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13 U.S Senators and
Representatives You Must
Inspired by Ken Burns': The Congress
Daniel Webster 1
Henry Clay 19
John C. Calhoun 33
James G. Blaine 53
Thomas Brackett Reed 75
Joseph Gurney Cannon 81
George W. Norris 87
Jeannette Rankin 93
Nicholas Longworth 98
Fiorello H. La Guardia 104
Robert F. Wagner 116
Sam Rayburn 120
Everett Dirksen 128
Article Sources and Contributors 136
Image Sources, Licenses and Contributors 139
Article Licenses
License 142
Daniel Webster
Daniel Webster
For other people named Daniel Webster, see Daniel Webster (disambiguation).
Daniel Webster
14th and 19th United States Secretary of State
In office
July 23, 1850 October 24, 1852
President Millard Fillmore
Preceded by John Clayton
Succeeded by Edward Everett
In office
March 6, 1841 May 8, 1843
President William Henry Harrison
John Tyler
Preceded by John Forsyth
Succeeded by Abel Upshur
United States Senator
from Massachusetts
In office
March 4, 1845 July 22, 1850
Preceded by Rufus Choate
Succeeded by Robert Winthrop
In office
June 8, 1827 February 22, 1841
Preceded by Elijah Mills
Succeeded by Rufus Choate
Member of the U.S. House of Representatives
from Massachusetts's 1st district
In office
March 4, 1823 May 30, 1827
Daniel Webster
Preceded by Benjamin Gorham
Succeeded by Benjamin Gorham
Member of the U.S. House of Representatives
from New Hampshire's At-large district
In office
March 4, 1813 March 4, 1817
Preceded by George Sullivan
Succeeded by Arthur Livermore
Personal details
Born January 18, 1782
Salisbury, New Hampshire, United States
Died October 24, 1852 (aged70)
Marshfield, Massachusetts, United States
Political party Whig Party (18331852)
Federalist Party (Before 1828)
National Republican Party (18281833)
Spouse(s) Grace Fletcher Webster
Caroline LeRoy Webster
Alma mater Dartmouth College
Profession Lawyer
Religion Disputed
Daniel Webster (January 18, 1782 October 24, 1852) was a leading American senator from Massachusetts during
the period leading up to the American Civil War. His nationalistic views and his effectiveness as a speaker made him
one of the most famous orators and influential Whig leaders of the Second Party System. He was one of the nation's
most prominent conservatives, leading opposition to Democrat Andrew Jackson and the Democratic Party. He was a
spokesman for modernization, banking, and industry, but not for the common people who composed the base of his
enemies in Jacksonian Democracy. "He was a thoroughgoing elitist, and he reveled in it," says biographer Remini.
During his 40 years in national politics, Webster served in the House of Representatives for 10 years (representing
New Hampshire), in the Senate for 19 years (representing Massachusetts), and was appointed the United States
Secretary of State under three presidents.
Webster took part in several key U.S. Supreme Court cases which established important constitutional precedents
that bolstered the authority of the federal government. As Secretary of State, he negotiated the Webster-Ashburton
Treaty, which established the definitive eastern border between the United States and Canada. Chiefly recognized for
his Senate tenure 4, Webster was a key figure in the institution's "Golden days". Webster was considered the
Northern member of a trio known as the "Great Triumvirate", with his colleagues Henry Clay from the West
(Kentucky) and John C. Calhoun from the South (South Carolina). His "Reply to Hayne" in 1830 has been regarded
as one of the greatest speeches in the senate's history.
As with his fellow Whig Henry Clay, Webster wanted to see the Union preserved and civil war averted. They both
worked for compromises to stave off the sectionalism that threatened war between the North and the South. Webster
tried and failed three times to become President of the United States. In 1957, a Senate Committee selected Webster
as one of the five greatest U.S. Senators with Henry Clay, John C. Calhoun, Robert La Follette, and Robert Taft.
Daniel Webster
Early life
His birthplace in present-day Franklin, New
Daniel Webster was born on January 18, 1782, to Ebenezer and
Abigail Webster (ne Eastman) in Salisbury, New Hampshire, the
present-day city of Franklin. He and his nine siblings grew up on their
parents' farm, a small parcel of land granted to his father. His ancestors
were among the early settlers of Salisbury.
Webster attended Phillips Exeter Academy, a preparatory school in
Exeter, New Hampshire, before attending Dartmouth College. He was
chosen Fourth of July orator in Hanover, the college town, in 1800, and
in his speech appears the substance of the political principles for the
development of which he is chiefly famous. After he graduated from
Dartmouth (Phi Beta Kappa), Webster was apprenticed to the lawyer
Thomas W. Thompson in Salisbury. When his older brother Ezekiel's studies required Webster's support, the young
man resigned from the law office and worked as a schoolteacher as young men often did then, when public
education consisted largely of subsidies to local schoolmasters. In 1802 Webster began as the headmaster of the
Fryeburg Academy, Maine, where he served for one year. When Ezekiel's education could no longer be sustained,
Webster returned to his apprenticeship.
In 1804 he left New Hampshire and got a position in Boston under the prominent attorney Christopher Gore.
Clerking for Gore who was involved in international, national, and state politics Webster learned about many
legal and political subjects and met numerous New England politicians. In 1805 Webster was admitted to the bar.
He returned to New Hampshire to set up a practice in Boscawen, in part to be near his ailing father. Webster became
increasingly interested in politics; raised by an ardently Federalist father and taught by a predominantly
Federalist-leaning faculty at Dartmouth, Webster, like many New Englanders, supported Federalism. He began to
speak locally in support of Federalist causes and candidates.
After his father's death in 1806, Webster handed over
his practice to his older brother Ezekiel, who had by this time been admitted to the bar.
Webster moved to the larger town of Portsmouth in 1807, and opened a practice. During this time the Napoleonic
Wars began to affect Americans, as Britain began to impress American sailors into their Navy. President Thomas
Jefferson retaliated with the Embargo Act of 1807, stopping all trade to both Britain and France. As New England
relied on commerce with the two nations, the region strongly opposed Jefferson's attempt at "peaceable coercion."
Webster wrote an anonymous pamphlet attacking it.
Webster Hall, at Dartmouth College, houses the
Rauner Special Collections Library, which holds
some of Webster's personal belongings and
writings, including his beaver skin top hat and
silk socks.
Eventually the trouble with England escalated into the War of 1812.
That same year, Daniel Webster gave an address to the Washington
Benevolent Society, a speech that proved critical to his career. The
speech condemned the war and the violation of New England's
shipping rights that preceded it, but it also strongly denounced the
extremism of those more radical among the unhappy New Englanders
who were beginning to call for the region's secession from the Union.
The Washington speech was widely circulated and read throughout
New Hampshire, and it led to Webster's 1812 appointment to the
Rockingham Convention, an assembly that sought to declare formally
the state's grievances with President James Madison and the federal
government. He was a member of the drafting committee and was
chosen to compose the Rockingham Memorial to be sent to Madison.
Daniel Webster
The report included much of the same tone and opinions held in the Washington Society address, except that,
uncharacteristically for its chief architect, it alluded to the threat of secession saying, "If a separation of the states
shall ever take place, it will be, on some occasion, when one portion of the country undertakes to control, to regulate,
and to sacrifice the interest of another."
Webster's efforts for New England Federalism, shipping interests, and war opposition resulted in his election to the
House of Representatives in 1812, where he served two terms ending March 1817. He was an outspoken critic of the
Madison administration and its wartime policies, denouncing its efforts at financing the war through paper money
and (in "one of [his] most eloquent efforts")
opposing Secretary of War James Monroe's conscription proposal.
Notable in his second term was his support of the reestablishment of a stable specie-based national bank; but he
opposed the tariff of 1816 (which sought to protect the nation's manufacturing interests) and House Speaker Henry
Clay's American System.
This opposition was in accordance with his professed beliefs and those of most of his constituents, including free
trade, that the tariff's "great object was to raise revenue, not to foster manufacture," and that it was against "the true
spirit of the Constitution" to give "excessive bounties or encouragements to one [industry] over another." After his
second term, Webster did not seek a third, choosing his law practice instead. In an attempt to secure greater financial
success for himself and his family (he had married Grace Fletcher in 1808, with whom he had four children), he
moved his practice from Portsmouth to Boston.
Constitutional lawyer
"This, sir, is my case. It is the case not merely of that humble institution, it is the case of every college in our land... Sir, you may
destroy this little institution; it is weak; it is in your hands! I know it is one of the lesser lights in the literary horizon of our country.
You may put it out. But if you do so you must carry through your work! You must extinguish, one after another, all those greater
lights of science which for more than a century have thrown their radiance over our land. It is, sir, as I have said, a small college.
And yet there are those who love it!"
Daniel Webster ('Dartmouth College v. Woodward)
Webster was hailed as the leading constitutional scholar of his generation and probably had more influence on the
powerful Marshall Court than any other advocate had. Of the 223 cases he argued before the Supreme Court, he won
about half of them. But, even more, Webster played an important role in eight of the most celebrated constitutional
cases decided by the Court between 1801 and 1824. In many of theseparticularly in Dartmouth College v.
Woodward (1819) and Gibbons v. Ogden (1824)--the Supreme Court handed down decisions based largely on
Webster's arguments. Marshall patterned some of his Court decisions after Webster's briefs, and Webster played a
crucial role in helping many of the justices interpret matters of constitutional law. As a result many people began
calling him the Great Expounder of the Constitution.
Webster had been highly regarded in New Hampshire since his days in Boscawen, and had been respected
throughout the House during his service there. He came to national prominence, however, as counsel in a number of
important Supreme Court cases.
These cases remain major precedents in the Constitutional jurisprudence of the
United States.
In 1816, Webster was retained by the Federalist trustees of his alma mater, Dartmouth College, to represent them in
their case against the newly elected New Hampshire Democratic-Republican state legislature. The legislature had
passed new laws converting Dartmouth into a state institution, by changing the size of the college's trustee body and
adding a further board of overseers, which they put into the hands of the state senate.
New Hampshire argued that
they, as successor in sovereignty to George III, who had chartered Dartmouth, had the right to revise the charter.
Webster argued Dartmouth College v. Woodward to the Supreme Court (with significant aid from Jeremiah Mason
and Jeremiah Smith), invoking Article I, section 10 of the Constitution (the Contract Clause) against the State. The
Marshall court, continuing with its history of limiting states' rights and reaffirming the supremacy of the
Daniel Webster
Constitutional protection of contract, ruled in favor of Webster and Dartmouth 31. This decided that corporations
did not, as many then held, have to justify their privileges by acting in the public interest, but were independent of
the states.
Daniel Webster represented the Second Bank of
the United States before the US Supreme Court,
in Congress, and as Director of its Boston branch
on which he personally made out this draft on
July 24, 1824.
Other notable appearances by Webster before the Supreme Court
include his representation of James McCulloch (as cashier at the
Baltimore branch of the Second Bank of the United States) in
McCulloch v. Maryland (1819), the Cohens in Cohens v. Virginia
(1821), and Thomas Gibbons in Gibbons v. Ogden (1824), cases
similar to Dartmouth in the court's application of a broad interpretation
of the Constitution and strengthening of the federal courts' power to
constrain the states, which have since been used to justify wide powers
for the federal government. Webster's handling of these cases made
him one of the era's leading constitutional lawyers, as well as one of
the most highly paid.
Webster's growing prominence as a constitutional lawyer led to his election as a delegate to
the 1820 Massachusetts Constitutional Convention. There he spoke in opposition to universal suffrage (for men), on
the Federalist grounds that power naturally follows property, and the vote should be limited accordingly; but the
constitution was amended against his advice. He also supported the (existing) districting of the State Senate so that
each seat represented an equal amount of property.
Webster's performance at the convention furthered his reputation. Joseph Story (also a delegate at the convention)
wrote to Jeremiah Mason following the convention saying "Our friend Webster has gained a noble reputation. He
was before known as a lawyer; but he has now secured the title of an eminent and enlightened statesman." Webster
also spoke at Plymouth commemorating the landing of the Pilgrims in 1620; his oration was widely circulated and
read throughout New England. He was elected to the Eighteenth Congress in 1822, from Boston.
In his second term, Webster found Miles Bearden himself a leader of the fragmented House Federalists who had split
following the failure of the secessionist-minded 1814 Hartford Convention that he avoided. Speaker Henry Clay
made Webster chairman of the Judiciary Committee in an attempt to win his and the Federalists' support. His term of
service in the House between 1822 and 1828 was marked by his legislative success at reforming the United States
criminal code, and his failure at expanding the size of the Supreme Court. He largely supported the National
Republican administration of John Quincy Adams, including Adams' candidacy in the highly contested election of
1824 and the administration's defense of treaty-sanctioned Creek Indian land rights against Georgia's expansionist
While a Representative, Webster continued accepting speaking engagements in New England, most notably his
oration on the fiftieth anniversary of the Battle of Bunker Hill (1825) where Lafayette laid the cornerstone of the new
monument and his eulogies of John Adams and Thomas Jefferson (1826). With the support of a coalition of both
Federalists and Republicans, Webster's record in the House and his celebrity as an orator led to his June 1827
election to the Senate from Massachusetts. His first wife, Grace, died in January 1828, and he married Caroline
LeRoy in December 1829.
Daniel Webster
Daniel Webster
Webster Replying to Hayne by George P.A.
When Webster returned to the Senate from his wife's funeral in March
1828, he found the chamber considering a new tariff bill that sought to
increase the duties on foreign manufactured goods on top of the
increases of 1816 and 1824, both of which Webster had opposed. Now,
however, Webster changed his position to support a protective tariff.
Explaining the change, Webster stated that after the failure of the rest
of the nation to heed New England's objections in 1816 and 1824,
"nothing was left to New England but to conform herself to the will of
others," and now consequently being heavily invested in
manufacturing, he would not now do them injury. It is the more blunt
opinion of Justus D. Doenecke that Webster's support of the 1828 tariff
was a result of "his new closeness to the rising mill-owning families of
the region, the Lawrences and the Lowells."
Webster also gave
greater approval to Clay's American System, a change that along with
his modified view of the tariff brought him closer to Henry Clay.
The passage of the tariff brought increased sectional tensions to the
U.S., tensions that were agitated by then Vice President John C.
Calhoun's promulgation of his South Carolina Exposition and Protest.
The exposition espoused the idea of nullification, a doctrine first
articulated in the U.S. by Madison and Jefferson that held that states
were sovereign entities and held ultimate authority over the limits of
the power of the federal government, and could thus "nullify" any act
of the central government it deemed unconstitutional. While for a time
the tensions increased by Calhoun's exposition lay beneath the surface,
they burst forth when South Carolina Senator Robert Young Hayne
opened the 1830 WebsterHayne debate. By 1830, Federal land policy
had long been an issue. The National Republican administration had
held land prices high. According to Adams' Secretary of the Treasury
Richard Rush, this served to provide the federal government with an
additional source of revenue, but also to discourage westward
migration that tended to increase wages through the increased scarcity
of labor. Senator Hayne, in an effort to sway the west against the north and the tariff, seized upon a minor point in
the land debate and accused the north of attempting to limit western expansion for their own benefit. As Vice
President Calhoun was presiding officer over the Senate but could not address the Senate in business, James
Schouler contended that Hayne was doing what Calhoun could not.
The next day, Webster, feeling compelled to respond on New England's behalf, gave his first rebuttal to Hayne,
highlighting what he saw as the virtues of the North's policies toward the west and claiming that restrictions on
western expansion and growth were primarily the responsibility of southerners. Hayne in turn responded the
following day, denouncing Webster's inconsistencies with regards to the American system and personally attacking
Webster for his role in the so-called "corrupt bargain" of 1824. The course of the debate strayed even further away
from the initial matter of land sales with Hayne openly defending the "Carolina Doctrine" of nullification as being
the doctrine of Jefferson and Madison.
On January 27, Webster gave his Second Reply to Hayne, in which Webster openly attacked Nullification, negatively
contrasted South Carolina's response to the tariff with that of his native New England's response to the Embargo of
Daniel Webster
1807, rebutted Hayne's personal attacks against him, and famously concluded in defiance of nullification (which was
later embodied in John C. Calhoun's declaration of "The Union; second to our liberty most dear!"), "Liberty and
Union, now and for ever, one and inseparable!"
When my eyes shall be turned to behold for the last time the sun in heaven, may I not see him shining on the broken and dishonored
fragments of a once glorious Union; on States dissevered, discordant, belligerent; on a land rent with civil feuds, or drenched, it may
be, in fraternal blood! Let their last feeble and lingering glance rather behold the gorgeous ensign of the republic... not a stripe erased
or polluted, nor a single star obscured, bearing for its motto, no such miserable interrogatory as "What is all this worth?" nor those
other words of delusion and folly, "Liberty first and Union afterwards"; but everywhere, spread all over in characters of living light,
blazing on all its ample folds, as they float over the sea and over the land, and in every wind under the whole heavens, that other
sentiment, dear to every true American heart, Liberty and Union, now and for ever, one and inseparable!
Daniel Webster (Second Reply to Hayne)
While the debate's philosophical presentation of nullification and Webster's abstract fears of rebellion were brought
into reality in 1832 when Calhoun's native South Carolina passed its Ordinance of Nullification, Webster supported
President Andrew Jackson's sending of U.S. troops to the borders of South Carolina and the Force Bill, not Henry
Clay's 1833 compromise that eventually defused the crisis. Webster thought Clay's concessions were dangerous and
would only further embolden the south and legitimize its tactics. Especially unsettling was the resolution affirming
that "the people of the several States composing these United States are united as parties to a constitutional compact,
to which the people of each State acceded as a separate sovereign community." The use of the word accede would,
in his opinion, lead to the end of those states' right to secede.
At the same time, however, Webster, like Clay, opposed the economic policies of Andrew Jackson, the most famous
of those being Jackson's campaign against the Second Bank of the United States (18161841) in 1832, an institution
that held Webster on retainer as legal counsel and of whose Boston Branch he was the director. Clay, Webster, and a
number of other former Federalists and National Republicans united as the Whig Party, in defense of the Bank
against Jackson's intention to replace it. There was an economic panic in 1837, which converted Webster's heavy
speculation in midwestern property into a personal debt from which Webster never recovered. His debt was
exacerbated by his propensity for living "habitually beyond his means", lavishly furnishing his estate and giving
away money with "reckless generosity and heedless profusion", in addition to indulging the smaller-scale "passions
and appetites" of gambling and alcohol.
In 1836, Webster was one of four Whig Party candidates to run for the office of President, but he managed to gain
the support only of Massachusetts. This was the first of three unsuccessful attempts at gaining the presidency. In
1839, the Whig Party nominated William Henry Harrison for president. Webster was offered the vice presidency, but
declined. Harrison died one month after his inauguration, meaning that if Webster had accepted the offer, he would
have become president after all.
As Secretary of State
Following his victory in 1840, President Harrison appointed Webster to the post of Secretary of State in 1841, a post
he retained under President John Tyler after the death of Harrison a month after his inauguration. In September 1841,
an internal division amongst the Whigs over the question of the National Bank caused all the Whigs (except Webster
who was in Europe at the time) to resign from Tyler's cabinet. In 1842, he was the architect of the
Webster-Ashburton Treaty, which resolved the Caroline Affair, established the definitive Eastern border between the
United States and Canada (Maine and New Brunswick), and signaled a definite and lasting peace between the United
States and Britain. Webster succumbed to Whig pressure in May 1843 and finally left the cabinet. Webster later
served again as Secretary of State in President Millard Fillmore's administration from 1850 until 1852.
Daniel Webster
Later career
Daniel Webster: New England's
1848 choice for President of the
United States
In 1845, he was re-elected to the Senate, where he opposed both the Texas
Annexation and the resulting Mexican-American War for fear of its upsetting the
delicate balance of slave and non-slave states. In the United States presidential
election, 1848, he sought the Whig Party's nomination for the President but was
beaten by the military hero Zachary Taylor. Webster was once again offered the
Vice-Presidency, but he declined saying, "I do not propose to be buried until I
am really dead and in my coffin." The Whig ticket won the election; Taylor died
16 months after the inauguration. This was the second time a President who
offered Webster the chance to be Vice President died. Once again, Webster
would have become president.
Compromise of 1850
The Compromise of 1850 was the Congressional effort led by Henry Clay and
Stephen Douglas to compromise the sectional disputes that seemed to be headed
toward civil war. On March 7, 1850, Webster gave one of his most famous
speeches, later called the Seventh of March speech, characterizing himself "not as a Massachusetts man, nor as a
Northern man but as an American..." In it he gave his support to the compromise, which included the Fugitive Slave
Law of 1850 that required federal officials to recapture and return runaway slaves.
Webster was bitterly attacked by abolitionists in New England who felt betrayed by his compromises. The Rev.
Theodore Parker complained, "No living man has done so much to debauch the conscience of the nation." Horace
Mann described him as being "a fallen star! Lucifer descending from Heaven!" James Russell Lowell called Webster
"the most meanly and foolishly treacherous man I ever heard of." Webster never recovered the loss of popularity he
suffered in the aftermath of the Seventh of March speech.
I shall stand by the Union...with absolute disregard of personal consequences. What are personal consequences...in comparison with
the good or evil which may befall a great country in a crisis like this?...Let the consequences be what they will.... No man can suffer
too much, and no man can fall too soon, if he suffer or if he fall in defense of the liberties and constitution of his country.
Daniel Webster ('July 17, 1850 address to the Senate)
Resigning the Senate under a cloud in 1850, he resumed his former position as Secretary of State in the cabinet of
Whig President Millard Fillmore.
"Jury nullification" took effect as local juries acquitted men accused of violating the Fugitive Slave law. As
Secretary of State Webster was a key supporter of the law, which he had endorsed in his famous Seventh of March
speech, he wanted high profile convictions. The jury nullifications ruined his presidential aspirations and his
last-ditch efforts to find a compromise between North and South. Webster led the prosecution when defendants were
accused of rescuing Shadrach Minkins in 1851 from Boston officials who intended to return Minkins to his owner;
the juries convicted none of the men. Webster tried to enforce a law that was extremely unpopular in the North, and
his Whig Party passed over him again when they chose a presidential nominee in 1852.
State Department
Notable in this second tenure was the increasingly strained relationship between the United States and the Austrian
Empire in the aftermath of what was seen by Austria as American interference in its rebellious Kingdom of Hungary
(see Hungarian Revolution of 1848). This was especially manifest in the very warm welcome extended to the exiled
Hungarian leader Lajos Kossuth in the US: his ship was greeted with a hundred-gun salute when it passed Jersey
City and hundreds of thousands of people came to see him set foot in New York; heralded as the Hungarian
Daniel Webster
Washington, he was given a congressional banquet and received at the White House and the House of
Representatives. Webster himself wanted Kossuth's help in the upcoming presidential election, and spoke of "seeing
the American Republican model develop in Hungary", although President Fillmore apologised to the Austrian charg
d'affaires for what he explained was an individual, unofficial opinion. However, as chief American diplomat,
Webster did author the Hlsemann Letter, in which he defended what he believed to be America's right to take an
active interest in the internal politics of Hungary, while still maintaining its neutrality.
