William John Maxwell



Who is William John Maxwell?

William John Maxwell was a United States Navy officer who served as the 18th Naval Governor of Guam. He entered the United States Naval Academy in 1874, but was not commissioned as an ensign until 1883. He served aboard many ships before becoming one of the inaugural members of the General Board of the United States Navy. Afterward, he commanded both the USS Mississippi and the USS Florida.

After becoming governor in 1914, Maxwell instituted a number of reforms, including establishing the Bank of Guam and the Guam Insular Patrol Force. He also reorganized the tax system and stressed the building and improvement of new roads. His plans to give Guamanians United States citizenship was rejected by then-Assistant Secretary of the Navy Franklin Delano Roosevelt. Guam became the center an international relations incident when the German SMS Cormoran made port there asking for coal at a time when the United States remained neutral in World War I. Maxwell refused to break neutrality by providing fuel and supplies, forcing the ship to stay in port for the next two years.

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  • United States Naval Academy

on July 23, 2013


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