Miller Center

American President

A Reference Resource

Daniel C. Roper (1933–1938): Secretary of Commerce

Daniel Calhoun Roper was born April 1, 1867 in Marlboro County, South Carolina. He graduated from Trinity College (now Duke University) in 1888 and received his bachelor of laws from National University in 1901.

He began his political career as a member of the South Carolina House of Representatives (1892-1894) and served as a clerk for the U.S. Senate Committee on Interstate Commerce from 1893 to 1897. Roper worked at the U.S. Census Bureau (1900-1910) before taking a post as the clerk of the Ways and Means Committee in the U.S. House of Representatives (1911-1913).

He then served as first assistant postmaster general in the Wilson Administration from 1913 to 1916. Roper also served as chairman of Wilson's 1916 reelection campaign, as vice-chairman of the U.S. Tariff Commission (1917), and as commissioner of the Internal Revenue (1917-1920).

Roper served as secretary of commerce to President Franklin D. Roosevelt from 1933 to 1938 and is credited for the establishment of the Business Advisory Council. After his resignation from the cabinet, Roper was named U.S. chief of mission to Canada (1939). He died on April 11, 1943, in Washington, D.C.