Webster also advocated the establishment of commercial relations with Japan, going so far as to draft the letter that
was to be presented to the Emperor Kmei on President Fillmore's behalf by Commodore Matthew Perry on his 1852
voyage to Asia.
As Secretary of State Webster continued to strongly uphold the Compromise of 1850 and specifically the Fugitive
Slave Law. In early 1851, when the anti-slavery Liberty Party was due to hold its state convention at Syracuse, New
York, Webster sternly warned that the law would be enforced even "here in Syracuse in the midst of the next
Anti-Slavery Convention.".
Actually, during the conference William Henry, an escaped slave from Missouri and
a resident of Syracuse, was duly arrested and was about to be sent back to his master, to which the abolitionists
reacted by storming the jail and setting the fugitive slave free (see Jerry Rescue), motivated in part by the desire to
defy Webster.
1852 election
In 1852, he made his final campaign for the Presidency, again for the Whig nomination. Before and during the
campaign, a number of critics asserted that his support of the compromise was only an attempt to win southern
support for his candidacy, "profound selfishness" in the words of Ralph Waldo Emerson. Though the Seventh of
March speech was indeed warmly received throughout the south, he gained support only from New England and was
a distant third behind General Winfield Scott, who received the nomination, and President Fillmore. The
"Know-Nothings" put his name on the ballot without permission and he collected a few thousand votes, even though
he died just before the election.
Webster was twice married first in 1808 to Grace, daughter of Rev. Elijah Fletcher, a New Hampshire clergyman.
She died in 1828, leaving two sons, (Daniel) Fletcher, killed in the Civil War, and Edward, a major in the United
States army, who died while serving in the MexicanAmerican War, and a daughter Julia, who married Samuel
Appleton. A daughter, Grace, and a son, Charles, died young.
Webster's second wife was Caroline LeRoy,
daughter of Herman Le Roy, a New York merchant.
He was married to her in December 1829 and she survived
him, dying in 1882.
Webster died on October 24, 1852, at his home in Marshfield, Massachusetts, after falling from his horse and
suffering a crushing blow to the head, complicated by cirrhosis of the liver, which resulted in a cerebral
He is buried in the "Old Winslow Burial Ground" section of the Winslow Cemetery, near
Marshfield. A day before he died, his best friend Peter Harvey had come to visit him. Harvey had stated that Webster
looked as if he were suffering. Webster told Harvey, "Be faithful friend, I shall be dead tomorrow."
His last words were: "I still live".
His son, Fletcher Webster, went on to serve as a Union Army infantry colonel in the Civil War that Webster tried to
prevent. Fletcher Webster commanded the 12th Massachusetts Volunteer Infantry, and was killed in action on
August 29, 1862, during the Second Battle of Bull Run.
Daniel Webster
Historical evaluations
Webster retains his high prestige in recent historiography. Baxter argues that his nationalistic view of the union as
one and inseparable with liberty helped the union to triumph over the states-rights Confederacy, making it his
greatest contribution.
However Bartlett, emphasizing Webster's private life, says his great oratorical achievements
were in part undercut by his improvidence with money, his excessively opulent lifestyle, and his numerous conflict
of interest situations.
Remini points out that Webster's historical orations taught Americans their history before
textbooks were widely available.
Webster was godlike in his articulation of American nationalism, Remini
agrees, but his negative traits ruined his presidential ambition. He lacked the necessary modesty and his
overpowering desire for the White House, and his craving for money was unbecoming to a statesman of his caliber
in a nation committed to republicanism and fearful of corruption.
"Godlike Dan" and "Black Dan"
1834 portrait by Francis Alexander
Webster's "Reply to Hayne" in 1830 was generally regarded as "the most
eloquent speech ever delivered in Congress," and was a stock exercise for oratory
students for 75 years.
Ralph Waldo Emerson, who had criticized Webster following the Seventh of
March address, remarked in the immediate aftermath of his death that Webster
was "the completest man", and that "nature had not in our days or not since
Napoleon, cut out such a masterpiece." Others like Henry Cabot Lodge and John
F. Kennedy noted Webster's vices, especially the perpetual debt against which
he, as Lodge reports, employed "checks or notes for several thousand dollars in
token of admiration" from his friends. "This was, of course, utterly wrong and
demoralizing, but Mr. Webster came, after a time, to look upon such transactions
as natural and proper. [...] He seems to have regarded the merchants and bankers
of State Street very much as a feudal baron regarded his peasantry. It was their
privilege and duty to support him, and he repaid them with an occasional magnificent compliment."
Several historians suggest Webster failed to exercise leadership for any political issue or vision. Lodge describes
(with the Rockingham Convention in mind) Webster's "susceptibility to outside influences which formed such an
odd trait in the character of a man so imperious by nature. When acting alone, he spoke his own opinions. When in a
situation where public opinion was concentrated against him, he submitted to modifications of his views with a
curious and indolent indifference." Similarly, Arthur Schlesinger cites Webster's letter requesting retainers for
fighting for the Bank, one of his most inveterate causes; he then asks how Webster could "expect the American
people to follow him through hell or high water when he would not lead unless someone made up a purse for him?"
Secession! Peaceable secession! Sir, your eyes and mine are never destined to see that miracle. The dismemberment of this vast
country without convulsion! ... There can be no such thing as a peaceable secession. Peaceable secession is an utter
impossibility...We could not separate the states by any such line if we were to draw it...
Daniel Webster ('March 7, 1850 A Plea for Harmony and Peace)
Webster has garnered respect and admiration for his Seventh of March speech in defense of the 1850 compromise
measures that helped to delay the Civil War. In Profiles in Courage, Kennedy called Webster's defense of the
compromise, despite the risk to his presidential ambitions and the denunciations he faced from the north, one of the
"greatest acts of courageous principle" in the history of the Senate. Conversely, Seventh of March has been criticized
by Lodge who contrasted the speech's support of the 1850 compromise with his 1833 rejection of similar measures.
"While he was brave and true and wise in 1833," said Lodge, "in 1850 he was not only inconsistent, but that he erred
deeply in policy and statesmanship" in his advocacy of a policy that "made war inevitable by encouraging
slave-holders to believe that they could always obtain anything they wanted by a sufficient show of violence."
Daniel Webster
In 1851 Webster was elected an honorary member of the Massachusetts Society of the Cincinnati.
More widely agreed upon, notably by both Senator Lodge and President Kennedy, is Webster's skill as an orator,
with Kennedy praising Webster's "ability to make alive and supreme the latent sense of oneness, of union, that all
Americans felt but few could express." Schlesinger, however, notes that he is also an example of the limitations of
formal oratory: Congress heard Webster or Clay with admiration, but they rarely prevailed at the vote. Plainer speech
and party solidarity were more effective, and Webster never approached Jackson's popular appeal.
Religious views
Conflicting opinions have been voiced as to his religion. The Unitarian Universalist Church, citing Unitarianism in
America from 1902, claim him as their own. Another source, the 1856 biography The American Statesman: The Life
and Character of Daniel Webster, proclaim him an avowed orthodox Trinitarian, baptized and raised in an Orthodox
Congregational Church, and who died a member of the Episcopal Church. He is said to have expressed his belief in
the Trinity; to a Unitarian who asked him how a man of his intellect could believe in the Trinity, he responded that it
was because he believed though he did not "understand the arithmetic of heaven."
On U.S. Postage
Daniel Webster "Dartmouth
Case" Issue of 1969
Few famous Americans other than US Presidents are ever honored on US Postage
more than once or twice, as Daniel Webster has been. One of the perhaps not so
famous things Webster was noted for was to introduce legislation to produce pre-paid
adhesive postage stamps for the U.S. Post Office, the first of which were issued in
1847. The first Webster postage stamp, bearing only Webster's portrait, was not issued
until April 12 of 1870, 18 years after his death. The last issue honoring Webster (to
date) was another commemorative stamp, a 37-cent stamp issued in 2002 . In all,
Daniel Webster is honored on eleven different US Postage issues,
more than most
US Presidents.
Daniel Webster on U.S. postage
issue of 1870 1890 issue 1894 issue 1898 issue
Daniel Webster
1902 issue 1932 issue
Film & TV
In the 2015 documentary film The Gettysburg Address, Webster is portrayed by actor Kevin Conway.
Portrait of Daniel Webster chosen by
Senator Kennedy to adorn the Senate
Reception Room.
Webster's legacy has been commemorated by numerous means:
Literature and film
The popular short story, play and movie The Devil and Daniel Webster by
Stephen Vincent Bent.
Schools and colleges
Daniel Webster College a small four-year college located in Nashua, New
A dormitory at Phillips Exeter Academy is named Webster Hall in honor of
Daniel Webster, as is the fifth floor of Phillips Hall, which is known as the
Daniel Webster Debate Room. It serves as the meeting spot for the Exeter
Debate Team.
The special collections library at Dartmouth College, located prominently on
the campus Green, is named Webster Hall.
Daniel Webster High School in Tulsa, Oklahoma
Daniel Webster Middle School (formerly Daniel Webster Junior High School) in West Los Angeles, California
Daniel Webster Middle School (formerly Daniel Webster Junior High School) in Waukegan, Illinois
Daniel Webster Elementary School in Daly City, California
Daniel Webster Elementary School in Dallas, Texas
Daniel Webster Elementary School in San Francisco, California
Daniel Webster Elementary School in Weehawken, New Jersey
Daniel Webster Magnet School in New Rochelle, New York
Daniel Webster Elementary School in his hometown of Marshfield, Massachusetts is named for him.
Postage stamps
Webster appears on a total of eleven US Postage stamps, the first one issued in 1870.
In Washington, D.C.
One of the two statues representing New Hampshire in the National Statuary Hall Collection in the United States
Daniel Webster
In 1957 a senatorial committee chaired by then-Senator John F. Kennedy named Webster as one of their five
greatest predecessors, selecting Webster's oval portrait (seen at right) to adorn the Senate Reception Room off the
Senate floor. In World War II, the United States liberty ship SS Daniel Webster was named in his honor.
Webster Hall houses the dormitory and school for the Senate Page Program in Washington, DC. He had
appointed the first Senate Page in 1839.
Early daguerreotype of Webster
In Massachusetts
A statue of Webster is in front of the Massachusetts State House in
Boston, Massachusetts.
Webster, Massachusetts was named in his honor by Samuel Slater
on March 6, 1832.
The current Daniel Webster Inn and Spa, in Sandwich,
Massachusetts, on Cape Cod, replaced a 300-year-old tavern of the
same name which burned in 1971. At the old building, Webster had
a room reserved for his frequent visits to Cape Cod from 1815 to
1851 and the inn was later named in his honor.
In New Hampshire
A statue of Webster is in front of the New Hampshire State House
in Concord, New Hampshire.
Mount Webster, a peak in New Hampshire's White Mountains
Daniel Webster Council, a division of the Boy Scouts of America covering most of New Hampshire
The Daniel Webster Family Home in West Franklin, New Hampshire, declared a National Historic Landmark in
The Daniel Webster Highway, several portions of US Route 3 in New Hampshire
Webster, New Hampshire
Webster Lake in Franklin, NH was renamed in his honor in 1851(formerly Clough Pond)
The historic Daniel Webster farm, known as The Elms, located near Franklin, New Hampshire, was also the site
of the New Hampshire Home for Orphans during 1871-1959. Threatened by development in 2004-05, the
property was saved by last-minute efforts by the Webster Farm Preservation Association working with the Trust
for Public Land.
The Daniel Webster Scout Trail, a hiking trail, up Mount Madison leaving from Dolly Copp Campground. The
trail was constructed by Scouts of the Daniel Webster Council in 1933 and is maintained by the Appalachian
Mountain Club
In New York
A bronze statue of Webster stands at 72nd Street in Central Park, New York City.
Daniel Webster
Daniel Webster Memorial located on Scott Circle
in Washington, D.C.
Other place names
Webster County, Kentucky bears his name.
Webster Parish in northwestern Louisiana is named for the
statesman. Its seat of government is at Minden.
Webster Township and Webster United Church of Christ of Dexter,
Washtenaw County, Michigan, are named for Webster; he is
purported to have contributed the sum of one hundred dollars to the
church's construction in 1834.
Webster, a town in Monroe County, New York, was named for him
(outside of Rochester, pop. 40,000)
Webster Groves, Missouri was named in his honor
The USS Daniel Webster, a U.S. Navy submarine
[1] Robert Vincent Remini, Daniel Webster: the man and his time (1997) p. 352
[2] Allan Nevins, Ordeal of the Union (1947) 1:288.
[3] Cheek, H. Lee, Jr. "Webster, Daniel." In Schultz, David, ed. Encyclopedia of American Law,New York: Facts On File, Inc., 2002. Facts On
File, Inc. American History Online
[4] Webster, Daniel (1814-12-09) On Conscription (http:/ / mises. org/ journals/ lar/ pdfs/ 1_2/ 1_2_5. pdf), reprinted in Left and Right: A
Journal of Libertarian Thought (Autumn 1965)
[5] [5] Remini (1999) pp 162, 208
[6] "Daniel Webster", in American Eras, Volume 5: The Reform Era and Eastern U.S. Development, 18151850, Gale Research, 1998. Student
Resource Center. Thomson Gale. June 16, 2006.
[7] [7] Baker, Thomas E. "Dartmouth College v. Woodward." In Schultz, David, ed. Encyclopedia of American Law. New York: Facts On File, Inc.,
2002. Facts On File, Inc. American History Online.
[8] O'Brien, Patrick K., gen. ed. "Dartmouth College case." Encyclopedia of World History. Copyright George Philip Limited. New York: Facts
On File, Inc., 2000. Facts On File, Inc. World History Online. Schlesinger Age of Jackson. p. 3245
[9] Encyclopdia Britannica. Retrieved June 18, 2006, from Encyclopdia Britannica Premium Service: entry (http:/ / www. britannica. com/
EBchecked/ topic/ 638631/ Daniel-Webster)
[10] Gary Collison, "'This Flagitious Offense': Daniel Webster and the Shadrach Rescue Cases, 1851-1852," New England Quarterly Vol. 68,
No. 4 (Dec., 1995), pp. 609-625 in JSTOR (http:/ / www. jstor. org/ stable/ 365877)
[11] Fergus M. Bordewich. Bound for Canaan: The Underground Railroad and the War for the Soul of America. Amistad, 2005. p. 333. ISBN
[12] [12] Ogg (1914) p 404, 407
[13] [13] Remini 1999, p.13.
[14] [14] Remini 1999, p.310.
[15] [15] Remini, p. 761
[16] Maurice G. Baxter, One and Inseparable: Daniel Webster and the Union (1984)
[17] Irving H. Bartlett, Daniel Webster (1978)
[18] Remini, Webster, p 187
[19] [19] including the reprints of 1873, 1895 and 1896 -- Scott's US Stamp Catalogue
[20] [20] Scotts US Stamp Catalogue
Daniel Webster
Bartlett, Irving H. Daniel Webster (1978) online edition (http:/ / www. questia. com/ read/ 62762183)
Baxter, Maurice G. "Webster, Daniel"; American National Biography Online Feb. 2000. online edition at
academic libraries
Baxter, Maurice G. One and Inseparable: Daniel Webster and the Union. (1984).
Current, Richard Nelson. Daniel Webster and the Rise of National Conservatism (1955), short biography
Curtis, George Ticknor. Life of Daniel Webster (1870), useful for quotations online edition vol 1 (http:/ / www.
questia. com/ read/ 96721029); online edition vol 2 (http:/ / www. questia. com/ read/ 16203820)
Fuess, Claude M. Daniel Webster. (2 vols. 1930). scholarly biography
Ogg, Frederic Austin. Daniel Webster (1914) online edition (http:/ / books. google. com/
books?id=IrREAAAAIAAJ), old scholarly biography
Peterson, Merrill D. The Great Triumvirate: Webster, Clay, and Calhoun (1983)
Remini, Robert V. Daniel Webster (1997), 796pp; the standard scholarly biography and the most important place
to start excerpt and text search (http:/ / www. amazon. com/ Daniel-Webster-Man-His-Time/ dp/ 0393045528/ )
Specialized scholarly studies
Arntson, Paul, and Craig R. Smith. "The Seventh of March Address: A Mediating Influence." Southern Speech
Communication Journal 40 (Spring 1975): 288-301.
Bartlett, Irving H. "Daniel Webster as a Symbolic Hero. New England Quarterly 45 (December 1972): 484-507.
in JSTOR (http:/ / www. jstor. org/ pss/ 364423)
Baxter, Maurice G. Daniel Webster and the Supreme Court (1966)
Birkner, Michael. "Daniel Webster and the Crisis of Union, 1850. Historical New Hampshire 37 (Summer/Fall
1982): 151-73.
Brauer, Kinley J. "The Webster-Lawrence Feud: A Study in Politics and Ambitions." Historian 29 (November
1966): 34-59.
Brown, Thomas. "Daniel Webster: Conservative Whig. In Politics and Statesmanship: Essays on the American
Whig Party, (1985) pp.4992. online (http:/ / www. questia. com/ PM. qst?a=o& d=35907993)
Carey, Robert Lincoln. Daniel Webster as an Economist. (1929). online edition (http:/ / www. questia. com/ PM.
qst?a=o& d=643615)
Dalzell, Robert F., Jr. Daniel Webster and the Trial of American Nationalism, 1843-1852. (1973).
Dubofsky, Melvyn. "Daniel Webster and the Whig Theory of Economic Growth: 1828-1848. New England
Quarterly 42 (December 1969): 551-72. in JSTOR (http:/ / www. jstor. org/ pss/ 363471)
Eisenstadt, Arthur A. "Daniel Webster and the Seventh of March. Southern Speech Journal 20 (Winter 1954):
Fields, Wayne. "The Reply to Hayne: Daniel Webster and the Rhetoric of Stewardship." Political Theory 11
(February 1983): 5-28. in JSTOR (http:/ / www. jstor. org/ stable/ 191007)
Foster, Herbert D. "Webster's Seventh of March Speech and the Secession Movement, 1850." American
Historical Review 27 (January 1922): 245-70. in JSTOR (http:/ / www. jstor. org/ pss/ 1836156)
Formisano, Ronald P. The Transformation of Political Culture: Massachusetts Parties, 1790s-1840s (1983)
Holt, Michael F. The Rise and Fall of the American Whig Party: Jacksonian Politics and the Onset of the Civil
War (http:/ / www. questia. com/ PM. qst?a=o& d=99173945) (1999), 1000pp comprehensive scholarly history
Howe, Daniel Walker. What Hath God Wrought: The Transformation of America, 1815-1848 (2007). 928pp;
survey of the political history; Pulitzer Prize
Jones, Howard. To the Webster-Ashburton Treaty: A Study in Anglo-American Relations, 1783-1843. (1977). 251
Daniel Webster
Nathans, Sydney. Daniel Webster and Jacksonian Democracy. (1973).
Nathans, Sydney. "Daniel Webster, Massachusetts Man," New England Quarterly 39 (June 1966): 161-81. in
JSTOR (http:/ / www. jstor. org/ stable/ 363276)
Nevins, Allan. Ordeal of the Union: Fruits of Manifest Destiny, 1847-1852" (1947), highly detailed narrative of
national politics.
Parish, Peter J. "Daniel Webster, New England, and the West. Journal of American History 54 (December 1967):
524-49. in JSTOR (http:/ / www. jstor. org/ pss/ 2937405)
Prince, Carl E., and Seth Taylor. "Daniel Webster, the Boston Associates, and the U.S. Government's Role in the
Industrializing Process, 1815-1830." Journal of the Early Republic 2 (Fall 1982): 283-99. in JSTOR (http:/ /
www. jstor. org/ pss/ 3122975)
Shade, William G. "The Second Party System" in Paul Kleppner ed., "Evolution of American Electoral Systems
Sheidley, Harlow W. "The Webster-Hayne Debate: Recasting New England's Sectionalism." New England
Quarterly 1994 67(1): 5-29. in Jstor (http:/ / www. jstor. org/ pss/ 366457)
Sheidley, Harlow W. "'Congress only can declare war' and `the President is Commander in Chief': Daniel Webster
and the War Power." Diplomatic History 12 (Fall 1988): 383-409.
Shewmaker, Kenneth E. "Forging the `Great Chain': Daniel Webster and the Origins of American Foreign Policy
toward East Asia and the Pacific, 1841-1852." Proceedings of the American Philosophical Society 129
(September 1985): 225-59.
Shewmaker, Kenneth E. ed. Daniel Webster: "The Completest Man. (1990), specialized studies by scholars
Simpson, Brooks D. "Daniel Webster and the Cult of the Constitution," Journal of American Culture' 15 (Spring
1992): 15-23. online in Blackwell Synergy
Smith, Craig R. "Daniel Webster's Epideictic Speaking: A Study in Emerging Whig Virtues" online edition (http:/
/ www. csulb. edu/ ~crsmith/ webepid. html)
Smith, Craig R. Daniel Webster and the Oratory of Civil Religion. (2005) 300pp
Smith, Craig R. "Daniel Webster's July 17th Address: A Mediating Influence in the 1850 Compromise,"
Quarterly Journal of Speech 71 (August 1985): 349-61.
Smith, Craig R. Defender of the Union: The Oratory of Daniel Webster. (1989).
Szasz, Ferenc M. "Daniel Webster--Architect of America's `Civil Religion'," Historical New Hampshire 34
(Fall/Winter 1979): 223-43.
Wilson, Major L. "Of Time and the Union: Webster and His Critics in the Crisis of 1850. Civil War History 14
(December 1968): 293-306. ch 1 of Wilson, Space, Time, and Freedom: The Quest for Nationality and the
Irrepressible Conflict, 1815-1861 (1974) online edition (http:/ / www. questia. com/ read/ 14321778#)
Primary sources
Select Speeches of Daniel Webster 1817-1845 edited by A. J. George, (1903) online at Project Gutenberg (http:/ /
infomotions. com/ etexts/ gutenberg/ dirs/ etext05/ 7sweb10. htm). Contains: Defence of the Kennistons; The
Dartmouth College Case; First Settlement of New England; The Bunker Hill Monument; The Reply to Hayne;
The Murder of Captain Joseph White; The Constitution Not a Compact Between Sovereign States; Speech at
Saratoga; and Eulogy on Mr. Justice Story.
