmark this page
American Statesmen: Secretaries of State from John Jay to Colin Powell
Table of contents

Table of contents

Settings

Settings

Typeface
Text size Smaller Larger
Search within

Search within this book

Look up

Look up a word

  • Dictionary
  • Thesaurus
Please submit a word or phrase above.
Print this page

Print this page

Why can't I print more than one page at a time?

While we understand printed pages are helpful to our users, this limitation is necessary to help protect our publishers' copyrighted material and prevent its unlawful distribution. We are sorry for any inconvenience.
Full screen
/ 572

matching results for page

Cited passage

Style
Citations are available only to our active members.
Sign up now to cite pages or passages in MLA, APA and Chicago citation styles.

Cited passage

Welcome to the new Questia Reader

The Questia Reader has been updated to provide you with an even better online reading experience.  It is now 100% Responsive, which means you can read our books and articles on any sized device you wish.  All of your favorite tools like notes, highlights, and citations are still here, but the way you select text has been updated to be easier to use, especially on touchscreen devices.  Here's how:

1. Click or tap the first word you want to select.
2. Click or tap the last word you want to select.

OK, got it!

Thanks for trying Questia!

Please continue trying out our research tools, but please note, full functionality is available only to our active members.

Your work will be lost once you leave this Web page.

For full access in an ad-free environment, sign up now for a FREE, 1-day trial.

Already a member? Log in now.

Are you sure you want to delete this highlight?