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James M. Beck was born July 9, 1861 in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania on July 9th 1861. Graduating from Moravian College in Bethlehem, Pennsylvania in 1880, he then studied law by night whilst working a day job as a railway company clerk. He was admitted to the bar in Philadelphia in 1884 and the bar of New York City in 1903. Serving as assistant United States attorney for the eastern district of Pennsylvania from 1888 to 1892 and as United States attorney in Philadelphia from 1896 to 1900 he ran, in 1898, for District Attorney of Philadelphia. He was appointed by President McKinley as assistant to the Attorney General of the United States in 1900 and served until his resignation in 1903. He then returned to private practice of law. With the outbreak of World War I, he took a strong stand against Germany and wrote much to outline and show up its lack of civilised behaviour. Here he writes on the Case Of Edith Cavell, the wartime nurse executed by a German firing squad that caused such condemnation from around the world.

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