The works of Daniel Webster edited in 6 vol. by Edward Everett, Boston: Little, Brown and company, 1853.
online edition (http:/ / quod. lib. umich. edu/ cgi/ t/ text/ text-idx?sid=92c15815cc33e5443a38fa6ad21dca7b&
c=moa& idno=ABK0760. 0001. 001& view=toc)
McIntyre, J.W., ed. The Writings and Speeches of Daniel Webster. 18 vols. (1903). vol 8 online (http:/ / books.
google. com/ books?id=Bc2s6jFsEDMC& dq=intitle:The+ intitle:Writings+ intitle:and+ intitle:Speeches+
intitle:of+ intitle:Daniel+ intitle:Webster& lr=& as_drrb_is=b& as_minm_is=0& as_miny_is=& as_maxm_is=0&
as_maxy_is=1910& as_brr=0)
Daniel Webster
Tefft, B. F., ed. The Speeches of Daniel Webster and His Master-Pieces. Alta ed. Philadelphia, Penn.: Porter and
Coates, 1854.
Van Tyne, Claude H., ed. The Letters of Daniel Webster, from Documents Owned Principally by the New
Hampshire Historical Society (1902). online edition (http:/ / books. google. com/ books?id=kkYsAAAAIAAJ&
dq=intitle:The+ intitle:Letters+ intitle:of+ intitle:Daniel+ intitle:Webster+ intitle:from+ intitle:Documents& lr=&
as_drrb_is=q& as_minm_is=0& as_miny_is=& as_maxm_is=0& as_maxy_is=& as_brr=0)
Webster, Fletcher, ed. The Private Correspondence of Daniel Webster. 2 vols. 1857. online edition vol 1 (http:/ /
www. questia. com/ read/ 58675408)
Wiltse, Charles M., Harold D. Moser, and Kenneth E. Shewmaker (Diplomatic papers), eds., The Papers of
Daniel Webster, (19741989). Published for Dartmouth College by the University Press of New England. ser. 1.
Correspondence: v. 1. 1798-1824. v. 2. 1825-1829. v. 3. 1830-1834. v. 4. 1835-1839. v. 5. 1840-1843. v. 6.
1844-1849. v. 7. 1850-1852ser. 2. Legal papers: v. 1. The New Hampshire practice. v. 2. The Boston practice.
v. 3. The federal practice (2 v.) -- ser. 3. Diplomatic papers: v. 1. 1841-1843. v. 2. 1850-1852ser. 4. Speeches
and formal writings: v. 1. 1800-1833. v. 2. 1834-1852.
External links
Daniel Webster Estate (http:/ / www. danielwebsterestate. org/ )
Daniel Webster: A Resource Guide (http:/ / www. loc. gov/ rr/ program/ bib/ webster/ index. html) from the
Library of Congress
Webster-Hayne debate, 1830 on nullification & tariff (http:/ / 216. 202. 17. 223/ hwdebate. htm)
The works of Daniel Webster... 6 vol, 1853 edition (http:/ / quod. lib. umich. edu/ cgi/ t/ text/
text-idx?sid=92c15815cc33e5443a38fa6ad21dca7b& c=moa& idno=ABK0760. 0001. 001& view=toc)
The private correspondence of Daniel Webster ed. by Fletcher Webster. 2v 1857 edition (http:/ / quod. lib. umich.
edu/ cgi/ t/ text/ text-idx?sid=92c15815cc33e5443a38fa6ad21dca7b& c=moa& idno=ABP5165. 0001. 001&
Daniel Webster (http:/ / bioguide. congress. gov/ scripts/ biodisplay. pl?index=W000238) at the Biographical
Directory of the United States Congress
Daniel Webster (http:/ / www. findagrave. com/ cgi-bin/ fg. cgi?page=gr& GRid=1083) at Find a Grave
Works by Daniel Webster (http:/ / www. gutenberg. org/ author/ Daniel+ Webster) at Project Gutenberg
Daniel Webster Speeches Collection (http:/ / mulibraries. missouri. edu/ specialcollections/ webster. htm) from
the University of Missouri Division of Special Collections and Rare Books
United States House of Representatives
George Sullivan
from New Hampshire's at-large congressional
Arthur Livermore
Benjamin Gorham
from Massachusetts's 1st congressional district
Benjamin Gorham
United States Senate
Elijah Mills
U.S. Senator (Class 1) from Massachusetts
Served alongside: Nathaniel Silsbee, John Davis
Rufus Choate
Rufus Choate
U.S. Senator (Class 1) from Massachusetts
Served alongside: John Davis
Robert Winthrop
Daniel Webster
Political offices
Samuel Smith
Chairperson of the Senate Committee on Finance
Silas Wright
John Forsyth
U.S. Secretary of State
Served under: William Henry Harrison, John Tyler
Abel Upshur
John Clayton
U.S. Secretary of State
Served under: Millard Fillmore
Edward Everett
Henry Clay
Henry Clay
For other people named Henry Clay, see Henry Clay (disambiguation).
Henry Clay
United States Senator
from Kentucky
In office
March 5, 1849 June 29, 1852
Preceded by Thomas Metcalfe
Succeeded by David Meriwether
In office
November 10, 1831 March 31, 1842
Preceded by John Rowan
Succeeded by John J. Crittenden
In office
January 4, 1810 March 4, 1811
Preceded by Buckner Thruston
Succeeded by George M. Bibb
In office
December 29, 1806 March 4, 1807
Preceded by John Adair
Succeeded by John Pope
9th United States Secretary of State
In office
March 4, 1825 March 4, 1829
President John Quincy Adams
Preceded by John Quincy Adams
Succeeded by Martin Van Buren
8th, 10th and 13th Speaker of the United States House of Representatives
Henry Clay
In office
March 4, 1823 March 4, 1825
Preceded by Philip Pendleton Barbour
Succeeded by John W. Taylor
In office
March 4, 1815 October 28, 1820
Preceded by Langdon Cheves
Succeeded by John W. Taylor
In office
March 4, 1811 January 19, 1814
Preceded by Joseph Bradley Varnum
Succeeded by Langdon Cheves
Member of the
U.S. House of Representatives
from Kentucky's 3rd district
In office
March 4, 1823 March 4, 1825
Member of the
U.S. House of Representatives
from Kentucky's 2nd district
In office
March 4, 1815 March 4, 1821
In office
March 4, 1813 January 19, 1814
Member of the
U.S. House of Representatives
from Kentucky's 5th district
In office
March 4, 1811 March 3, 1813
Personal details
Born April 12, 1777
Hanover County, Virginia
Died June 29, 1852 (aged75)
Washington, D.C.
Political party Democratic-Republican
National Republican
Spouse(s) Lucretia Hart Clay
Children Henrietta, Theodore, Thomas, Susan, Anne, Lucretia, Henry, Jr., Eliza, Laura, James Brown Clay, John Morrison Clay
Alma mater College of William and Mary
Profession Law
Religion Episcopalian
Henry Clay
Henry Clay, Sr. (April 12, 1777 June 29, 1852) was an American lawyer, politician, and skilled orator who
represented Kentucky in both the United States Senate and House of Representatives. He served three different terms
as Speaker of the House of Representatives and was also Secretary of State from 1825 to 1829. He lost his
campaigns for president in 1824, 1832 and 1844.
Clay was a dominant figure in both the First and Second Party systems. As a leading war hawk in 1812, he favored
war with Britain and played a significant role in leading the nation to war in the War of 1812. In 1824 he ran for
president and lost, but maneuvered House voting in favor of John Quincy Adams, who made him secretary of state
as the Jacksonians denounced what they considered a "corrupt bargain." He ran and lost again in 1832 and 1844 as
the candidate of the Whig Party, which he founded and usually dominated. Clay was the foremost proponent of the
American System, fighting for an increase in tariffs to foster industry in the United States, the use of federal funding
to build and maintain infrastructure, and a strong national bank. He opposed the annexation of Texas, fearing it
would inject the slavery issue into politics. Clay also opposed the Mexican-American War and the "Manifest
Destiny" policy of Democrats, which cost him votes in the close 1844 election. Dubbed the "Great Pacificator," Clay
brokered important compromises during the Nullification Crisis and on the slavery issue. As part of the "Great
Triumvirate" or "Immortal Trio," along with his colleagues Daniel Webster and John C. Calhoun, he was
instrumental in formulating the Missouri Compromise of 1820 and the Compromise of 1850. He was viewed as the
primary representative of Western interests in this group, and was given the names "Henry of the West" and "The
Western Star." A plantation owner, Clay held slaves during his lifetime but freed them in his will.
Abraham Lincoln, the Whig leader in Illinois, was a great admirer of Clay, saying he was "my ideal of a great man."
Lincoln wholeheartedly supported Clay's economic programs.
In 1957, a Senate Committee selected Clay as one
of the five greatest U.S. Senators, along with Daniel Webster, John C. Calhoun, Robert La Follette, and Robert Taft.
Early life and education
Henry Clay was born on April 12, 1777, at the Clay homestead in Hanover County, Virginia, in a story-and-a-half
frame house. It was an above-average home for a "common" Virginia planter of that time. At the time of his death,
Clay's father owned more than 22 slaves, making him part of the planter class in Virginia (those men who owned 20
or more slaves).
Henry was the seventh of nine children of the Reverend John Clay and Elizabeth (ne Hudson) Clay.
His father, a
Baptist minister nicknamed "Sir John," died four years after the boy's birth (1781). The father left Henry and his
brothers two slaves each, and his wife 18 slaves and 464 acres (188ha) of land. Henry Clay was a second cousin of
Cassius Marcellus Clay, who became a politician and an abolitionist in Kentucky.
The widow Elizabeth Clay married Capt. Henry Watkins, who was an affectionate stepfather. Henry Watkins moved
the family to Richmond, Virginia.
Elizabeth had seven more children with Watkins, bearing a total of sixteen.
His stepfather secured Clay employment in the office of the Virginia Court of Chancery, where the youth displayed
an aptitude for law. There he became friends with George Wythe. Hampered by a crippled hand, Wythe chose Clay
as his secretary. After Clay was employed as Wythe's amanuensis for four years, the chancellor took an active
interest in Clay's future; he arranged a position for him with the Virginia attorney general, Robert Brooke. Clay read
law by working and studying with Wythe, Chancellor of the Commonwealth of Virginia (also a mentor to Thomas
Jefferson and John Marshall, among others), and Brooke. Clay was admitted to the bar to practice law in 1797.
Henry Clay
Marriage and family
Henry Clay and his wife, the former Lucretia Hart
After beginning his law career, on April 11, 1799, Clay
married Lucretia Hart at the Hart home in Lexington,
Kentucky. She was a sister to Captain Nathaniel G. S.
Hart, who died in the Massacre of the River Raisin in
the War of 1812.
Clay and his wife had eleven children (six daughters
and five sons): Henrietta (18001801), Theodore
(18021870), Thomas (18031871), Susan
(18051825), Anne (18071835), Lucretia
(18091823), Henry, Jr. (18111847), Eliza
(18131825), Laura (18151817), James Brown
(18171864), and John (18211887).
Seven of Clay's children died before him. By 1835 all
six daughters had died of varying causes, two when
very young, two as children, the other two as young women: from whooping cough, yellow fever, and complications
of childbirth. Henry Clay, Jr. was killed at the Battle of Buena Vista during the Mexican-American War.
Lucretia Hart Clay died in 1864 at the age of 83. She is interred with her husband in the vault of his monument at the
Lexington Cemetery. Henry and Lucretia Clay were great-grandparents of the suffragist Madeline McDowell
Early law and political career
Legal career
View of Henry Clay's law office (1803-1810),
Lexington, Kentucky
In November 1797, Clay relocated to Lexington, Kentucky, the
growing town near where his family then resided in Woodford County.
He soon established a reputation for his legal skills and courtroom
Some of his clients paid him with horses and others with
land. Clay came to own town lots and the Kentucky Hotel.
By 1812, Clay owned a productive 600-acre (240ha) plantation, which
he called "Ashland," and numerous slaves to work the land.
He held
60 slaves at the peak of operations, and likely produced tobacco and
hemp, the two chief commodity crops of the Bluegrass Region.
One of Clay's clients was his father-in-law, Colonel Thomas Hart, an
early settler of Kentucky and a prominent businessman. Clay's most
notable client was Aaron Burr in 1806, after the US District Attorney Joseph Hamilton Daveiss indicted him for
planning an expedition into Spanish Territory west of the Mississippi River. Clay and his law partner John Allen
successfully defended Burr. Some years later Thomas Jefferson convinced Clay that Daveiss had been right in his
charges. Clay was so upset that many years later, when he met Burr again, Clay refused to shake his hand.
Henry Clay
State legislator
In 1803, although not old enough to be elected, Clay was appointed a representative of Fayette County in the
Kentucky General Assembly.
As a legislator, Clay advocated a liberal interpretation of the state's constitution and
initially the gradual emancipation of slavery in Kentucky, although the political realities of the time forced him to
abandon that position. Clay also advocated moving the state capitol from Frankfort to Lexington. He defended the
Kentucky Insurance Company, which he saved from an attempt in 1804 by Felix Grundy to repeal its monopolistic
First Senate appointment and eligibility
Clay's influence in Kentucky state politics was such that in 1806 the Kentucky legislature elected him to the Senate
seat of John Breckinridge. He had resigned when appointed as US Attorney General. The legislature first chose John
Adair to complete Breckinridge's term, but he had to resign over his alleged role in the Burr Conspiracy.
December 29, 1806, Clay was sworn in as senator, serving for slightly more than two months that first time.
When elected by the legislature, Clay was below the constitutionally required age of thirty. His age did not appear to
have been noticed by any other Senator, and perhaps not by Clay.
His term ended before his thirtieth birthday.
Such an age qualification issue has occurred with only two other U.S. Senators, Armistead Thomson Mason (aged 28
in 1816), and John Eaton (aged 28 in 1818). Such an occurrence, however, has not been repeated since.
In 1934,
Rush D. Holt, Sr. was elected to the Senate at the age of 29; he waited until he turned 30 (on the following June 19)
to take the oath of office. In November 1972, Joe Biden was elected to the Senate at the age of 29, but he reached his
30th birthday before the swearing-in ceremony for incoming senators in January 1973.
Speaker of the State House and duel with Humphrey Marshall
When Clay returned to Kentucky in 1807, he was elected the Speaker of the state House of Representatives.
January 3, 1809, Clay introduced a resolution to require members to wear homespun suits rather than those made of
imported British broadcloth. Two members voted against the measure. One was Humphrey Marshall, an "aristocratic
lawyer who possessed a sarcastic tongue," who had been hostile toward Clay in 1806 during the trial of Aaron Burr.
Clay and Marshall nearly came to blows on the Assembly floor, and Clay challenged Marshall to a duel. The duel
took place on January 9 in Shippingport, Kentucky. They each had three turns. Clay grazed Marshall once, just
below the chest. Marshall hit Clay once in the thigh.
Henry Clay
Second Senate appointment
In 1810, United States Senator Buckner Thruston resigned to serve as a judge on the United States Circuit Court, and
Clay was again selected to fill his seat.
Speaker of the House
Portrait by Matthew Harris Jouett, 1818
Early years
In the summer of 1811, Clay was elected to the United States
House of Representatives. He was chosen Speaker of the
House on the first day of his first session, something never
done before or since (except for the first ever session of
congress back in 1789). During the fourteen years following
his first election, he was re-elected five times to the House
and to the speakership. Like other Southern Congressmen,
Clay took slaves to Washington, DC to work in his household.
They included Aaron and Charlotte Dupuy, their son Charles
and daughter Mary Ann.
Before Clay's election as Speaker of the House, the position
had been that of a rule enforcer and mediator. Clay made the
position one of political power second only to the President of
the United States. He immediately appointed members of the
War Hawk faction (of which he was the "guiding spirit") to all
the important committees, effectively giving him control of
the House. This was a singular achievement for a 34-year-old
House freshman. During his early House service, Clay strongly opposed the creation of a National Bank, in part
because of his personal ownership in several small banks in his hometown of Lexington. Later he changed his
position and, when he was seeking the presidency, gave strong support for the Second Bank of the United States.
The War Hawks, mostly from the South and the West, resented British violations of United States (US) maritime
rights and its treatment of US sailors; they feared British designs on US territory in the Old Northwest. They
advocated a declaration of war against the British. As the Congressional leader of the Democratic-Republican Party,
Clay took charge of the agenda, especially as a "War Hawk" supporting the War of 1812 against the British Empire.
Later, as one of the peace commissioners, Clay helped negotiate the Treaty of Ghent and signed it on December 24,
1814. In 1815, while still in Europe, he helped negotiate a commerce treaty with Great Britain.
Henry Clay helped establish and became president in 1816 of the American Colonization Society, a group that
wanted to establish a colony for free American blacks in Africa; it founded Monrovia, in what became Liberia, for
that purpose. The group was made up of both abolitionists from the North, who wanted to end slavery, and
slaveholders, who wanted to deport free blacks to reduce what they considered a threat to the stability of slave
society. On the "amalgamation" of the black and white races, Clay said that "The God of Nature, by the differences
of color and physical constitution, has decreed against it."
Clay presided at the founding meeting of the ACS on
December 21, 1816, at the Davis Hotel in Washington, D.C. Attendees included Robert Finley, James Monroe,
Bushrod Washington, Andrew Jackson, Francis Scott Key, and Daniel Webster.
Henry Clay
The "American System"
Main article: American System (economic plan)
Henry Clay and John C. Calhoun helped to pass the Tariff of 1816 as part of the national economic plan Clay called
"The American System," rooted in Alexander Hamilton's American School. Described later by Friedrich List, it was
designed to allow the fledgling American manufacturing sector, largely centered on the eastern seaboard, to compete
with British manufacturing through the creation of tariffs.
After the conclusion of the War of 1812, British factories were overwhelming American ports with inexpensive
goods. To persuade voters in the western states to support the tariff, Clay advocated federal government support for
internal improvements to infrastructure, principally roads and canals. These internal improvements would be
financed by the tariff and by sale of the public lands, prices for which would be kept high to generate revenue.
Finally, a national bank would stabilize the currency and serve as the nexus of a truly national financial system.
Clay's American System ran into strong opposition from President Jackson's administration. One of the most
important points of contention between the two men was over the Maysville Road. Jackson vetoed a bill which
would authorize federal funding for a project to construct a road linking Lexington and the Ohio River, the entirety
of which would be in the state of Kentucky, because he felt that it did not constitute interstate commerce, as
specified in the Commerce Clause of the United States Constitution.
Foreign policy
In foreign policy, Clay was the leading American supporter of independence movements and revolutions in Latin
America after 1817. Between 1821 and 1826, the U.S. recognized all the new countries, except Uruguay (whose
independence was debated and recognized only later). When in 1826 the U.S. was invited to attend the Columbia
Conference of new nations, opposition emerged, and the American delegation never arrived. Clay supported the
Greek independence revolutionaries in 1824 who wished to separate from the Ottoman Empire, an early move into
European affairs.
The Missouri Compromise and 1820s
In 1820 a dispute erupted over the extension of slavery in Missouri Territory. Clay helped settle this dispute by
gaining Congressional approval for a plan called the "Missouri Compromise". It brought in Maine as a free state and
Missouri as a slave state (thus maintaining the balance in the Senate, which had included 11 free and 11 slave states),
and it forbade slavery north of 36 30' (the northern boundary of Arkansas and the latitude line) except in Missouri.
Presidential Election of 1824 and Secretary of State
Main article: Election of 1824
Henry Clay
Portrait of Henry Clay
By 1824, the unparalleled success of the Democratic-Republican Party
had driven all other parties from the field. Four major candidates,
including Clay, sought the office of president. Because of the
unusually large number of candidates receiving electoral votes, no
candidate secured a majority of votes in the electoral college.
According to the terms of the Twelfth Amendment to the United States
Constitution, the top three electoral vote-getters advanced to the runoff
in the House of Representatives. Having finished fourth, Clay was
eliminated from contention; the top three were John Quincy Adams,
Andrew Jackson and William H. Crawford. Clay, who was Speaker of
the House, supported Adams, and his endorsement ultimately secured
Adams' win in the House.
Clay used his political clout to secure the victory for Adams, who he
felt would be both more sympathetic to Clay's political views and more
likely to appoint Clay to a cabinet position. When Clay was appointed
Secretary of State, his maneuver was called a "corrupt bargain" by
many of Jackson's supporters and tarnished Clay's reputation.
Slave freedom suit
Main article: Charlotte Dupuy
As Secretary of State, Clay lived with his family and slaves in Decatur House on Lafayette Square. As he was
preparing to return to Lexington in 1829, his slave Charlotte Dupuy sued Clay for her freedom and that of her two
children, based on a promise by an earlier owner. Her legal challenge to slavery preceded the more famous Dred
Scott case by 27 years. The "freedom suit" received a fair amount of attention in the press at the time. Dupuy's
attorney gained an order from the court for her to remain in DC until the case was settled, and she worked for wages
for 18 months for Martin Van Buren, the successor to Secretary of State and the Decatur House. Clay returned to
Ashland with Aaron, Charles and Mary Ann Dupuy.
The jury ruled against Dupuy, deciding that any agreement with her previous master Condon did not bear on Clay.
Because Dupuy refused to return voluntarily to Kentucky, Clay had his agent arrest her. She was imprisoned in
Alexandria, Virginia, before Clay arranged for her transport to New Orleans, where he placed her with his daughter
and son-in-law Martin Duralde. Mary Ann Dupuy was sent to join her mother, and they worked as domestic slaves
for the Duraldes for another decade.
In 1840 Henry Clay finally gave Charlotte and her daughter Mary Ann Dupuy their freedom. He kept her son
Charles Dupuy as a personal servant, frequently citing him as an example of how well he treated his slaves. Clay
granted Charles Dupuy his freedom in 1844.
While no deed of emancipation has been found for Aron Dupuy, in
1860 he and Charlotte were living together as free black residents in Fayette County, Kentucky. He may have been
freed or "given his time" by one of Clay's sons, as Dupuy continued to work at Ashland, for pay.
Decatur House in Washington, DC, a National Historic Landmark and museum on Lafayette Square near the White
House, has exhibits on urban slavery and Charlotte Dupuy's freedom suit against Henry Clay.
Henry Clay
Senate career
The Nullification Crisis
Main article: Nullification Crisis
After the passage of the Tariff of 1828, dubbed the "tariff of abominations" which raised tariffs considerably in an
attempt to protect fledgling factories built under previous tariff legislation, South Carolina declared its right to
nullify federal tariff legislation and stopped assessing the tariff on imports. It threatened to secede from the Union if
the Federal government tried to enforce the tariff laws. Furious, President Jackson threatened to lead an army to
South Carolina and hang any man who refused to obey the law.
The crisis worsened until 1833. Clay was by that time a U.S. Senator again, having been re-elected by Kentucky in
1831. His return to the U.S. Senate, after 20 years, 8 months, 7 days out of office, marks the fourth longest gap in
service to the chamber in history.
In 1833, Clay helped to broker a deal in Congress to lower the tariff gradually. This measure helped to preserve the
supremacy of the Federal government over the states, but the crisis was indicative of the developing conflict between
the northern and southern United States over economics and slavery.
Opposition to Jackson and creation of Whig Party
Portrait of Henry Clay
After the election of Andrew Jackson, Clay led the opposition to
Jackson's policies. His supporters included the National Republicans,
who were beginning to identify as "Whigs" in honor of ancestors
during the Revolutionary War. They opposed the "tyranny" of Jackson,
as their ancestors had opposed the tyranny of King George III. Clay
strongly opposed Jackson's refusal to renew the charter of the Second
Bank of the United States, and advocated passage of a resolution to
censure Jackson for his actions.
In 1832 the National Republicans unanimously nominated Clay for the
presidency, while the Democrats nominated the sitting President
Jackson. The main issue was the policy of continuing the Second Bank
of the United States. Clay lost by a wide margin to the highly popular
Jackson (55% to 37%).
In 1840, Clay was a candidate for the Whig nomination, but he was
defeated at the party convention by supporters of war hero William Henry Harrison. Harrison was chosen because
his war record was attractive, and he was seen as more likely to win than Clay.
In 1844, Clay was nominated by the Whigs against James K. Polk, the Democratic candidate. Polk won by 170 to
105 electoral votes, carrying 15 of the 26 states. Polk's populist stances on territorial expansion figured prominently -
particularly his "5440' or fight" mantra (supporting US control over the entire Oregon Country) and his support for
the annexation of Texas. Clay opposed annexing Texas on the grounds that it would once again bring the issue of
slavery to the forefront of the nation's political dialog and would draw the ire of Mexico, from which Texas had
declared its independence in 1836. Despite Polk's populism, the election was close; New York's 36 electoral votes
proved the difference, and went to Polk by a slim 5,000 vote margin. Liberty Party candidate James G. Birney won
slightly more than 15,000 votes in New York and likely attracted votes that might have gone to Clay. His warnings
about Texas proved prescient. The US annexation of Texas led to the Mexican-American War (18461848) (in
which his namesake son died). The North and South came to increased tensions during Polk's Presidency over the
extension of slavery into Texas and beyond.
Henry Clay
The Compromise of 1850
Main article: Compromise of 1850
After losing the Whig Party nomination to Zachary Taylor in 1848, Clay decided to retire to his Ashland estate in
Kentucky. Retired for less than a year, he was in 1849 again elected to the U.S. Senate from Kentucky. During his
term, the controversy over the expansion of slavery in new lands had reemerged with the addition of the lands ceded
to the United States by Mexico in the Treaty of Guadalupe Hidalgo at the conclusion of the Mexican-American War.
David Wilmot, a Northern congressman, had proposed preventing the extension of slavery into any of the new
territory in a proposal referred to as the "Wilmot Proviso".
On January 29, 1850, Clay proposed a series of resolutions, which he considered to reconcile Northern and Southern
interests, what would widely be called the Compromise of 1850. Clay originally intended the resolutions to be voted
on separately, but at the urging of southerners he agreed to the creation of a Committee of Thirteen to consider the
measures. The committee was formed on April 17. On May 8, as chair of the committee, Clay presented an omnibus
bill linking all of the resolutions.
The resolutions included:
Admission of California as a free state, ending the balance of free and slave states in the senate.
Organization of the Utah and New Mexico territories without any slavery provisions, giving the right to determine
whether to allow slavery to the territorial populations.
Prohibition of the slave trade, not the ownership of slaves, in the District of Columbia.
A more stringent Fugitive Slave Act.
Establishment of boundaries for the state of Texas in exchange for federal payment of Texas's ten million dollar
A declaration by Congress that it did not have the authority to interfere with the interstate slave trade.
The Omnibus bill, despite Clay's efforts, failed in a crucial vote on July 31 with the majority of his Whig Party
opposed. He announced on the Senate floor the next day that he intended to persevere and pass each individual part
of the bill. Clay was physically exhausted; the tuberculosis that would eventually kill him began to take its toll. Clay
left the Senate to recuperate in Newport, Rhode Island. Stephen A. Douglas separated the bills and guided them
through the Senate.
Clay was given much of the credit for the Compromise's success. It quieted the controversy between Northerners and
Southerners over the expansion of slavery, and delayed secession and civil war for another decade. Senator Henry S.
Foote of Mississippi, who had suggested the creation of the Committee of Thirteen, later said, "Had there been one
such man in the Congress of the United States as Henry Clay in 1860'61 there would, I feel sure, have been no civil
Death and estate
Clay's estate, Ashland, in Lexington, Kentucky
Clay continued to serve both the Union he loved and his home state of
Kentucky. On June 29, 1852, he died of tuberculosis in Washington,
D.C., at the age of 75. Clay was the first person to lie in state in the
United States Capitol.
He was buried in Lexington Cemetery, and Theodore Frelinghuysen,
Clay's vice-presidential candidate in the election of 1844, gave the
eulogy. Clay's headstone reads: "I know no North no South no
East no West." Even though the 1852 pro-slavery
novel Life at
the South; or, "Uncle Tom's Cabin" As It Is, by W.L.G. Smith, is
dedicated to his memory,
Clay's Will freed all the slaves he held.
Henry Clay
Ashland, named for the many ash trees on the property, was Clay's plantation and mansion for many years. He held
as many as 60 slaves at the peak of the plantation operations. It was there he introduced the Hereford livestock breed
to the United States.
By the time of his death, his only surviving sons were James Brown Clay and John Morrison Clay, who inherited the
estate and took portions for use. For several years (18661878), James Clay allowed the mansion to be used as a
residence for the regent of Kentucky University, forerunner of the University of Kentucky and present-day
Transylvania University. Later the mansion and estate were rebuilt and remodeled by later descendants. John Clay
designated his portion of the estate as Ashland Stud, which he devoted to breeding thoroughbred horses.
Maintained and operated as a museum, today Ashland includes 17 acres (6.9ha) of the original estate grounds. It is
located on Richmond Road (US 25) in Lexington. It is open to the public (admission charged).
Henry Clay is credited with introducing the mint julep drink to Washington, D.C., at the Willard Hotel during his
residence as a senator in the city.
Monuments and memorials
Tomb in Lexington, KY
Memorial column and statue at his tomb in Lexington, Kentucky
Henry Clay statue and portrait in Virginia State Capitol in
Richmond, Virginia
Henry Clay monument in Pottsville, Pennsylvania
Clay Streets in numerous cities, including New Haven, Connecticut,
Richmond, Virginia, Vicksburg, Mississippi and Whitefish Bay,
Mount Clay in the Presidential Range of New Hampshire was
named for Clay, since renamed Mount Reagan by the state
legislature but not by the federal Board on Geographic Names
Fifteen Clay counties in the United States, in Alabama, Florida,
Georgia, Illinois, Indiana, Kansas, Minnesota, Mississippi,
Missouri, Nebraska, North Carolina, South Dakota, Tennessee,
Texas, and West Virginia. (Clay County, Iowa is named for his
Ashland Ave. in Chicago, Illinois; Ashland, Virginia, Ashland
County in Ohio and Wisconsin were named for his estate, as were the cities of Ashland in Kentucky, Alabama,
and Pennsylvania.
Ashland, Missouri, was named after Clay's Lexington, Kentucky estate, and Henry Clay Blvd was named for him
in the same city.
In New Orleans: Uptown Henry Clay Avenue, and Downtown 20-foot-tall monument erected in 1860 at
Canal Street and St, Charles/Royal Avenues, and moved to the center of Lafayette Square in 1901.
Henry Clay High School in Lexington, Kentucky,
Henry Clay Middle School in Los Angeles, California,
Henry Clay Elementary School in the Hegewisch neighborhood in Chicago, Henry Clay School in Whitefish Bay,
Wisconsin and Henry Clay Elementary School in his birthplace, Hanover County, Virginia.
The "Instituto Educacional Henry Clay" in Caracas, Venezuela, a bilingual private school
Henry Clay
Henry Clay Monument in New Orleans ca.1890
The Clay Dormitory at Transylvania University in Lexington,
The Lafayette class submarine USS Henry Clay (SSBN-625), the
only ship of the United States Navy named in his honor, although
the USS Ashland is named for his estate
Clay, New York, including the road Henry Clay Blvd.
Henry Clay Village, on the left bank of Brandywine Creek just outside Wilmington, Delaware, factory and mill
worker's residences.
Clay is one of the many senators honored with a cenotaph in the Congressional Cemetery.
Between 1870 and 1908, Clay was invariably included in the pantheon of Great Americans presented on U. S.
definitive postage stamps: he appeared on the 12 denomination in the issues of 1870, 1873 and 1879 and on the
15 denomination in the issues of 1890, 1894, 1898 and 1902. He has since been honored by the United States
Postal Service with a 3 Great Americans series postage stamp.
The town of Claysburg in central Pennsylvania is named in honor of Clay.
Cooper's Rock State Forest in West Virginia features a preserved nineteenth century iron furnace named in
commemoration of Henry Clay.
Clayville, Illinois was an active settlement during the statesman's life.
[1] Shearer Davis Bowman, "Comparing Henry Clay and Abraham Lincoln," Register of the Kentucky Historical Society. 106 (SummerAutumn
2008), 495512.
[2] [2] Van Deusen, 4.
[3] "Henry Clay" (http:/ / www. bookrags.com/ biography/ henry-clay/ ), Encyclopedia of World Biography.
[4] "Death of Henry Clay: Sketch of His Life and Public Career", New York Times. June 30, 1852, p. 1.
[5] [5] Henry Clay: Compromise and Ambition Outskirts Press 2013 Jerry Hensley page 79
[6] David S. Heidler and Jeanne T. Heidler, Henry Clay: The Essential American. (2010) pp 4851.
[7] Smucker, Isaac. "Kentucky Early History" (http:/ / books. google. com/ books?id=7xcXAAAAYAAJ& lpg=PA462& ots=KahQ1ZSt_K&
dq=Adair appointed "Henry Clay" unexpired& pg=PA462#v=onepage& q=Adair appointed "Henry Clay" unexpired& f=false), National
Magazine: A Monthly Journal of American History, Volume 12, page 462.
[8] See Finlay, Luke. "THE CASE OF HENRY CLAY.; Records of the Senate Show No Question Raised as to His Age" (http:/ / select.nytimes.
com/ gst/ abstract. html?res=F40A12F93E5B177A93C2AB178CD85F418385F9), Letter to Editor, New York Times (1935-07-20): "How can
we make a precedent of their unconscious failure to pass upon the matter?".
[9] 18011850, November 16, 1818: Youngest Senator. United States Senate. Retrieved November 17, 2007
[10] Henry Clay Famous American Biographies (http:/ / www. onlinebiographies. info/ cele/ clay-h. htm).
[11] "Aaron and Charlotte Dupuy" (http:/ / www.hathawaymuseum. org/ dupuy. html), Isaac Scott Hathaway Museum of Lexington, Kentucky.
[12] [12] Eaton (1957) p. 133.
[13] David S. Heidler and Jeanne T. Heidler, Henry Clay: The Essential American (http:/ / books. google. com/ books?id=gy8O2xY8mCUC&
pg=PA217#v=onepage& q& f=false), New York: Random House: 2010, pp. 217218, accessed 12 May 2011.
[14] Infoplease: Compromise of 1850 (http:/ / www. infoplease. com/ ce6/ history/ A0813116. html).
Henry Clay
[15] Eaton (1957) pp. 188192. Remini (1991) pp. 732750.
[16] William Y. Thompson, Robert Toombs of Georgia (Baton Rouge: Louisiana State University Press, 1966), p. 61.
[17] Eaton (1957) p. 192193. Remini (1991) pp. 756759.
[18] Remini (1991) pp. 761762.
[19] Plot description (Life at the South) (http:/ / www.iath. virginia. edu/ utc/ proslav/ smithhp. html).
[20] Book dedication (Life at the South) (http:/ / www. iath. virginia. edu/ utc/ proslav/ prfiwlgsa1t. html), University of Virginia.
[21] "Round Robin Bar" (http:/ / washington.intercontinental. com/ washa/ dining_03. html), Willard InterContinental Washington.
[22] Historical Society of Schuylkill County :: The Henry Clay Monument in Pottsville (http:/ / www. schuylkillhistory. org/ henryclay. html).
[23] Henry Clay High School Home Page (http:/ / www.henryclay. fcps. net/ ).
Baxter, Maurice G. Henry Clay and the American System (1995)
Baxter, Maurice G. Henry Clay the Lawyer (2000).
Bordewich, Fergus M. America's Great Debate: Henry Clay, Stephen A. Douglas, and the Compromise That
Preserved the Union (2012) excerpt and text search (http:/ / www. amazon. com/
Americas-Great-Debate-Compromise-Preserved/ dp/ 1439124604/ ), on Compromise of 1850
Bowman, Shearer Davis. "Comparing Henry Clay and Abraham Lincoln," Register of the Kentucky Historical
Society, 106 (SummerAutumn 2008), 495512
Brown, Thomas. Politics and Statesmanship: Essays on the American Whig Party (1985) ch 5
Eaton, Clement. Henry Clay and the Art of American Politics (1957)
Gammon, Samuel R. The Presidential Campaign of 1832 (1922) online free (http:/ / books. google. com/
books?id=pjBCAAAAIAAJ& printsec=frontcover& dq=intitle:The+ intitle:Presidential+ intitle:Campaign+
intitle:of+ intitle:1832& hl=en& sa=X& ei=TjzzT-2nN8aC2wWw4qTVAw& ved=0CDcQ6AEwAA)
Heidler, David S., and Jeanne T. Heidler. Henry Clay: The Essential American (2010), major scholarly
biography; 624pp
Holt, Michael F. The Rise and Fall of the American Whig Party: Jacksonian Politics and the Onset of the Civil
War (1999)
King, Quentin S. Henry Clay and the War of 1812 (2014), scholarly biography
Knupfer, Peter B. "Compromise and Statesmanship: Henry Clays Union." in Knupfer, The Union As It Is:
Constitutional Unionism and Sectional Compromise, 17871861 (1991), pp.11957.
Mayo, Bernard. Henry Clay, Spokesman of the West (1937)
Peterson, Merrill D. The Great Triumvirate: Webster, Clay, and Calhoun (1987)
Poage, George Rawlings. Henry Clay and the Whig Party (1936)
Remini, Robert. Henry Clay: Statesman for the Union (1991), a standard scholarly biography
Remini, Robert. At the Edge of the Precipice: Henry Clay and the Compromise That Saved the Union (2010) 184
pages; the Compromise of 1850
Schurz, Carl. Life of Henry Clay, 2 vols., 1899. Outdated biography.
Schurz, Carl (1911). "Clay, Henry". In Chisholm, Hugh. Encyclopdia Britannica (11th ed.). Cambridge
University Press.
Strahan, Randall. Leading Representatives: The Agency of Leaders in the Politics of the U.S. House. Johns
Hopkins University Press, 2007
Strahan, Randall; Moscardelli, Vincent G.; Haspel, Moshe; and Wike, Richard S. "The Clay Speakership
Revisited" Polity 2000 32(4): 561593. ISSN 0032-3497
Van Deusen, Glyndon G. The Life of Henry Clay (1937), scholarly biography
Watson, Harry L. ed. Andrew Jackson vs. Henry Clay: Democracy and Development in Antebellum America
Zarefsky, David. "Henry Clay and the Election of 1844: the Limits of a Rhetoric of Compromise" Rhetoric &
Public Affairs 2003 6(1): 7996. ISSN 1094-8392
Henry Clay
Primary sources
Clay, Henry. The Papers of Henry Clay, 17971852. Edited by James Hopkins, Mary Hargreaves, Robert Seager
II, Melba Porter Hay et al. 11 vols. University Press of Kentucky, 19591992. vol 1 online, 17971814 (http:/ /
tera-3. ul. cs. cmu. edu/ cgi-bin/ reader. pl?call=31007& search=)
Clay, Henry. Works of Henry Clay, 7 vols. (1897)
Further reading
Sargent, Epes. The Life and Public Services of Henry Clay, Down to 1848 (1852).
External links
Wikiquote has quotations related to: Henry Clay
Wikisource has original text related to this article:
Henry Clay
Media related to Henry Clay at Wikimedia Commons
Henry Clay Center for Statesmanship (HenryClayCS.org) (http:/ / www. henryclaycs. org)
Clay's Ashland Home web site (http:/ / www. henryclay. org/ mansion. htm), (HenryClay.org)
Henry Clay: A Resource Guide (http:/ / www. loc. gov/ rr/ program/ bib/ clay/ ) from the Library of Congress
Works by Henry Clay (http:/ / www. gutenberg. org/ author/ Henry+ Clay) at Project Gutenberg
Henry Clay (http:/ / bioguide. congress. gov/ scripts/ biodisplay. pl?index=c000482) at the Biographical
Directory of the United States Congress
Henry Clay (http:/ / www. findagrave. com/ cgi-bin/ fg. cgi?page=gr& GRid=203) at Find a Grave
A New Nation Votes: American Election Returns 17871825 (http:/ / elections. lib. tufts. edu/ aas_portal/ index.
xq) For Henry Clay's election results.
Henry Clay Letters, 1825-1851 (http:/ / mms. newberry. org/ xml/ xml_files/ Clay. xml) at the Newberry Library
Letters of Henry Clay (http:/ / www. familytales. org/ results. php?tla=hec)
Abraham Lincoln's Eulogy of Henry Clay (http:/ / teachingamericanhistory. org/ library/ index.
asp?document=605) at Teaching American History.Org (http:/ / teachingamericanhistory. org/ )
Booknotes interview with Robert Remini on Henry Clay: Statesman for the Union, May 5, 1992. (http:/ / www.
booknotes. org/ Watch/ 25368-1/ Robert+ Remini. aspx)
C-SPAN Q&A interview with David and Jeanne Heidler on Henry Clay: The Essential American, May 30, 2010
(http:/ / www. q-and-a. org/ Program/ ?ProgramID=1285)
"Henry Clay, Presidential Contender" (http:/ / thecontenders. c-span. org/ Contender/ 2/ Henry-Clay. aspx) from
C-SPAN's The Contenders
Texts on Wikisource:
"Clay, Henry". The New Student's Reference Work. 1914.
Carl Schurz (1900). "Clay, Henry". Appletons' Cyclopdia of American Biography.
Carl Schurz. Life of Henry Clay, 2 vols., 1899.
"Clay, Henry". Encyclopaedia Britannica 5 (9th ed.). 1878.
John C. Calhoun
John C. Calhoun
This article is about the U.S. Vice President and Senator. For others of the same name, see John Calhoun
John C. Calhoun
7th Vice President of the United States
In office
March 4, 1825 December 28, 1832
President John Quincy Adams
Andrew Jackson
Preceded by Daniel Tompkins
Succeeded by Martin Van Buren
16th United States Secretary of State
In office
April 1, 1844 March 10, 1845
President John Tyler
Preceded by Abel Upshur
Succeeded by James Buchanan
10th United States Secretary of War
In office
December 8, 1817 March 4, 1825
President James Monroe
Preceded by William Crawford
Succeeded by James Barbour
United States Senator
from South Carolina
In office
November 26, 1845 March 31, 1850
Preceded by Daniel Huger
John C. Calhoun
Succeeded by Franklin Elmore
In office
December 29, 1832 March 4, 1843
Preceded by Robert Hayne
Succeeded by Daniel Huger
Member of the U.S. House of Representatives
from South Carolina's 6th district
In office
March 4, 1811 November 3, 1817
Preceded by Joseph Calhoun
Succeeded by Eldred Simkins
Member of the South Carolina House of Representatives from Abbeville District
In office
November 28, 1808 December 19, 1809
Personal details
Born John Caldwell Calhoun
March 18, 1782
Abbeville, South Carolina, U.S.
Died March 31, 1850 (aged68)
Washington, D.C., U.S.
Resting place St. Phillips Episcopal Church in Charleston, South Carolina
Political party Democratic
Other political
(Before 1825)
Spouse(s) Floride Calhoun
Children 10
Alma mater Yale University
Tapping Reeve Law School
Religion Unitarianism, Calvinism
John Caldwell Calhoun (March 18, 1782 March 31, 1850) was a leading American politician and political
theorist during the first half of the 19th century. Hailing from South Carolina, Calhoun began his political career as a
nationalist, modernizer, and proponent of a strong national government and protective tariffs. After 1830, his views
evolved and he became a greater proponent of states' rights, limited government, nullification and free trade; as he
saw these means as the only way to preserve the Union. He is best known for his intense and original defense of
slavery as something positive, his distrust of majoritarianism, and for pointing the South toward secession from the
Calhoun built his reputation as a political theorist by his redefinition of republicanism to include approval of slavery
and minority rights, with the Southern States the minority in question. To protect minority rights against majority
rule, he called for a "concurrent majority" whereby the minority could sometimes block offensive proposals that a
State felt infringed on their sovereign power. Always distrustful of democracy, he minimized the role of the Second
Party System in South Carolina. Calhoun's defense of slavery became defunct, but his concept of concurrent
John C. Calhoun
majority, whereby a minority has the right to object to or even veto hostile legislation directed against it, has been
cited by other advocates of the rights of minorities.
Calhoun asserted that Southern whites, outnumbered in the
United States by voters of the more densely populated Northern states, were one such minority deserving special
protection in the legislature. Calhoun also saw the increasing population disparity to be the result of corrupt northern
Calhoun held major political offices, serving terms in the United States House of Representatives, United States
Senate and as the seventh Vice President of the United States (18251832), as well as secretary of war and state. He
usually affiliated with the Democrats, but flirted with the Whig Party and considered running for the presidency in
1824 and 1844. As a "war hawk", he agitated in Congress for the War of 1812 to defend American honor against
Britain. Near the end of the war, he successfully delayed a vote on US Treasury notes being issued, arguing that the
bill would not pass if the war were to end in the near future; the day of the vote, Congress received word from New
York that the war was over. As Secretary of War under President James Monroe, he reorganized and modernized the
War Department, building powerful permanent bureaucracies that ran the department, as opposed to patronage
appointees and did so while trimming the requested funding each year.
Calhoun died eleven years before the start of the American Civil War, but he was an inspiration to the secessionists
of 186061. Nicknamed the "cast-iron man" for his ideological rigidity
as well as for his determination to
defend the causes he believed in,
Calhoun supported states' rights and nullification, under which states could
declare null and void federal laws which they viewed as unconstitutional. He was an outspoken proponent of the
institution of slavery, which he defended as a "positive good" rather than as a "necessary evil".
His rhetorical
defense of slavery was partially responsible for escalating Southern threats of secession in the face of mounting
abolitionist sentiment in the North.
Calhoun was one of the "Great Triumvirate" or the "Immortal Trio" of Congressional leaders, along with his
Congressional colleagues Daniel Webster and Henry Clay. In 1957, a Senate Committee selected Calhoun as one of
the five greatest U.S. Senators, along with Henry Clay, Daniel Webster, Robert La Follette, and Robert Taft.
Calhoun "was a public intellectual of the highest order...and a uniquely gifted American politician,"
and "probably
the last American statesman to do any primary political thinking."
Origins and early life
An 1822 portrait of John C. Calhoun at the age of forty
was born in 1782, the fourth child of Patrick Calhoun
and his wife Martha Caldwell in Abbeville District, South
Carolina. His father had joined the Irish immigration from County
Donegal to the backcountry of South Carolina.
When his father became ill, 17-year-old John Calhoun quit school
to work on the family farm. With his brothers' financial support, he
later returned to his studies, earning a degree from Yale College,
Phi Beta Kappa, in 1804. After studying law at the Tapping Reeve
Law School in Litchfield, Connecticut, he was admitted to the
South Carolina bar in 1807.
John C. Calhoun
Marriage and family
J. C. Calhoun's wife from 1811, Floride Calhoun
(17921866) was the daughter of South Carolina
United States Senator and lawyer John E.
Colhoun (17501802).
In January 1811, Calhoun married Floride Bonneau Colhoun, a first
cousin once removed.
The couple had 10 children over 18 years;
three died in infancy: 1. Andrew Pickens Calhoun (18111865); 2.
Floride Pure Calhoun (18141815); 3. Jane Calhoun (18161816); 4.
Anna Maria Calhoun (18171875); 5. Elizabeth Calhoun (18191820);
6. Patrick Calhoun (18211858); 7. John Caldwell Calhoun, Jr.
(18231850); 8. Martha Cornelia Calhoun (18241857); 9. James
Edward Calhoun (18261861); and 10. William Lowndes Calhoun
(18291858). His fourth child, Anna Maria, married Thomas Green
Clemson, founder of Clemson University in South Carolina. During
her husband's second term as Vice President, Floride Calhoun was a
central figure in the Petticoat affair. She was an active Episcopalian
and Calhoun often accompanied her to church. However he was a
charter member of All Souls Unitarian Church in Washington, D.C., in
1821 signing his name right next to John Quincy Adams and remaining
a member for all his life. He rarely mentioned religion; a Presbyterian
in his early life, historians believe he was closest to the informal
Unitarianism typified by Thomas Jefferson. In Clyde Wilson's
collection of Calhoun's papers, Wilson states that his religion is known
to himself alone, although he loved to discuss religion. In a letter he
wrote to his daughter Anna Maria, Calhoun provided a clue to his
religious thought: "Do our best, our duty for our country, and leave the rest to Providence". In John C. Calhoun:
American Portrait, Margaret Coit says he was raised Calvinist, went into Unitarianism for a bit, but for most of his
life was caught between the two. Before he died, he was touched by the Great Awakening in the South, the book

Intensely serious and severe, he could never write a love poem, though he often tried, because every line began with whereas.

Historian Merrill Peterson

War Hawks and the War of 1812
Calhoun was "a high-strung man of ultra intellectual cast".
Unlike Henry Clay or Andrew Jackson, he was not
noted for charisma or charm (except when dealing with women and children).
But he was a brilliant
intellectual and orator and strong organizer. Historian Russell Kirk says "That zeal which flared like Greek fire in
Randolph burned in Calhoun, too; but it was contained in the Cast-iron Man as in a furnace, and Calhoun's passion
glowed out only through his eyes. No man was more stately, more reserved."
With a base among the Irish (or Scotch Irish), Calhoun won his first election to Congress in 1810.
immediately became a leader of the "War Hawks," along with Speaker Henry Clay and South Carolina congressmen
William Lowndes and Langdon Cheves. They disregarded European complexities in the wars between Napoleon and
Britain, and brushed aside the vehement objections of New Englanders; they demanded war against Britain to
preserve American honor and republican values.
Clay made Calhoun the acting chairman of the powerful
committee on foreign affairs. On June 3, 1812, Calhoun's committee called for a declaration of war in ringing
phrases. The episode spread Calhoun's fame nationwide. Warthe War of 1812was declared, but it went very
John C. Calhoun
badly for the poorly organized Americans, whose ports were immediately blockaded by the British Royal Navy.
Several attempted invasions of Canada were fiascos, but the U.S. did seize control of western Canada and broke the
power of hostile Indians in battles in Canada and Alabama.
Calhoun labored to raise troops, to provide funds, to speed logistics, to improve the currency, and to regulate
commerce to aid the war effort. Disasters on the battlefield made him double his legislative efforts to overcome the
obstructionism of John Randolph of Roanoke and Daniel Webster and other opponents of the war. With Napoleon
apparently gone, and the British invasion of New York defeated, British and American diplomats (Clay and John
Quincy Adams among the American delegation) signed the Treaty of Ghent on Christmas Eve, 1814. Before the
treaty reached the Senate for ratification, and even before news of its signing reached New Orleans, a massive British
invasion force was utterly defeated at the Battle of New Orleans, making a national hero out of General Andrew
Jackson. The mismanagement of the Army during the war distressed Calhoun, and he resolved to strengthen the War
Department so it would never fail again.
Calhoun as depicted in an 1881 painting by Albert
Capers Guerry displayed in the South Carolina Senate
After the war, Calhoun and Clay sponsored a Bonus Bill for public
works. With the goal of building a strong nation that could fight
future wars, Calhoun aggressively pushed for protective tariffs (to
build up industry), a national bank, internal improvements (such as
canals and ports), and other nationalist policies that he later
repudiated because the ends had been accomplished. His
repudiation of the national bank was tempered, as he suggested a
winding down period to avoid economic shock.
John Quincy Adams concluded in 1821 that: "Calhoun is a man of
fair and candid mind, of honorable principles, of clear and quick
understanding, of cool self-possession, of enlarged philosophical
views, and of ardent patriotism. He is above all sectional and
factious prejudices more than any other statesman of this Union with whom I have ever acted."
Historian Charles
Wiltse agrees, noting, "Though he is known today primarily for his sectionalism, Calhoun was the last of the great
political leaders of his time to take a sectional positionlater than Daniel Webster, later than Henry Clay, later than
Adams himself."
An observer commented that Calhoun was "the most elegant speaker that sits in the House... His gestures are easy
and graceful, his manner forcible, and language elegant; but above all, he confines himself closely to the subject,
which he always understands, and enlightens everyone within hearing; having said all that a statesman should say, he
is done." His talent for public speaking required systematic self-discipline and practice. A later critic noted the sharp
contrast between his hesitant conversations and his fluent speaking styles, adding that Calhoun "had so carefully
cultivated his naturally poor voice as to make his utterance clear, full, and distinct in speaking and while not at all
musical it yet fell pleasantly on the ear."
Secretary of War: 18171825
In 1817, President James Monroe appointed Calhoun Secretary of War, where he served until 1825. Calhoun
continued his role as a leading nationalist during the "Era of Good Feeling". He proposed an elaborate program of
national reforms to the infrastructure that would speed economic modernization. His first priority was an effective
navy, including steam frigates, and in the second place a standing army of adequate size; and as further preparation
for emergency "great permanent roads", "a certain encouragement" to manufactures, and a system of internal
taxation which would not be subject to collapse by a war-time shrinkage of maritime trade like customs duties. He
John C. Calhoun
spoke for a national bank, for internal improvements (such as harbors, canals and river navigation) and a protective
tariff that would help the industrial Northeast and, especially, pay for the expensive new infrastructure. The word
"nation" was often on his lips, and his conscious aim was to enhance national unity which he identified with national
After the war ended in 1815 the "Old Republicans" in Congress, with their Jeffersonian ideology for economy in the
federal government, sought at every turn to reduce the operations and finances of the War Department. In 1817, the
deplorable state of the War Department led four men to turn down requests to fill the Secretary of War position
before Calhoun finally accepted the task. Political rivalry, namely, Calhoun's political ambitions as well as those of
William H. Crawford, the Secretary of the Treasury, over the pursuit of the 1824 presidency also complicated
Calhoun's tenure as War Secretary.
Calhoun proposed an expansible army similar to that of France under Napoleon, whereby a basic cadre of 6,000
officers and men could be expanded into 11,000 without adding additional officers or companies. Congress wanted
an army of adequate size in case American interests in Florida or the west led to war with Britain or Spain. However
the nation was satisfied by the diplomacy that produced the Convention of 1818 with Britain and the Adams-Onis
Treaty of 1819 with Spain, the need for a large army disappeared, and Calhoun could not prevent cutbacks in 1821.
As secretary, Calhoun had responsibility for management of Indian affairs. A reform-minded modernizer, he
attempted to institute centralization and efficiency in the Indian department, but Congress either failed to respond to
his reforms or responded with hostility. Calhoun's frustration with congressional inaction, political rivalries, and
ideological differences that dominated the late early republic spurred him to unilaterally create the Bureau of Indian
Affairs in 1824. He supervised the negotiation and ratification of 38 treaties with Indian tribes.
Vice Presidency
John C. Calhoun in 1849
Calhoun originally was a candidate for President of the United States
in the election of 1824. After failing to win the endorsement of the
South Carolina legislature, he decided to be a candidate for Vice
President. Although no presidential candidate received a majority in
the Electoral College and the election was ultimately resolved by the
House of Representatives, the Electoral College elected Calhoun vice
president by a landslide. Calhoun served four years under John Quincy
Adams, and then, in 1828, won re-election as Vice President running
with Andrew Jackson. He thus became one of two vice presidents to
serve under two different presidents.
See also: Nullification (U.S. Constitution)
Under Andrew Jackson, Calhoun's vice presidency was also
controversial. In time he developed a rift over policy with President
Jackson, this time about hard cash, a policy which he considered to
favor Northern financial interests.
Calhoun opposed an increase in the protective tariff. While Vice President in the John Quincy Adams administration
(18251829), Andrew Jackson's supporters devised a high tariff legislation that placed burdensome duties on
selected New England imports. Calhoun had been assured that the northeastern interests would reject the Tariff of
1828, exposing New England (pro- Adams) congressmen to charges that they selfishly opposed legislation popular
John C. Calhoun
among Jacksonian Democrats in the west and Mid-Atlantic States. The southern legislators miscalculated and the
Tariff of Abominations passed. As Vice President during this time, Calhoun presided over the Senate and took this
role very seriously. The vote on the tariff was expected to come down to his tie-breaking vote. He claimed he would
have voted against the tariff, but his vote was not necessary.
Frustrated, Calhoun returned to his South Carolina
plantation to write "South Carolina Exposition and Protest", an essay rejecting the centralization philosophy.
Calhoun proposed the theory of a concurrent majority through the doctrine of nullification"the right of a State to
interpose, in the last resort, in order to arrest an unconstitutional act of the General Government, within its limits."
Nullification can be traced back to arguments by Thomas Jefferson and James Madison in writing the Kentucky and
Virginia Resolutions of 1798. They had proposed that states could nullify the Alien and Sedition Acts.
Jackson, who supported states' rights but believed that nullification threatened the Union, opposed it. Calhoun
differed from Jefferson and Madison in explicitly arguing for a state's right to secede from the Union, as a last resort,
in order to protect the liberty and sovereignty. James Madison rebuked supporters of nullification, stating that no
state had the right to nullify federal law.
At the 1830 Jefferson Day dinner at Jesse Brown's Indian Queen Hotel, Jackson proposed a toast and proclaimed,
"Our federal Union, it must be preserved." Calhoun replied, "the Union, next to our liberty, the most dear."
In May 1830, Jackson discovered that Calhoun had asked President Monroe to censure then-General Jackson for his
invasion of Spanish Florida in 1818. Calhoun was then serving as James Monroe's Secretary of War (18171823).
Jackson had invaded Florida during the First Seminole War without explicit public authorization from Calhoun or
Monroe. Calhoun's and Jackson's relationship deteriorated further.
Calhoun defended his 1818 position. The feud between him and Jackson heated up as Calhoun informed the
President that he risked another attack from his opponents. They started an argumentative correspondence, fueled by
Jackson's opponents, until Jackson stopped the letters in July 1830.
By February 1831, the break between Calhoun and Jackson was final. Responding to inaccurate press reports about
the feud, Calhoun had published the letters in the United States Telegraph.
More upheaval came when his wife Floride Calhoun organized Cabinet wives against Peggy Eaton, wife of Secretary
of War John Eaton.
The scandal, which became known as the "Petticoat affair" or the "Peggy Eaton affair",
ripped apart the cabinet and created an intolerable situation for Jackson. Jackson saw attacks on Eaton stemming
ultimately from the political opposition of Calhoun, and he used the affair to consolidate control over his cabinet,
forcing the resignation of several members and ending Calhoun's influence in the cabinet. Calhoun was the first vice
president in U.S. history to resign from office, doing so on December 28, 1832.
Nullification crisis
In 1832, states' rights theory was put to the test in the Nullification Crisis, after South Carolina passed an ordinance
that nullified federal tariffs. The tariffs favored northern manufacturing interests over southern agricultural concerns.
The South Carolina legislature declared them unconstitutional. Calhoun had formed a political party in South
Carolina explicitly known as the Nullifier Party.
In response to the South Carolina move, Congress passed the Force Bill, which empowered the President to use
military power to force states to obey all federal laws. Jackson sent US Navy warships to Charleston harbor, and
even talked of hanging Calhoun. South Carolina then nullified the Force Bill. Tensions cooled after both sides agreed
to the Compromise Tariff of 1833, a proposal by Senator Henry Clay to change the tariff law in a manner which
satisfied Calhoun, who by then was in the Senate. Calhoun's speech on the Force Bill is perhaps the greatest example
of his understanding of the Constitution's structure.
Calhoun had earlier suggested that the doctrine of nullification could lead to secession. In his 1828 essay "South
Carolina Exposition and Protest", Calhoun argued that a state could veto any federal law that went beyond the
enumerated powers and encroached upon the residual powers of the State.
John C. Calhoun
U.S. Senator
With his break with Jackson complete, in 1832, Calhoun ran for the Senate rather than continue as Vice President.
Because he had expressed nullification beliefs during the crisis, his chances of becoming President were very low.
After the Compromise Tariff of 1833 was implemented, the Nullifier Party, along with other anti-Jackson politicians,
formed a coalition known as the Whig Party. Calhoun sided with the Whigs until he broke with key Whig Senator
Daniel Webster over slavery, as well as the Whigs' program of "internal improvements". Many Southern politicians
opposed these as benefiting Northern industrial interests at the expense of Southern interests. Whig Party leader
Henry Clay sided with Daniel Webster on these issues.
Calhoun achieved his greatest influence and most lasting
fame as a Senator.
Calhoun led the pro-slavery faction in the Senate in the 1830s and 1840s, opposing both abolitionism and attempts to
limit the expansion of slavery into the western territories; actively anti-Wilmot Proviso. He was a major advocate of
the 1850 Fugitive Slave Law, which required the co-operation of local law enforcement officials in free states to
return escaped slaves.
Calhoun was shaped by his father, Patrick Calhoun, a prosperous upstate planter who supported Independence during
the American Revolutionary War but opposed ratification of the federal Constitution. The father was a staunch
slaveholder who taught his son that one's standing in society depended not merely on one's commitment to the ideal
of popular self-government but also on the ownership of a substantial number of slaves. Flourishing in a world in
which slaveholding was a badge of civilization, Calhoun saw little reason to question its morality as an adult. He
never visited Europe. Calhoun believed that the spread of slavery into the back country of his own state improved
public morals by ridding the countryside of the shiftless poor whites who had once held the region back.
further believed that slavery instilled in the whites who remained a code of honor that blunted the disruptive
potential of private gain and fostered the civic-mindedness that lay near the core of the republican creed. From such
a standpoint, the expansion of slavery into the backcountry decreased the likelihood for social conflict and postponed
the declension when money would become the only measure of self-worth, as had happened in New England.
Calhoun was thus firmly convinced that slavery was the key to the success of the American dream.
Whereas other Southern politicians had excused slavery as a necessary evil, in a famous speech on the Senate floor
on February 6, 1837, Calhoun asserted that slavery was a "positive good." He rooted this claim on two grounds:
white supremacy and paternalism. All societies, Calhoun claimed, are ruled by an elite group which enjoys the fruits
of the labor of a less-privileged group. Senator William Rives of Virginia earlier had referred to slavery as an evil
that might become a "lesser evil" in some circumstances. Calhoun believed that conceded too much to the
abolitionists: "I take higher ground. I hold that in the present state of civilization, where two races of different origin,
and distinguished by color, and other physical differences, as well as intellectual, are brought together, the relation
now existing in the slaveholding States between the two, is, instead of an evil, a gooda positive good... I may say
with truth, that in few countries so much is left to the share of the laborer, and so little exacted from him, or where
there is more kind attention paid to him in sickness or infirmities of age. Compare his condition with the tenants of
the poor houses in the more civilized portions of Europelook at the sick, and the old and infirm slave, on one hand,
in the midst of his family and friends, under the kind superintending care of his master and mistress, and compare it
with the forlorn and wretched condition of the pauper in the poorhouse... I hold then, that there never has yet existed
a wealthy and civilized society in which one portion of the community did not, in point of fact, live on the labor of
the other."
A year later in the Senate (January 10, 1838), Calhoun repeated this defense of slavery as a "positive
good": "Many in the South once believed that it was a moral and political evil; that folly and delusion are gone; we
see it now in its true light, and regard it as the most safe and stable basis for free institutions in the world."
Calhoun rejected the belief of Southern Whigs such as Henry Clay that all Americans could agree on the "opinion
and feeling" that slavery was wrong, although they might disagree on the most practicable way to respond to that
John C. Calhoun
great wrong. Calhoun's constitutional ideas acted as a viable conservative alternative to Northern appeals to
democracy, majority rule and natural rights.
Calhoun's home, Fort Hill, on the grounds that
became part of Clemson University, in Clemson,
South Carolina.
After a one-year service as Secretary of State (April 1, 1844 March
10, 1845), Calhoun returned to the Senate in 1845. He participated in
the political struggle over the expansion of slavery in the Western
states. Regions were divided as to whether slavery should be allowed
in the formerly Mexican lands. The debate over this issue culminated
in the Compromise of 1850.
Democratic politics
To restore his national stature, Calhoun cooperated with Jackson's
successor Martin Van Buren, who became president in 1837.
Democrats were very hostile to national banks, and the country's
bankers had joined the opposition Whig Party. The Democratic replacement was the "Independent Treasury" system,
which Calhoun supported and which went into effect. Calhoun, like Jackson and Van Buren, attacked finance
capitalism, which he saw as the common enemy of the Northern laborer, the Southern planter, and the small farmer
everywhere. His goal, therefore, was to unite these groups in the Democratic Party, and to dedicate that party to
states' rights and agricultural interests as barriers against encroachment by government and big business. Unlike
Jackson and Van Buren, Calhoun was never a true Jeffersonian. Unlike Jefferson, Calhoun rejected natural rights and
emphases on democracy, equality, and liberty.Wikipedia:Citation needed A representative of the planter aristocracy,
Calhoun rejected attempts at economic, social, or political leveling.Wikipedia:Citation needed For Calhoun,
"protection" (order) was more important than freedom.Wikipedia:Citation needed Individual rights were something
to be earned, not something bestowed by nature or God.Wikipedia:Citation needed
Foreign policy
When Whig president William Henry Harrison died after a month in office in 1841, vice president John Tyler took
office. Tyler was a former Democrat and broke bitterly with the Whigs, and named Calhoun Secretary of State in
1844, following the death of previous Secretary of State Abel P. Upshur in the USS Princeton disaster. Public
opinion was inflamed about the Oregon boundary dispute, claimed by both Britain and the U.S.. Calhoun
compromised by splitting the area down the middle at the 49th parallel, ending the war threat.
Tyler and Calhoun were eager to annex the independent Republic of Texas, which wanted to join the Union. Texas
was slave country and anti-slavery elements in the North denounced annexation as a plot to enlarge the Slave Power
(that is, the excess political power controlled by slave owners). When the Senate could not muster a two-thirds vote
to pass a treaty of annexation with Texas, Calhoun devised a joint resolution of the Houses of Congress, requiring
only a simple majority; Texas joined the Union. Mexico had warned all along that it would go to war if Texas joined
the Union; war broke out in 1846.
John C. Calhoun
The evils of war and political parties
Calhoun was consistently opposed to the war with Mexico from its very beginning, arguing that an enlarged military
effort would only feed the alarming and growing lust of the public for empire regardless of its constitutional dangers,
bloat executive powers and patronage, and saddle the republic with a soaring debt that would disrupt finances and
encourage speculation. Calhoun feared, moreover, that Southern slave owners would be shut out of any conquered
Mexican territories (as almost happened with the Wilmot Proviso).
Anti-slavery Northerners denounced the war as a Southern conspiracy to expand slavery; Calhoun saw a conspiracy
of Yankees to destroy the South. By 1847 he decided the Union was threatened by a totally corrupt party system. He
believed that in their lust for office, patronage and spoils, politicians in the North pandered to the antislavery vote,
especially during presidential campaigns, and politicians in the slave states sacrificed Southern rights in an effort to
placate the Northern wings of their parties. Thus, the essential first step in any successful assertion of Southern rights
had to be the jettisoning of all party ties. In 184849, Calhoun tried to give substance to his call for Southern unity.
He was the driving force behind the drafting and publication of the "Address of the Southern Delegates in Congress,
to Their Constituents." It listed the alleged Northern violations of the constitutional rights of the South, then warned
southern voters to expect forced emancipation of slaves in the near future, followed by their complete subjugation by
an unholy alliance of unprincipled Northerners and blacks, and a South forever reduced to "disorder, anarchy,
poverty, misery, and wretchedness." Only the immediate and unflinching unity of Southern whites could prevent
such a disaster. Such unity would either bring the North to its senses or lay the foundation for an independent South.
But the spirit of union was still strong in the region and fewer than 40% of the southern congressmen signed the
address, and only one Whig.
Southerners believed his warnings and read every political news story from the North as further evidence of the
planned destruction of the southern way of life. The climax was the election of Republican Abraham Lincoln in
1860, which led immediately to the secession of South Carolina, followed by six other cotton states. They formed the
new Confederate States of America, which, in accord with Calhoun's theory, did not have any political parties.
Rejects Compromise of 1850
The Compromise of 1850, devised by Clay and Democratic leader Stephen Douglas, was designed to solve the
controversy over the status of slavery in the vast new territories acquired from Mexico. Calhoun, back in the Senate
but too feeble to speak, wrote a blistering attack on the compromise. A friend read his speech, calling upon the
Constitution, which upheld the South's right to hold slaves; warning that the day "the balance between the two
sections" was destroyed would be a day not far removed from disunion, anarchy, and civil war. Could the Union be
preserved? It was Calhoun's view that this was easy - and required no compromise; but the Compromise passed.
John C. Calhoun
Death and burial
George Peter Alexander Healy's 1851 painting of Calhoun, with a
rare smile; on exhibit at City Hall in Charleston, South Carolina
Calhoun's grave, St. Philip's Church yard in Charleston
Calhoun died at an Old Brick Capitol boarding house in
Washington, D.C. on March 31, 1850 of tuberculosis at
the age of 68. He was interred at the St. Philip's
Churchyard in Charleston, South Carolina. During the
Civil War, a group of Calhoun's friends were concerned
about the possible ransacking of his grave and, during
the night, removed his coffin to a hiding spot under the
stairs of the church. The next night, his coffin was
buried in an unmarked grave near the church, where it
remained until 1871, when it was again exhumed and
returned to its original spot. His brick tomb was
replaced with a decorative sarcophagus provided by the
South Carolina state government in 1884.
Political philosophy
Agrarian republicanism
See also: Agrarianism
Cheek (2001) distinguishes between two strands of
American republican thoughtthe puritan tradition,
based in New England, and the agrarian or South
Atlantic tradition. Cheek argues that Calhoun is best
understood as a representative of the South Atlantic
tradition of agrarian republicanism. While the New
England tradition stressed a politically centralized
enforcement of moral and religious norms to secure
civic virtue, the South Atlantic tradition relied on a
decentralized moral and religious order based on the idea of "subsidiarity" (or localism). Cheek locates the
fundamental principles of Calhoun's republicanism in the "Kentucky and Virginia Resolutions" (1798) written by
Thomas Jefferson and James Madison. Calhoun emphasizes the primacy of the idea of subsidiarity: popular rule is
best expressed in local communities that are nearly autonomous while serving as units of a larger society.
John C. Calhoun
Concurrent majority
Undated photograph of John C. Calhoun.
Calhoun's basic concern for protecting the diverse interests of minority
interests is expressed in his chief contribution to political sciencethe
idea of a concurrent majority across different groups as distinguished
from a numerical majority. According to the principle of a numerical
majority, the will of the more numerous citizens should always rule,
regardless of the burdens on the minority. Such a principle tends
toward a consolidation of power in which the interests of the absolute
majority always prevail over those of the minority. Calhoun believed
that the great achievement of the American constitution was in
checking the tyranny of a numerical majority through institutional
procedures that required a concurrent majority, such that each
important interest in the community must consent to the actions of
government. To secure a concurrent majority, those interests that have
a numerical majority must compromise with the interests that are in the
minority. A concurrent majority requires a unanimous consent of all
the major interests in a community, which is the only sure way of
preventing majority tyranny. This idea supported Calhoun's doctrine of interposition or nullification, in which the
state governments could refuse to enforce or comply with a policy of the Federal government that threatened the
vital interests of the states.
Historian Richard Hofstadter (1948) emphasizes that Calhouns conception of "minority" was very different from the
minorities of a century later:
Not in the slightest was [Calhoun] concerned with minority rights as they are chiefly of interest to the modern
liberal mind the rights of dissenters to express unorthodox opinions, of the individual conscience against the
State, least of all of ethnic minorities. At bottom he was not interested in any minority that was not a
propertied minority. The concurrent majority itself was a device without relevance to the protection of dissent,
designed to protect a vested interest of considerable power...it was minority privileges rather than [minority]
rights that he really proposed to protect.
Calhoun was chiefly concerned with protecting the interests of the Southern States (which he largely identified with
the interests of their slaveholding elites), as a distinct and beleaguered minority among the members of the federal
Union. However the idea of a concurrent majority as a protection for minority rights has gained wide acceptance in
American political thought.
John C. Calhoun on the concurrent majority from his Disquisition (1850)
"If the whole community had the same interests, so that the interests of each and every portion would be
so affected by the action of the government, that the laws which oppressed or impoverished one portion,
would necessarily oppress and impoverish all others or the reverse then the right of suffrage, of
itself, would be all-sufficient to counteract the tendency of the government to oppression and abuse of
its powers....But such is not the case. On the contrary, nothing is more difficult than to equalize the
action of the government, in reference to the various and diversified interests of the community; and
nothing more easy than to pervert its powers into instruments to aggrandize and enrich one or more
interests by oppressing and impoverishing the others; and this too, under the operation of laws, couched
in general terms and which, on their face, appear fair and equal.....Such being the case, it necessarily
results, that the right of suffrage, by placing the control of the government in the community must ...
lead to conflict among its different interests each striving to obtain possession of its powers, as the
means of protecting itself against the others or of advancing its respective interests, regardless of the
John C. Calhoun
interests of others. For this purpose, a struggle will take place between the various interests to obtain a
majority, in order to control the government. If no one interest be strong enough, of itself, to obtain it, a
combination will be formed....[and] the community will be divided into two great parties a major and
minor between which there will be incessant struggles on the one side to retain, and on the other to
obtain the majority and, thereby, the control of the government and the advantages it confers."
Disquisition on Government
The Disquisition on Government is a 100-page abstract treatise that comprises Calhoun's definitive and fully
elaborated ideas on government; he worked on it intermittently for six years before it was finished in 1849.
systematically presents his arguments that (1) a numerical majority in any government will typically impose a
despotism over a minority unless some way is devised to secure the assent of all classes, sections, and interests
and (2) that innate human depravity would debase government in a democracy.
Calhoun offered the concurrent majority as the key to achieving consensus, a formula by which a minority interest
had the option to nullify objectionable legislation passed by a majority interest.
The doctrine would be made
effective by this tactic of nullification, a veto that would suspend the law within the boundaries of the state.
Veto power was linked to the right of secession; with secession came the threat of anarchy and social chaos.
Constituencies would call for compromise to prevent this outcome.
With a concurrent majority in place, the US
Constitution as interpreted by the Federal Judiciary would no longer exert collective authority over the various states.
According to the (Article 4, Clause 2), laws made by the federal government are the "supreme law of the land" only
when they are made "in pursuance" of the U.S. Constitution.
The mechanisms for his system are convincing if one shares Calhouns conviction that a functioning concurrent
majority never leads to stalemate in the legislature; rather, talented statesmen, practiced in the arts of conciliation and
compromise would pursue "the common good",
however explosive the issue. His formula promised to produce
laws satisfactory to all interests.
The ultimate goal of these mechanism was to facilitate the authentic will of the
white populace. Calhoun explicitly rejected the founding principles of equality in the Declaration of Independence,
denying that humanity is born free and equal in shared human nature and basic needs. He regarded this precept as
"the most false and dangerous of all political errors".
States could constitutionally take action to free themselves
from an overweening government, but slaves as individuals or interest groups could not do so.
Calhouns assumed that with the establishment of a concurrent majority, interest groups would influence their own
representatives sufficiently to have a voice in public affairs; the representatives would perform strictly as
high-minded public servants.
Under this scenario, the political leadership would improve and persist; corruption
and demagoguery would subside; and the interests of the people would be honored.
This introduces the second
theme in the Disquisition and a counterpoint to his concept of the concurrent majority: political corruption.
Calhoun considered the concurrent majority essential to provide structural restraints to counter his belief that "a vast
majority of mankind is entirely biased by motives of self-interest and that by this interest must be governed."
innate selfishness, which he viewed as axiomatic, would inevitably emerge when government revenue became
available to political parties for distribution as patronage.
John C. Calhoun
John Caldwell Calhoun ca. 1843, at 60 years of
Politicians and bureaucrats would succumb to the lure of government
lucre accumulated through taxation, tariff duties and public land sales.
Even a diminishment of massive revenue effected through nullification
by the permanent minority would not eliminate these temptations. A
robust national defense acknowledged by all interests as essential to
national security would require significant military expenditures.
These funds alone would be sufficient to entice political leaders into
abandoning the interests of their constituents in favor of serving
personal and party interests.
Calhoun predicted that electioneering, political conspiracies and
outright fraud would be employed to mislead and distract a gullible
public; inevitably, perfidious demagogues would come to rule the
political scene. A decline in authority among the principal statesmen
would follow, and, ultimately, the eclipse of the concurrent majority.
Calhoun contended that however confused and misled the masses were by political opportunists, any efforts to
impose majority rule upon a minority would be thwarted by a minority veto. What Calhoun fails to explain,
according to historian William W. Freehling, is how a compromise would be achieved in the aftermath of a minority
veto, when the ubiquitous demagogues betray their constituencies and abandon the concurrent majority altogether.
Calhoun's two key concepts the maintenance of the concurrent majority by high-minded statesmen on the one
hand; and the inevitable rise of demagogues who undermine consensus on the other are never reconciled or
resolved in the Disquisition.
South Carolina and other Southern states, in the three decades preceding the Civil War, had provided legislatures in
which the vested interests of land and slaves dominated in the upper houses, while the popular will of the numerical
majority prevailed in the lower houses. There was little opportunity for demagogues to establish themselves in this
political milieu the democratic component among the people was too weak to sustain a plebeian politician. The
conservative statesmen the slaveholding gentry retained control over the political apparatus.
William W.
Freehling described the nature of the democracy that existed in antebellum South Carolina:
[T]he apportionment of [state] legislative seats gave the small majority of low country aristocrats control
of the senate and a disproportionate influence in the house. Political power in South Carolina was
uniquely concentrated in a legislature of large property holders who set state policy and selected the men
to administer it. The characteristics of South Carolina politics cemented the control of upper class
planters. Elections to the state legislature the one control the masses could exert over the government
were often uncontested and rarely allowed the "plebian" a clear choice between two parties or policies.
This was done in conscious acceptance of the doctrine of the Disquisition.
The Disquisition was published shortly after his death as was his other book, Discourse on the Constitution and
Government of the United States.
John C. Calhoun
State Sovereignty and the "Calhoun Doctrine"
In the 1840s three interpretations of the Constitutional powers of Congress to deal with slavery in territories
emerged: the "free-soil doctrine," the "Calhoun doctrine," and "popular sovereignty". The Free Soilers said Congress
had the power to outlaw slavery in the territories. The Popular Sovereignty position said the voters living there
should decide. The Calhoun doctrine said Congress could never outlaw slavery in the territories.
In what historian Robert R. Russell calls the "Calhoun Doctrine," Calhoun argued that the Federal Government's role
in the territories was only that of the trustee or agent of the several sovereign states: it was obliged not to
discriminate among the states and hence was incapable of forbidding the bringing into any territory of anything that
was legal property in any state. Calhoun argued that citizens from every state had the right to take their property to
any territory. Congress, he asserted, had no authority to place restrictions on slavery in the territories. As
Constitutional historian Hermann von Holst noted, "Calhoun's doctrine made it a solemn constitutional duty of the
United States government and of the American people to act as if the existence or non-existence of slavery in the
Territories did not concern them in the least."
The Calhoun Doctrine was vehemently opposed by the Free Soil
forces, who merged into the new Republican Party around 1854.
Despite the opposition, Calhoun's doctrine found
a receptive audience in the Supreme Court. Chief Justice Roger Taney turned to this idea in Dred Scott v. Sandford
when he ruled that the federal government could not prohibit slavery in the territories.
Film & TV
In the 2015 film The Gettysburg Address, Calhoun is portrayed by actor Gary Busey.
See also: List of places named for John C. Calhoun
$100 bill issued by Confederate States of
America, bearing image of Calhoun, November
During the Civil War, the Confederate government honored Calhoun
on a one-cent postage stamp, which was printed in 1862 but was never
officially released.
Lake Calhoun, one lake of the Chain of Lakes in Minneapolis, was
named after Calhoun by surveyors sent by Calhoun as Secretary of
War to map the area around Fort Snelling in 1817.
Calhoun was also honored by his alma mater, Yale University, which
named one of its undergraduate residence halls "Calhoun College". A
sculpture of Calhoun appears on the exterior of Harkness Tower, a
prominent campus landmark.
The Clemson University campus in South Carolina occupies the site of Calhoun's Fort Hill plantation, which he
bequeathed to his wife and daughter. They sold it and its 50 slaves to a relative. They received $15,000 for the 1,100
acres (450ha) and $29,000 for the slaves (they were valued at about 600 USD apiece). When that owner died,
Thomas Green Clemson foreclosed the mortgage. He later bequeathed the property to the state for use as an
agricultural college to be named after him.
A wide range of places, streets and schools were named after Calhoun, as may be seen on the above list. The
"Immortal Trio" were
John C. Calhoun
John C. Calhoun, CSA issue of 1862
memorialized with streets in Uptown New Orleans. Calhoun Landing,
on the Santee-Cooper River in Santee, South Carolina, was named
after him. The Calhoun Monument was erected in Charleston, South
Carolina. The USS John C. Calhoun was a Fleet Ballistic Missile
nuclear submarine, in commission from 1963 to 1994.
In 1957, United States Senators honored Calhoun as one of the "five
greatest senators of all time".

The whole South is the grave of Calhoun.

Yankee Soldier (1865) from the title page of Margaret Coit's John C. Calhoun: Great Lives Observed (1970)
[1] [1] Safford, "John C. Calhoun, Lani Guinier, and Minority Rights," (1995)
[2] [2] Coit, 1970 p. 70-71
[3] [3] Miller, 1996, p. 115-116
[4] [4] Wilentz, 2008, p. 566, "...iron-willed personality..."
[5] [5] Ford (1998)
[6] Thomas L. Krannawitter, Vindicating Lincoln: Defending the Politics of Our Greatest President (2008), p. 232
[7] http:/ / www. mc. cc. md. us/ Departments/ hpolscrv/ jccalhoun. html
[8] The Colquhoun surname is Scottish. It is the name of the Clan Colquhoun. The Calhoun surname appears to be mostly Irish. Scottish
Colquhouns were transported to Ireland at some time in history (probably at the time of Sir William Wallace) and their name changed to
Calhoun and variants. Researchers of Calhoun should also be on the lookout for the traditional spelling of Colquhoun
[9] Margaret Coit, John C. Calhoun: An American Portrait. (1950)
[10] [10] Coit (1950)
[11] Her branch of the family spelled the surname differently from his. See A. S. Salley, The Calhoun Family of South Carolina (n.p., n.d.), p.
19. Archived at https:/ / archive. org/ details/ calhounfamilyofs00lcsall. Retrieved 27 March 2014. The name appears in various records as
"Colhoon", "Cohoon", "Calhoun", "Cahoun", "Cohoun", "Calhoon", and "Colhoun". Ibid., pp. 1, 2, 5, 6, 18, 19. In Scotland it is spelt
"Colquhoun". Ellen R. Johnson, Colquhoun/Calhoun and Their Ancestral Homelands (Heritage Books, 1993), passim.
[12] Clyde Wilson, ed. The papers of John C. Calhoun (2003) vol. 27 pp 2545 (http:/ / books. google. com/ books?id=v19nwcfWd-oC&
pg=PA254& dq=unitarian+ intitle:calhoun& cd=1#v=onepage& q=unitarian intitle:calhoun& f=false)
[13] [13] Peterson, 1988, p. 27
[14] William Montgomery Meigs, The life of John Caldwell Calhoun (1917) Volume 2 p 8
[15] Merrill D. Peterson, The Great Triumvirate: Webster, Clay, and Calhoun (1988) pp. 280, 408
[16] Richard Hofstadter, The American Political Tradition (1948) p 96
[17] Russell Kirk, The Conservative Mind (2001) p 168
[18] Michael Glazier, ed. The Encyclopedia of the Irish in America (1999) p 96
[19] Bradford Perkins, Prologue to war: England and the United States, 18051812 (1961) p 359 online (http:/ / books. google. com/
books?id=F_h69up0EEMC& pg=PA359& dq="calhoun+ replied+ to+ two"#v=onepage& q="calhoun replied to two"& f=false)
[20] [20] Wiltse (1944)
[21] Wiltse (1944), vol, 1, ch, 811,
[22] Adams, Diary, V, 361
John C. Calhoun
[23] Wiltse, John C. Calhoun: Nationalist, p. 234
[24] William Meigs, The life of John Caldwell Calhoun (1917) p. 221 ( online (http:/ / books. google. com/ books?id=_MxBAAAAIAAJ&
pg=PA221& dq=calhoun+ "manner+ forcible"& cd=1#v=onepage& q=calhoun "manner forcible"& f=false))
[25] The other was George Clinton, vice president from 1805-1812 under Thomas Jefferson and James Madison.
[26] [26] Bailey, 1971.
[27] [27] Bartlett (1994)
[28] "Report Prepared for the Committee on Federal Relations of the Legislature of South Carolina, at its Session in November, 1831," in
Calhoun, Works, Vol. VI (Crall, ed., New York, 1888), p. 96.
[29] Robert Allen Rutland, James Madison: The Founding Father (1997), pp. 248249.
[30] [30] Niven 173
[31] John C. Calhoun, 7th Vice President 18251832 (http:/ / www. senate. gov/ artandhistory/ history/ common/ generic/ VP_John_Calhoun.
htm), Senate.gov, accessed Oct 9, 2009
[32] [32] They alleged that John and Peggy Eaton had engaged in an adulterous affair while Mrs. Eaton was still legally married to her first husband.
[33] [33] John C. Calhoun, Union and Liberty: The Political Philosophy of John C. Calhoun, p. 348-49, Liberty Fund (1992)
[34] [34] Bartlett, (1994)
[35] Bartlett, John C. Calhoun (1994), p 218
[36] Bartlett, John C. Calhoun (1994), p. 228.
[37] Bartlett, John C. Calhoun (1994) p 227
[38] John Caldwell Calhoun, The Works of John C. Calhoun: Speeches ... delivered in the House ed. by Richard Kenner Crall (1853) p 180
[39] [39] Ford (1988)
[40] [40] The British area became British Columbia; the American area became Washington and Oregon.
[41] [41] Freehling (1965)
[42] [42] Cheek (2001)
[43] [43] Ford (1994)
[44] [44] Hofstadter, 1948, p. 90-91
[45] Constance Polin and Raymond Polin, eds., Foundations of American political thought (2006) p 380
[46] Bartlett, John C. Calhoun, pp. 35155
[47] Freehling, 1965, pp. 218219
[48] [48] Freehling, 1965, pp. 222-223
[49] [49] Freehling, p. 219
[50] [50] Coit, 1950, 150-151
[51] Krannawitter, Vindicating Lincoln, p. 171
[52] Krannawitter, Vindicating Lincoln, p. 174
[53] [53] Coit, 1950, 147
[54] [54] Freehling, 1965, p. 222
[55] Krannawitter, Vindicating Lincoln,, p. 166-167
[56] [56] Freehling, 1965, p. 223
[57] Krannawitter, 2008 pp. 170171
[58] [58] Coit, 1950, 149
[59] Freehling, 1965, pp. 219220
[60] Freehling, 1965, pp. 221222
[61] Freehling, 1965, pp. 225226
[62] Varon, 2008, pp. 9192
[63] [63] Brown (2000)
[64] [64] See via Google Books
[65] Don E. Fehrenbacher, Slavery, law, and politics: the Dred Scott case in historical perspective (1981) pp 64-65
[66] Hermann E. von Holst, John C. Calhoun (1883) p. 312
[67] Eric Foner, Free soil, free labor, free men: the ideology of the Republican Party before the Civil War (1970) p 178
[68] Let Us Go Back and Stand Upon the Constitution: Federal-State Relations in Scott v. Sanford, 90 Colum. L. Rev. 192-225 (1990). http:/ /
blurblawg. typepad. com/ files/ columbia_law_review90_192. pdf
[69] [69] Coit, 1970, title page
John C. Calhoun
Further reading
Bartlett, Irving H. John C. Calhoun: A Biography (1994), 413pp; Bartlett, while hostile to slavery, portrays
Calhoun as a principled, consistent, and often admirable champion of slavery and the South.
Capers, Gerald M. John C. Calhoun, Opportunist: A Reappraisal (1960) online edition (http:/ / www. questia.
com/ read/ 14322273?title=John C. Calhoun, Opportunist: A Reappraisal)
Coit, Margaret, L John C. Calhoun: American Portrait 620pp; prize winning popular history excerpt and text
search (http:/ / www. amazon. com/ dp/ 0877971854)
Current, Richard N. John C. Calhoun (1966), short biography by a scholar
Hofstadter, Richard. "The Marx of the Master Class" in The American Political Tradition and the Men Who Made
It, (1948), influential essay on Calhoun.
Meigs, William Montgomery. The Life of John Caldwell Calhoun, (2 vol 1917), old but solid scholarship;
complete text online (http:/ / books. google. com/ books?id=5ZdTh_GcPEYC& printsec=frontcover&
dq=inauthor:William+ inauthor:Meigs& num=30)
Niven, John. John C. Calhoun and the Price of Union: A Biography (1993)
Niven, John. "Calhoun, John C."; American National Biography Online Feb. 2000 (http:/ / www. anb. org/
articles/ 03/ 03-00081. html)
Peterson, Merrill D. Great Triumvirate: Webster, Clay, and Calhoun (1987), comparison of three key leaders
excerpt and text search (http:/ / www. amazon. com/ dp/ 0195056868)
Wiltse, Charles M. John C. Calhoun, Nationalist, 17821828 (1944) ISBN 0-8462-1041-X; John C. Calhoun,
Nullifier, 18291839 (1948); John C. Calhoun, Sectionalist, 18401859 (1951); the standard scholarly biography
Specialized studies
Bailey, Thomas. The American Pageant, A History of the Republic. 4th Edition. Lexington, Massachusetts: D.C.
Heath and Company, 1971.
Belko, William S. "'John C. Calhoun and the Creation of the Bureau of Indian Affairs: An Essay on Political
Rivalry, Ideology, and Policymaking in the Early Republic," South Carolina Historical Magazine 2004 105(3):
170197. ISSN 0038-3082
Brown, Guy Story. "Calhoun's Philosophy of Politics: A Study of A Disquisition on Government" (2000)
Capers Gerald M., "A Reconsideration of Calhoun's Transition from Nationalism to Nullification," Journal of
Southern History, 14 (Feb., 1948), 3448. online in JSTOR (http:/ / www. jstor. org/ stable/ 2197709)
Cheek, Jr., H. Lee. Calhoun And Popular Rule: The Political Theory of the Disquisition and Discourse. (2004)
online edition (http:/ / www. questia. com/ read/ 106760073?title=Calhoun and Popular Rule: The Political
Theory of the Disquisition and Discourse)
Ford Jr., Lacy K. Origins of Southern Radicalism: The South Carolina Upcountry, 18001860 (1988)
Coit, Margaret L. (Editor). 1970. John C. Calhoun: Great Lives Observed. Prentice-Hall, New Jersey
Ford Jr., Lacy K. "Inventing the Concurrent Majority: Madison, Calhoun, and the Problem of Majoritarianism in
American Political Thought," The Journal of Southern History, Vol. 60, No. 1 (Feb., 1994), pp.1958 in JSTOR
(http:/ / links. jstor. org/ sici?sici=0022-4642(199402)60:1<19:ITCMMC>2. 0. CO;2-D)
Ford, Lacy K. Jr. "Republican Ideology in a Slave Society: The Political Economy of John C. Calhoun," Journal
of Southern History 54 (1988): 40524; in JSTOR (http:/ / www. jstor. org/ pss/ 2208996)
Freehling, William W. "Spoilsmen and Interests in the Thought and Career of John C. Calhoun," Journal of
American History 52 (1965): 2542. in JSTOR (http:/ / www. jstor. org/ pss/ 1901122)
Gutzman, Kevin R. C., "Paul to Jeremiah: Calhoun's Abandonment of Nationalism," The Journal of Libertarian
Studies 16 (2002), 333.
John C. Calhoun
Jarvis, Douglas Edward. "The Southern Conservative Thought of John C. Calhoun and the Cultural Foundations
of the Canadian Identity," American Review of Canadian Studies, 43 (Sept. 2013), 297314
Krannawitter, Thomas L. "John C. Calhoun and the New Science of Race and Politics," in Ronald J. Pestritto and
Thomas G. West, eds. Challenges to the American founding: slavery, historicism, and progressivism in the
nineteenth century (2004) ch 2 pp 43+
Lerner, Ralph. "Calhoun's New Science of Politics," American Political Science Review, Vol. 57, No. 4 (Dec.,
1963), pp.918932 in JSTOR (http:/ / www. jstor. org/ stable/ 1952609)
Merriam, Charles E. "The Political Theory of Calhoun," American Journal of Sociology, Vol. 7, No. 5 (Mar.,
1902), pp.577594 in JSTOR (http:/ / www. jstor. org/ stable/ 2762212)
Miller, William Lee. 1996. Arguing About Slavery. John Quincy Adams and the Great Battle in the United States
Congress. New York: Vintage Books. ISBN 0-394-56922-9
Rayback Joseph G., "The Presidential Ambitions of John C. Calhoun, 18441848," Journal of Southern History,
XIV (Aug., 1948), 33156. online in JSTOR (http:/ / www. jstor. org/ stable/ 2197879)
Safford, John C. Calhoun, "Lani Guinier, and Minority Rights," PS: Political Science and Politics, Vol. 28, No. 2
(Jun., 1995), pp.211216 in JSTOR (http:/ / www. jstor. org/ stable/ 420348)
Varon, Elizabeth R. 2008. Disunion! : The coming of the American Civil War, 1789-1859 University of North
Carolina Press.
Wilentz, Sean. 2008. The Rise of American Democracy: Jefferson to Lincoln. W.W. Horton and Company. New
Wiltse, Charles. "Calhoun's Democracy," Journal of Politics, Vol. 3, No. 2 (May, 1941), pp.210223 in JSTOR
(http:/ / www. jstor. org/ stable/ 2125432)
Wood, W. Kirk, History and Recovery of the Past: John C. Calhoun and the Origins of Nullification in South
Carolina, 18191828, Southern Studies, 16 (SpringSummer 2009), 4668.
Primary sources
Calhoun, John C. John C. Calhoun: Selected Writings and Speeches edited by H. Lee Cheek, (2003) excerpt and
text search (http:/ / www. amazon. com/ dp/ 0895261790)
The Papers of John C. Calhoun Edited by Clyde N. Wilson; 28 volumes, University of South Carolina Press,
19592003. (http:/ / www. sc. edu/ uscpress/ 1993older/ calhoun. html); contains all letters, pamphlets and
speeches by Calhoun and most letters written to him.
Calhoun, John C. Slavery a Positive Good, speech on the Senate floor, February 6, 1837.
Calhoun, John C. Ed. Union and Liberty: The Political Philosophy of John C. Calhoun, 1992. ISBN
0-86597-102-1. ed by Ross M. Lence
"Correspondence Addressed to John C. Calhoun, 18371849," Chauncey S. Boucher and Robert P. Brooks, eds.,
Annual Report of the American Historical Association, 1929. 1931
External links
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John C. Calhoun
John C. Calhoun (http:/ / www. findagrave. com/ cgi-bin/ fg. cgi?page=gr& GRid=2437) at Find a Grave
Works by John C. Calhoun (http:/ / www. gutenberg. org/ author/ John+ C. + Calhoun) at Project Gutenberg
John C. Calhoun: A Resource Guide (http:/ / www. loc. gov/ rr/ program/ bib/ calhoun/ ) from the Library of
University of Virginia: John C. Calhoun (http:/ / xroads. virginia. edu/ ~CAP/ CALHOUN/ 2Ahed. html)
Timeline, quotes, & contemporaries, via University of Virginia
Other images via The College of New Jersey: (http:/ / teachpol. tcnj. edu/ amer_pol_hist/ fi/ 000000b2. htm),
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000000b1. htm)
Birthplace of Calhoun Historical Marker (http:/ / www. hmdb. org/ marker. asp?marker=10626)
The Law Offices of John C. Calhoun Monument (http:/ / www. hmdb. org/ marker. asp?marker=7352)
Collection of letters by John Calhoun (http:/ / www. familytales. org/ results. php?tla=jcc)
Disquisition on Government and other papers by John Calhoun. (http:/ / oll. libertyfund. org/
?option=com_staticxt& staticfile=show. php?title=683)
John C. Calhoun (http:/ / bioguide. congress. gov/ scripts/ biodisplay. pl?index=C000044) at the Biographical
Directory of the United States Congress
Booknotes interview with Irving Bartlett on John C. Calhoun: A Biography, September 18, 1994. (http:/ / www.
booknotes. org/ Watch/ 59608-1/ Irving+ Bartlett. aspx)
John C. Calhoun Papers at Clemson University's Special Collections Library (http:/ / media. clemson. edu/
library/ special_collections/ findingaids/ Mss/ Mss0200r. pdf)
United States House of Representatives
Joseph Calhoun
Member of the House of Representatives
from South Carolina's 6th congressional district
Eldred Simkins
Political offices
William Crawford
U.S. Secretary of War
Served under: James Monroe
James Barbour
Daniel Tompkins
Vice President of the United States
Martin Van Buren
Abel Upshur
U.S. Secretary of State
Served under: John Tyler
James Buchanan
Party political offices
Daniel Tompkins
Democratic vice presidential nominee
1824, 1828
Martin Van Buren
United States Senate
Robert Hayne
Senator (Class 2) from South Carolina
Served alongside: Stephen Miller, William Preston, George McDuffie
Daniel Huger
Daniel Huger
Senator (Class 2) from South Carolina
Served alongside: George McDuffie, Andrew Butler
Franklin Elmore
Levi Woodbury
Chairperson of the Senate Committee on Finance
Dixon Lewis
James G. Blaine
James G. Blaine
James G. Blaine
28th and 31st United States Secretary of State
In office
March 7, 1889 June 4, 1892
President Benjamin Harrison
Preceded by Thomas F. Bayard
Succeeded by John W. Foster
In office
March 7, 1881 December 19, 1881
President James A. Garfield
Chester A. Arthur
Preceded by William M. Evarts
Succeeded by Frederick T. Frelinghuysen
31st Speaker of the United States House of Representatives
In office
March 4, 1869 March 4, 1875
President Ulysses S. Grant
Preceded by Theodore M. Pomeroy
Succeeded by Michael C. Kerr
United States Senator
from Maine
In office
July 10, 1876 March 5, 1881
Preceded by Lot M. Morrill
Succeeded by William P. Frye
Member of the U.S. House of Representatives
from Maine's 3rd district
In office
March 4, 1863 July 10, 1876
Preceded by Samuel C. Fessenden
Succeeded by Edwin Flye
Personal details
James G. Blaine
Born James Gillespie Blaine
January 31, 1830
West Brownsville, Pennsylvania, U.S.
Died January 27, 1893 (aged62)
Washington, D.C., U.S.
Political party Republican
Spouse(s) Harriet Stanwood Blaine
Children Stanwood Blaine
Walker Blaine
Emmons Blaine
Alice Blaine Coppinger
James Blaine Jr
Margaret Blaine Damrosch
Harriet Blaine Beale
Alma mater Washington College
Profession Law
Religion Congregationalist
James Gillespie Blaine (January 31, 1830 January 27, 1893) was an American Republican politician who served
as United States Representative, Speaker of the United States House of Representatives, U.S. Senator from Maine,
and twice as Secretary of State. He was nominated for President in 1884, but was narrowly defeated by Democrat
Grover Cleveland. Blaine was one of the late 19th century's leading Republicans and champion of the moderate
reformist faction of the party known as the "Half-Breeds".
Blaine was born in the western Pennsylvania town of West Brownsville and after college moved to Maine where he
became a newspaper editor. Nicknamed "the Magnetic Man," he was a charismatic speaker in an era that prized
oratory. He began his political career as an early supporter of Abraham Lincoln and the Union war effort in the
American Civil War. In Reconstruction, Blaine was a supporter of black suffrage, but opposed some of the more
coercive measures of the Radical Republicans. Initially a protectionist, he later worked for a reduction in the tariff
and an expansion of American trade with foreign countries. Railroad promotion and construction were important
issues in his time, and as a result of his interest and support Blaine was widely suspected of corruption in the
awarding of railroad charters; these allegations plagued his 1884 presidential candidacy.
As Secretary of State, Blaine was a transitional figure, marking the end of an isolationist era in foreign policy and
foreshadowing the rise of the American Century that would begin with the Spanish-American War. His efforts at
expanding the United States' trade and influence began the shift to a more active American foreign policy. Blaine
was a pioneer of tariff reciprocity and urged greater involvement in Latin American affairs. An expansionist, Blaine's
policies would lead in less than a decade to the establishment of the United States' acquisition of Pacific colonies and
dominance of the Caribbean.
James G. Blaine
Early life
Family and childhood
James G. Blaine was born January 31, 1830 in West Brownsville, Pennsylvania, the third child of Ephraim Lyon
Blaine and his wife Maria Gillespie Blaine.
Blaine's father was a western Pennsylvania businessman and
landowner, and the family lived in relative comfort.
On his father's side, Blaine was descended from Scotch-Irish
settlers who first emigrated to Pennsylvania in 1745.
His great-grandfather, Ephraim Blaine, served as a
Commissary-General under George Washington in the American Revolutionary War.
Blaine's mother and her
forebears were Irish Catholics who emigrated to Pennsylvania in the 1780s.
Blaine's parents were married in 1820
in a Roman Catholic ceremony, although Blaine's father remained a Presbyterian.
Following a common
compromise of the era, the Blaines agreed that their daughters would be raised in their mother's Catholic faith while
their sons would be brought up in their father's religion.
In politics, Blaine's father supported the Whig party.
Blaine's biographers describe his childhood as "harmonious," and note that the boy took an early interest in history
and literature.
At the age of thirteen, Blaine enrolled in his father's alma mater, Washington College (now
Washington & Jefferson College), in nearby Washington, Pennsylvania.
There, he was a member of the
Washington Literary Society, one of the college's debating societies.
Blaine succeeded academically, graduating
near the top of his class and delivering the salutatory address in June 1847.
After graduation, Blaine considered
attending law school at Yale Law School, but ultimately decided against it, instead moving west to find a job.
Teacher and publisher
In 1848, Blaine was hired as a professor of mathematics and ancient languages at the Western Military Institute in
Georgetown, Kentucky.
Although he was only eighteen years old and younger than many of his students, Blaine
adapted well to his new profession.
Blaine grew to enjoy life in his adopted state and became an admirer of
Kentucky Senator Henry Clay.
He also made the acquaintance of Harriet Stanwood, a teacher at the nearby
Millersburg Female College and native of Maine.
On June 30, 1850, the two were married.
Blaine once again
considered taking up the study of law, but instead took his new bride to visit his family in Pennsylvania.
next lived with Harriet Blaine's family in Augusta, Maine for several months, where their first child, Stanwood
Blaine, was born in 1851.
The young family soon moved again, this time to Philadelphia where Blaine took a job
at the Pennsylvania Institution for the Instruction of the Blind (now Overbrook School for the Blind) in 1852,
teaching science and literature.
James G. Blaine
The offices of the Kennebec Journal,
where Blaine got his start in politics
as editor.
Philadelphia's law libraries gave Blaine the chance to at last begin to study the
law, but in 1853 he received a more tempting offer: to become editor and
co-owner of the Kennebec Journal.
Blaine had spent several vacations in his
wife's native state of Maine and had become friendly with the Journal's editors.
When the newspaper's founder, Luther Severance, retired, Blaine was invited to
purchase the publication along with co-editor Joseph Baker.
He quickly
accepted, borrowing the purchase price from his wife's brothers.
Baker soon
sold his share to John L. Stevens, a local minister, in 1854.
The Journal had
been a staunchly Whig newspaper, which coincided with Blaine's and Stevens's
political opinions.
The decision to become a newspaperman, unexpected as it
was, started Blaine on the road to a lifelong career in politics.
purchase of the Journal coincided with the demise of the Whig party and birth of
the Republican party, and Blaine and Stevens actively promoted the new party in
their newspaper.
The newspaper was financially successful, and Blaine was
soon able to invest his profits in coal mines in Pennsylvania and Virginia,
forming the basis of his future wealth.
Maine politics
Blaine's career as a Republican newspaperman led naturally to involvement in Republican party politics. In 1856, he
was selected as a delegate to the first Republican National Convention.
From the party's early days, Blaine
identified with the conservative wing, supporting Supreme Court Justice John McLean for the presidential
nomination over the more radical John C. Frmont, the eventual nominee.
The following year, Blaine was offered
the editorship of the Portland Daily Advertiser, which he accepted, selling his interest in the Journal soon
He still maintained his home in Augusta, however, with his growing family. Although Blaine's first
son, Stanwood, died in infancy, he and Harriet had two more sons soon afterward: Walker, in 1855, and Emmons, in
They would have four more children in years to come: Alice, James, Margaret, and Harriet.
It was
around this time that Blaine left the Presbyterian church of his childhood and joined his wife's religion, becoming a
member of the South Parish Congregational Church in Augusta.
In 1858, Blaine ran for a seat in the Maine House of Representatives, and was elected.
He ran for reelection in
1859, 1860, and 1861, and was successful each time by large majorities. The added responsibilities led Blaine to
reduce his duties with the Advertiser in 1860, and he soon ceased editorial work altogether.
Meanwhile, his
political power was growing as he became chairman of the Republican state committee in 1859, replacing
Blaine was not a delegate to the Republican convention in 1860, but attended anyway as an enthusiastic
supporter of Abraham Lincoln.
Returning to Maine, he was elected Speaker of the Maine House of
Representatives in 1861 and reelected in 1862.
With the outbreak of the Civil War in 1861, he supported
Lincoln's war effort and saw that the Maine Legislature voted to organize and equip units to join the Union Army.
James G. Blaine
House of Representatives, 18631876
Elected to the House
Main article: Electoral history of James G. Blaine
Blaine had considered running for the United States House of Representatives from Maine's 4th district in 1860, but
agreed to step aside when Anson P. Morrill, a former governor, announced his interest in the seat.
Morrill was
successful, but after redistricting placed Blaine in the 3rd district for the 1862 elections, he allowed his name to be
put forward.
Running on a campaign of staunch support for the war effort, Blaine was elected with an ample
majority despite Republican losses across the rest of the country.
Under the Congressional calendar of the 1860s, members of the 38th United States Congress, elected in November
1862, did not begin their work until December 1863; by the time Blaine finally took his seat that month, the Union
had turned the tide in the war with victories at Gettysburg and Vicksburg.
As a first-term congressman, he
initially said little, mostly following the administration's lead in supporting the continuing war effort.
He did clash
several times with the leader of the Republicans' radical faction, Thaddeus Stevens of Pennsylvania, firstly over
payment of states' debts incurred in supporting the war, and again over monetary policy concerning the new
greenback currency.
Blaine also spoke in support of the commutation provision of the military draft law passed in
1863 and proposed a constitutional amendment allowing the federal government to impose taxes on exports.
Reconstruction and impeachment
James G. Blaine in the 1860s
Blaine was reelected in 1864 and, when the 39th Congress assembled in
December 1865, the main issue was the Reconstruction of the defeated
Confederate States.
Although he was not a member of the committee charged
with drafting what became the Fourteenth Amendment, Blaine did make his
views on the subject known and believed that three-fourths of the non-seceded
states would be sufficient to ratify it, rather than three-fourths of all states, an
opinion that did not prevail and placed him, atypically, in the radical camp.
The Republican Congress also played a role in the governance of the conquered
South, dissolving the state governments President Andrew Johnson had installed
and substituting military governments under Congress's control.
Blaine voted
in favor of these new, harsher measures, but also supported some leniency
toward the former rebels when he opposed a bill that would have barred
Southerners from attending the United States Military Academy.
Blaine voted to impeach Johnson in 1868,
although he had initially opposed the effort.
Later, Blaine was more ambiguous about the validity of the charges
against Johnson, writing that "there was a very grave difference of opinion among those equally competent to
but at the time partisan zeal led him to follow his party's leaders.
Monetary policy
Continuing his earlier battle with Stevens, Blaine led the fight in Congress for a strong dollar. After the issuance of
150 million dollars in greenbacksnon-gold-backed currencythe value of the dollar stood at a low ebb.
bipartisan group of inflationists, led by Republican Benjamin F. Butler and Democrat George H. Pendleton, wished
to preserve the status quo and allow the Treasury to continue to issue greenbacks and even to use them to pay the
interest due on pre-war bonds.
Blaine called this idea a repudiation of the nation's promise to investors, which
was made when the only currency was gold.
Speaking several times on the matter, Blaine said that the greenbacks
had only ever been an emergency measure to avoid bankruptcy during the war.
Blaine and his hard money allies
were successful, but the issue remained alive until 1879, when all remaining greenbacks were made redeemable in
James G. Blaine
gold by the Specie Payment Resumption Act of 1875.
Speaker of the House
Blaine's residence in the capital city of Augusta is
the home of Maine governors.
With Speaker Schuyler Colfax's election to the Vice Presidency in
1868, the leadership of the House became vacant.
Blaine had only
been a member of Congress since 1863, but he had developed a
reputation for parliamentary skill and, aside from a growing feud with
Roscoe Conkling of New York, was popular with his fellow
He was elected with the unanimous vote of the
Republican members at the start of the 41st Congress in March
Blaine was an effective Speaker with a magnetic personality;
President Ulysses S. Grant valued his skill and loyalty in leading the
He enjoyed the job and made his presence in Washington
more permanent by buying a large residence on Fifteenth Street in the
At the same time, the Blaine family moved to a mansion in Augusta.
Republicans remained in control of the House in the 42nd and 43rd Congresses, and Blaine was reelected as Speaker
at the start of both of them, for a total term of six years in the Speaker's chair. His popularity continued to grow, and
Republicans dissatisfied with Grant mentioned Blaine as a potential candidate for president in 1872.
Blaine worked steadfastly for Grant's reelection, which was a success.
Blaine's growing fame brought growing
opposition from the Democrats, as well, and during the 1872 campaign he was accused of receiving bribes in the
Crdit Mobilier scandal
Blaine denied any part in the scandal, which involved railroad companies bribing federal
officials to turn a blind eye to fraudulent railroad contracts that overcharged the government by millions of
No one was able to satisfactorily prove Blaine's involvement (and the law that made the fraud possible
had been written before he was elected to Congress) but other Republicans were exposed by the accusations,
including Vice President Colfax, who was dropped from the ticket at the 1872 Republican National Convention.
Although he supported a general amnesty for former Confederates, Blaine opposed extending it to include Jefferson
Davis, and he cooperated with Grant in helping to pass the Civil Rights Act of 1875 in response to increased
violence and disenfranchisement of blacks in the South.
He refrained from voting on the anti-third term resolution
that overwhelmingly passed the House that same year, believing that to vote for it would look self-interested.
Blaine was loyal to Grant, but the scandals of the Grant administration did not taint how the public perceived him;
according to his biographer, Blaine was never more popular than when he was Speaker of the House.
Republicans saw him as an alternative to what they saw the corruption of other Republican leaders, and some even
urged him to form a new, reformist party.
Although he remained a Republican, this base of moderate reformers
remained loyal to Blaine and became known as the Half Breed faction of the party.
Blaine Amendment
Main article: Blaine Amendment
The 1874 House elections produced a Democratic majority for the 44th Congress, and Blaine's time as Speaker was
at an end.
This gave Blaine more time to concentrate on his presidential ambitions, and to develop new policy
One result was a foray into education policy. In late 1875, President Grant made several speeches on the
importance of the separation of church and state and the duty of the states to provide free public education.
saw in this an issue that would distract from the Grant administration scandals and let the Republican party regain
the high moral ground.
In December 1875, he proposed a joint resolution that became known as the Blaine
The proposed amendment codified the church-state separation Blaine and Grant were promoting, stating that:
James G. Blaine
"No State shall make any law respecting an establishment of religion, or prohibiting the free exercise thereof;
and no money raised by taxation in any State for the support of public schools, or derived from any public
fund therefor, nor any public lands devoted thereto, shall ever be under the control of any religious sect; nor
shall any money so raised or lands so devoted be divided between religious sects or denominations."
The effect was to prohibit the use of public funds by any religious school, although it did not advance Grant's other
aim of requiring states to provide public education to all children.
The bill passed the House but failed in the
Although it never passed Congress, and left Blaine open to charges of anti-Catholicism, the proposed
amendment served Blaine's purpose of rallying Protestants to the Republican party and promoting himself as one of
the party's foremost leaders.
1876 presidential election
James G. Blaine in the 1870s
Mulligan letters
Blaine entered the 1876 presidential campaign as the favorite, but his chances
were almost immediately harmed by the emergence of a scandal.
Rumors had
begun to spread in February of that year that Blaine had been involved in a
transaction with the Union Pacific Railroad in which the railroad had paid Blaine
$64,000 for some Little Rock and Fort Smith Railroad bonds he owned, even
though the bonds were nearly worthless; in essence, the alleged transaction was a
sham designed to bribe Blaine.
</ref> Blaine denied the charges, as did the
Union Pacific's directors.
Blaine claimed he never had any dealings with the
Little Rock and Fort Smith Railroad except to purchase bonds at market price,
and that he had lost money on the transaction.
Democrats in the House of
Representatives nevertheless demanded a Congressional investigation.
testimony appeared to favor Blaine's version of events until May 31, when James
Mulligan, a Boston clerk formerly employed by Blaine's brother-in-law, testified that the allegations were true, that
he had arranged the transaction, and that he had letters to prove it.
The letters ended with the damning phrase,
"Kindly burn this letter."
When the investigating committee recessed, Blaine met with Mulligan in his hotel room;
what transpired between the men is unknown, but Blaine left with the letters and refused to turn them over to the
Blaine took his case to the House floor, proclaiming his innocence and calling the investigation a partisan attack by
Southern Democrats, revenge for his exclusion of Jefferson Davis from the amnesty bill of the previous year.
now the pressure had begun to affect Blaine's health, and he collapsed while leaving church services on June 14.
Blaine's ill health combined with the lack of evidence against him garnered him sympathy among Republicans, and
when the Republican convention began in Cincinnati later that month, he was again seen as the front-runner.
James G. Blaine
Plumed Knight
Exposition Hall of Cincinnati during the
announcement of Rutherford B. Hayes as the
Republican nominee
Main article: 1876 Republican National Convention
Though he was damaged by the Mulligan letters, Blaine entered the
convention as the favorite.
Five other men were also considered
serious candidates: Benjamin Bristow, the Kentucky-born Treasury
Secretary; Roscoe Conkling, Blaine's old enemy and now a Senator
from New York; Senator Oliver P. Morton of Indiana; Governor
Rutherford B. Hayes of Ohio; and Governor John F. Hartranft of
Blaine's was nominated by Illinois orator Robert G.
Ingersoll in what became a famous speech:
This is a grand yeara year filled with recollections of the
Revolution... a year in which the people call for the man who
has torn from the throat of treason the tongue of slander, the man
who has snatched the mask of Democracy from the hideous face of rebellion... Like an armed warrior, like a
plumed knight, James G. Blaine from the state of Maine marched down the halls of the American Congress
and threw his shining lance full and fair against the brazen foreheads of every traitor to his country and every
maligner of his fair reputation.
The speech was a success and Ingersoll's appellation of "plumed knight" remained a nickname for Blaine for years to
On the first ballot, no candidate received the required majority of 378, but Blaine had the most votes, with
285 and no other candidate had more than 125.
There were a few vote shifts in the next five ballots, and Blaine
climbed to 308 votes, with his nearest competitor at just 111.
On the seventh ballot the situation shifted
drastically as anti-Blaine delegates began to coalesce around Hayes; by the time the balloting ended, Blaine's votes
had risen to 351, but Hayes surpassed him at 384, a majority.
Blaine received the news at his home in Washington and telegraphed Hayes his congratulations.
In the subsequent
contest of 1876, Hayes was elected after a contentious compromise over disputed electoral votes.
The results of
the convention had further effects on Blaine's political career as Bristow, having lost the nomination, also resigned as
Treasury Secretary three days after the convention ended.
President Grant selected Senator Lot M. Morrill of
Maine to fill the cabinet post, and Maine's governor, Seldon Connor, appointed Blaine to the now-vacant Senate
When the Maine Legislature reconvened that autumn, they confirmed Blaine's appointment and elected him
to the full six-year term that would begin on March 4, 1877.
James G. Blaine
United States Senate, 18761881
Blaine worked with President Hayes (pictured) at
times, but was never among his chief defenders in
the Senate
Blaine was appointed to the Senate on July 10, 1876, but did not begin
his duties there until the Senate convened in December of that year.
While in the Senate, he served on the Appropriations Committee and
held the chairmanship of the Committee on Civil Service and
Retrenchment, but he never achieved the role of leadership that he had
held as a member of the House.
The Senate in the 45th Congress
was controlled by a narrow Republican majority, but it was a majority
often divided against itself and against the Hayes administration.
Blaine did not number himself among the administration's defenders,
but neither could he join the Republicans led by Conklinglater
known as the Stalwartswho opposed Hayes, because of the deep
personal enmity between Blaine and Conkling.
He opposed Hayes's
withdrawal of federal troops from Southern capitals, which effectively
ended the Reconstruction of the South, but to no avail.
continued to antagonize Southern Democrats, voting against bills
passed in the Democrat-controlled House that would reduce the Army's
appropriation and repeal the post-war Force Acts he had helped
By 1879, there were only 1155 soldiers stationed in the former Confederacy, and Blaine believed that this
small force could never guarantee the civil and political rights of black Southernerswhich would mean an end to
the Republican party in the South.
Such bills passed Congress several times and Hayes vetoed them several times;
ultimately, the Force Acts remained in place, but the funds to enforce them dwindled.
On monetary issues, Blaine continued the advocacy for a strong dollar that he had begun as a Representative.
issue had shifted from debate over greenbacks to debate over which metal should back the dollar: gold and silver, or
gold alone.
In 1873, the Coinage Act of 1873 stopped the coinage of silver for all coins worth a dollar or more,
effectively tying the dollar to the value of gold. As a result, the money supply contracted and the effects of the Panic
of 1873 grew worse, making it more expensive for debtors to pay debts they had entered into when currency was less
Farmers and laborers, especially, clamored for the return of coinage in both metals, believing the
increased money supply would restore wages and property values.
Democratic Representative Richard P. Bland
of Missouri proposed a bill, which passed the House, that would require the United States to coin as much silver as
miners could sell the government, thus increasing the money supply and aiding debtors.
In the Senate, William B.
Allison, a Republican from Iowa offered an amendment to limit the silver coinage to two to four million dollars per
This was still too much for Blaine, and he denounced the bill, but the amended BlandAllison Act passed
the Senate by a 48 to 21 vote.
Hayes vetoed the bill, but Congress mustered the two-thirds vote to pass it over his
Even after the BlandAllison Act's passage, Blaine continued his opposition, making a series of speeches
against it during the 1878 congressional campaign season.
His time in the Senate allowed Blaine to develop his foreign policy ideas. He advocated expansion of the American
navy and merchant marine, which had been in decline since the Civil War.
Blaine also bitterly opposed the results
of the arbitration with Great Britain over American fishermen's right to fish in Canadian waters, which resulted in a
$5.5 million award to Britain.
Blaine's Anglophobia combined with his support of high tariffs when he initially
opposed a reciprocity treaty with Canada that would have reduced tariffs between the two nations, but by the end of
his time in the Senate he changed his mind, believing that Americans had more to gain by increasing exports than
they would lose by the risk of cheap imports.
James G. Blaine
1880 presidential election
The Interstate Exposition Building (known as the
"Glass Palace") during the convention; James A.
Garfield is on the podium, waiting to speak.
Main article: 1880 Republican National Convention
Hayes had announced early in his presidency that he would not seek
another term, which meant that the contest for the Republican
nomination in 1880 was open to all challengersincluding Blaine.
Blaine was among the early favorites for the nomination, as were
former President Grant, Treasury Secretary John Sherman of Ohio, and
Senator George F. Edmunds of Vermont.
Although Grant did not
actively promote his candidacy, his entry into the race re-energized the
Stalwarts and when the convention met in Chicago in June 1880, they
instantly polarized the delegates into Grant and anti-Grant factions,
with Blaine the most popular choice of the latter group.
Blaine was
nominated by James Frederick Joy of Michigan, but in contrast to
Ingersoll's exciting speech of 1876, Joy's lengthy oration was remembered only for its maladroitness.
After the
other candidates were nominated, the first ballot showed Grant leading with 304 votes and Blaine in second with
284; no other candidate had more than Sherman's 93, and none had the required majority of 379.
delegates could swing the nomination to either Grant or Blaine, but he refused to release them through twenty-eight
ballots in the hope that the anti-Grant forces would desert Blaine and flock to him.
Eventually, they did desert
Blaine, but instead of Sherman they shifted their votes to Ohio Congressman James A. Garfield, and by the
thirty-sixth ballot he had 399 votes, enough for victory.
Garfield placated the Stalwarts by endorsing Chester A. Arthur of New York, a Conkling loyalist, as nominee for
vice president, but it was to Blaine and his delegates that Garfield owed his nomination.
When Garfield was
elected over Democrat Winfield Scott Hancock, he turned to Blaine to guide him in selection of his cabinet and
offered him the preeminent position: Secretary of State.
Blaine accepted, resigning from the Senate on March 4,
Secretary of State, 1881
Foreign policy initiatives
Blaine saw presiding over the cabinet as a chance to preside over the Washington social scene, as well, and soon
ordered construction of a new, larger home near Dupont Circle.
Although his foreign policy experience was
minimal, Blaine quickly threw himself into his new duties.
By 1881, Blaine had completely abandoned his
protectionist leanings and now used his position as Secretary of State to promote freer trade, especially within the
western hemisphere.
His reasons were twofold: firstly, Blaine's old fear of British interference in the Americas
was undiminished, and he saw increased trade with Latin America as the best way to keep Britain from dominating
the region.
Secondly, he believed that by encouraging exports, he could increase American prosperity, and by
doing so position the Republican party as the author of that prosperity, ensuring continued electoral success.
Garfield agreed with his Secretary of State's vision and Blaine called for a Pan-American conference in 1882 to
mediate disputes among the Latin American nations and to serve as a forum for talks on increasing trade.
At the
same time, Blaine hoped to negotiate a peace in the War of the Pacific then being fought by Bolivia, Chile, and
Blaine favored a resolution that would not result in Peru yielding any territory, but Chile, which had by
1881 occupied the Peruvian capital, rejected any negotiations that would gain them nothing.
Blaine sought to
expand American influence in other areas, calling for renegotiation of the Clayton-Bulwer Treaty to allow the United
States to construct a canal through Panama without British involvement, as well as attempting to reduce British
involvement in the strategically located Kingdom of Hawaii.
His plans for the United States' involvement in the
James G. Blaine
world stretched even beyond the Western Hemisphere, as he sought commercial treaties with Korea and
Garfield's assassination
Blaine (right) was present at Garfield's
On July 2, 1881, Blaine and Garfield were walking through the Sixth
Street Station of the Baltimore and Potomac Railroad in Washington
when Garfield was shot by an assassin, Charles J. Guiteau.
a deranged man who had earlier pestered Blaine and other State
Department officials to be appointed to ambassadorships for which he
was grossly unqualified, believed that by assassinating the President he
could ingratiate himself with Vice President Arthur and receive his
coveted position.
Guiteau was captured immediately and hanged
nine months later; he survived longer than Garfield, who lingered for
two-and-a-half months, then died on September 19, 1881.
Garfield's death was not just a personal tragedy for Blaine; it also
meant the end of his dominance of the cabinet and the end of his
foreign policy initiatives.
With Arthur's ascent to the presidency,
the Stalwart faction now held sway and Blaine's days at the State
Department were numbered.
Arthur asked all of the cabinet
members to postpone their resignations until Congress recessed that
December; Blaine nonetheless tendered his resignation on October 19, 1881 but agreed to remain in office until
December 19, when his successor was in place.
Blaine's replacement was Frederick T. Frelinghuysen, a New
Jersey Stalwart.
Arthur and Frelinghuysen undid much of Blaine's work, cancelling the call for a Pan-American
conference and stopping the effort to end the War of the Pacific, but they did continue the drive for tariff reductions,
signing a reciprocity treaty with Mexico in 1882.
Private life
Blaine's mansion in Dupont Circle
Blaine began the year 1882 without a political office for the first time
since 1859.
Troubled by poor health,
</ref> he sought no
employment other than the completion of the first volume of his
memoir, Twenty Years of Congress.
Friends in Maine petitioned
Blaine to run for Congress in the 1882 elections, but he declined,
preferring to spend his time writing and supervising the move to the
new home.
His income from mining and railroad investments was
sufficient to sustain the family's lifestyle and to allow for the
construction of a vacation cottage, "Stanwood", on Mount Desert
Island, Maine, designed by Frank Furness.
Blaine appeared before
Congress in 1882 during an investigation into his War of the Pacific
diplomacy, defending himself against allegations that he owned an
interest in the Peruvian guano deposits being occupied by Chile, but otherwise stayed away from the Capitol.
The publication of the first volume of Twenty Years in early 1884 added to Blaine's financial security and thrust him
back into the political spotlight.
As the 1884 campaign loomed, Blaine's name was being circulated once more as
a potential nominee, and despite some reservations, he soon found himself back in the hunt for the presidency.
James G. Blaine
1884 presidential election
Main article: United States presidential election, 1884
Blaine/Logan campaign poster
An 1884 cartoon ridicules Blaine as the
tattooed-man with many indelible scandals.
An anti-Cleveland cartoon highlights the Halpin
Main article: 1884 Republican National Convention
In the months leading up to the 1884 convention, Blaine was once
more considered the favorite for the nomination, but President Arthur
was contemplating a run for election in his own right.
Edmunds was again the favored candidate among reformers and John
Sherman had a few delegates pledged to him, but neither was expected
to command much support at the convention.
John A. Logan of
Illinois hoped to attract Stalwart votes if Arthur's campaign was
unsuccessful. Blaine was unsure he wanted to try for the nomination
for the third time and even encouraged General William T. Sherman
(John Sherman's older brother) to accept it if it came to him, but
ultimately Blaine agreed to be a candidate again.
William H. West of Ohio nominated Blaine with an enthusiastic speech
and after the first ballot, Blaine led the count with 334 votes.
While short of the necessary 417 for nomination, Blaine had far more
than any other candidate with Arthur in second place at 278 votes.
Blaine was unacceptable to the Arthur delegates just as Blaine's own
delegates would never vote for the President, so the contest was
between the two for the delegates of the remaining candidates.
Blaine's total steadily increased as Logan and Sherman withdrew in his
favor and some of the Edmunds delegates defected to him.
in previous conventions, the momentum for Blaine in 1884 would not
be halted.
On the fourth ballot, Blaine received 541 votes and was,
at last, nominated.
Logan was named vice presidential nominee on
the first ballot, and the Republicans had their ticket.
Campaign against Cleveland
The Democrats held their convention in Chicago the following month
and nominated Governor Grover Cleveland of New York. Cleveland's
time on the national scene was brief, but Democrats hoped that his
reputation as a reformer and an opponent of corruption would attract
Republicans dissatisfied with Blaine and his reputation for scandal.
They were correct, as reform-minded Republicans (called "Mugwumps") denounced Blaine as corrupt and flocked to
The Mugwumps, including such men as Carl Schurz and Henry Ward Beecher, were more concerned
with morality than with party, and felt Cleveland was a kindred soul who would promote civil service reform and
fight for efficiency in government.
However, even as the Democrats gained support from the Mugwumps, they
lost some blue-collar workers to the Greenback-Labor party, led by Benjamin F. Butler, Blaine's antagonist from
their early days in the House.
The campaign focused on the candidates' personalities, as each candidate's supporters cast aspersions on their
opponents. Cleveland's supporters rehashed the old allegations from the Mulligan letters that Blaine had corruptly
James G. Blaine
influenced legislation in favor of railroads, later profiting on the sale of bonds he owned in both companies.
Although the stories of Blaine's favors to the railroads had made the rounds eight years earlier, this time more of his
correspondence was discovered, making his earlier denials less plausible.
Blaine acknowledged that the letters
were genuine, but denied that anything in them impugned his integrity or contradicted his earlier explanations.
Nevertheless, what Blaine described as "stale slander" served to focus the public's attention negatively on his
On some of the most damaging correspondence, Blaine had written "Burn this letter," giving
Democrats the last line to their rallying cry: "Blaine, Blaine, James G. Blaine, the continental liar from the state of
Maine, 'Burn this letter!"
To counter Cleveland's image of superior morality, Republicans discovered reports that Cleveland had fathered an
illegitimate child while he was a lawyer in Buffalo, New York, and chanted "Ma, Ma, where's my Pa?". (To which
the Democrats, after Cleveland had been elected, appended: "Gone to the White House, Ha! Ha! Ha!")
Cleveland admitted to paying child support in 1874 to Maria Crofts Halpin, the woman who claimed he fathered her
child named Oscar Folsom Cleveland.
Halpin was involved with several men at the time, including Cleveland's
friend and law partner, Oscar Folsom, for whom the child was also named.
Cleveland did not know which man
was the father, and is believed to have assumed responsibility because he was the only bachelor among them.
the same time, Democratic operatives accused Blaine and his wife of not having been married when their eldest son,
Stanwood, was born in 1851; this rumor was false, however, and caused little excitement in the
Both candidates believed that the states of New York, New Jersey, Indiana, and Connecticut would determine the
In New York, Blaine received less support than he anticipated when Arthur and Conkling, still
powerful in the New York Republican party, failed to actively campaign for him.
Blaine hoped that he would
have more support from Irish Americans than Republicans typically did; while the Irish were mainly a Democratic
constituency in the 19th century, Blaine's mother was Irish Catholic, and he believed his career-long opposition to
the British government would resonate with the Irish.
Blaine's hope for Irish defections to the Republican
standard were dashed late in the campaign when one of his supporters, Samuel D. Burchard, gave a speech
denouncing the Democrats as the party of "Rum, Romanism, and Rebellion".
The Democrats spread the word of
this insult in the days before the election, and Cleveland narrowly won all four of the swing states, including New
York by just over one thousand votes. While the popular vote total was close, with Cleveland winning by just
one-quarter of a percent, the electoral votes gave Cleveland a majority of 219182.
Party leader in exile
Blaine, Benjamin Harrison, and Henry Cabot
Lodge and their families on vacation in Bar
Harbor, Maine.
Blaine accepted his narrow defeat and spent most of the next year
working on the second volume of Twenty Years of Congress.
book continued to earn him enough money to support his lavish
household and pay off his debts.
Although he spoke to friends of
retiring from politics, Blaine still attended dinners and commented on
the Cleveland administration's policies.
By the time of the 1886
Congressional elections, Blaine was giving speeches and promoting
Republican candidates, especially in his home state of Maine.
Republicans were successful in Maine, and after the Maine elections in
September, Blaine went on a speaking tour from Pennsylvania to
Tennessee, hoping to boost the prospects of Republican candidates
Republicans were less successful nationwide, gaining seats
in the House while losing seats in the Senate, but Blaine's speeches kept him and his opinions in the spotlight.
Blaine and his wife and daughters sailed for Europe in June 1887, visiting England, Ireland, Germany, France,
Austria-Hungary, and finally Scotland, where they stayed at the summer home of Andrew Carnegie.
While in
James G. Blaine
France, Blaine wrote a letter to the New-York Tribune criticizing Cleveland's plans to reduce the tariff, saying that
free trade with Europe would impoverish American workers and farmers.
The family returned to the United
States in August 1887.
His letter in the Tribune had raised his political profile even higher, and by 1888
Theodore Roosevelt and Henry Cabot Lodge, both former opponents, urged Blaine to run against Cleveland
Opinion within the party was overwhelmingly in favor of renominating Blaine.
As state conventions drew nearer, Blaine announced that he would not be a candidate.
His supporters doubted
his sincerity and continued to encourage him to run, but Blaine still demurred.
Hoping to make his intentions
clear, Blaine left the country and was staying with Carnegie in Scotland when the 1888 Republican National
Convention began in Chicago.
Carnegie encouraged Blaine to accept if the convention nominated him, but the
delegates finally accepted Blaine's refusal.
John Sherman was the most prominent candidate and sought to attract
the Blaine supporters to his candidacy, but instead found them flocking to Benjamin Harrison of Indiana after a
telegram from Carnegie suggested that Blaine favored him.
Blaine returned to the United States in August 1888
and visited Harrison at his home in October, where twenty-five thousand residents paraded in Blaine's honor.
Harrison defeated Cleveland in a close election, and offered Blaine his former position as Secretary of State.
Secretary of State, 18891892
Blaine in his office, 1890
Harrison had developed his foreign policy based largely on Blaine's
ideas, and at the start of his term, Harrison and Blaine had very similar
views on the United States' place in the world.
In spite of their
shared worldview, however, the two men became personally
unfriendly as the term went on.
Harrison was conscious that his
Secretary of State was more popular than he, and while he admired
Blaine's gift for diplomacy, he grew displeased with Blaine's frequent
absence from his post because of illness, and suspected that Blaine was
angling for the presidential nomination in 1892.
Harrison tried to
limit how many "Blaine men" filled subordinate positions in the State
Department and denied Blaine's request that his son, Walker, be
appointed First Assistant Secretary, instead naming him Solicitor of the Department of State.
Despite the
growing personal rancor, the two men continued, with one exception, to agree on the foreign policy questions of the
Pacific diplomacy
Blaine and Harrison wished to see American power and trade expanded across the Pacific and were especially
interested in securing rights to harbors in Pearl Harbor, Hawaii, and Pago Pago, Samoa.
When Blaine entered
office, the United States, Great Britain, and the German Empire were disputing their respective rights in Samoa.
Thomas F. Bayard, Blaine's predecessor, had accepted an invitation to a three-party conference in Berlin aimed at
resolving the dispute, and Blaine appointed American representatives to attend.
The result was a treaty that
created a condominium among the three powers, allowing all of them access to the harbor.
In Hawaii, Blaine worked to bind the kingdom more closely to the United States and to avoid its becoming a British
When the McKinley Tariff of 1890 eliminated the duty on sugar, Hawaiian sugar-growers looked
for a way to retain their once-exclusive access to the American market.
The Hawaiian minister to the United
States, Henry A. P. Carter, tried to arrange for Hawaii have complete trade reciprocity with the United States, but
Blaine proposed instead that Hawaii become an American protectorate; Carter favored the idea, but the Hawaiian
king, Kalkaua, rejected the infringement on his sovereignty.
Blaine next procured the appointment of his former
newspaper colleague John L. Stevens as minister to Hawaii.
Stevens had long believed that the United States
should annex Hawaii, and as minister he co-operated with Americans living in Hawaii in their efforts to bring about
James G. Blaine
Their efforts ultimately culminated in a coup d'tat against Kalkaua's successor, Liliuokalani, in
Blaine's precise involvement is undocumented, but the results of Stevens's diplomacy were in accord with
his ambitions for American power in the region.
The new government petitioned the United States for
annexation, but by that time Blaine was no longer in office.
Latin America and reciprocity
Soon after taking office, Blaine revived his old idea of an international conference of western hemisphere
The result was the First International Conference of American States, which met in Washington in
Blaine and Harrison had high hopes for the conference, including proposals for a customs union, a
pan-American railroad line, and an arbitration process to settle disputes among member nations.
Their overall
goal was to extend trade and political influence over the entire hemisphere; some of the other nations understood this
and were wary of deepening ties with the United States to the exclusion of European powers.
Blaine said
publicly that his only interest was in "annexation of trade," not annexation of territory, but privately he wrote to
Harrison of a desire for some territorial enlargement of the United States:
"I think there are only three places that are of value enough to be taken... One is Hawaii and the others are
Cuba and Porto Rico [sic]. Cuba and Porto Rico are not now imminent and will not be for a generation.
Hawaii may come up for decision at an unexpected hour and I hope we shall be prepared to decide it in the
Congress was not as enthusiastic about a customs union as Blaine and Harrison were, but tariff reciprocity provisions
were ultimately included in the McKinley Tariff that reduced duties on some inter-American trade.
the conference achieved none of Blaine's goals in the short-term, but did lead to further communication and what
would eventually become the Organization of American States.
Sailors from the USS Baltimore caused the major
foreign affairs crisis of Blaine's second term as
Secretary of State.
In 1891, a diplomatic crisis arose in Chile that drove a wedge between
Harrison and Blaine. The American minister to Chile, Patrick Egan, a
political friend of Blaine's, granted asylum to Chileans who were
seeking refuge from the Chilean Civil War.
Chile was already
suspicious of Blaine because of his War of the Pacific diplomacy ten
years earlier, and this incident raised tensions even further.
sailors from the Baltimore took shore leave in Valparaiso, a fight broke
out, resulting in the deaths of two American sailors and three dozen
When the news reached Washington, Blaine was in Bar
Harbor recuperating from a bout of ill health and Harrison himself
drafted a demand for reparations.
The Chilean foreign minister, Manuel Antonio Matta, replied that Harrison's
message was "erroneous or deliberately incorrect," and said that the Chilean government was treating the affair the
same as any other criminal matter.
Tensions increased as Harrison threatened to break off diplomatic relations
unless the United States received a suitable apology.
Blaine returned to the capital and made conciliatory
overtures to the Chilean government, offering to submit the dispute to arbitration and recall Egan.
Harrison still
insisted on an apology and submitted a special message to Congress about the threat of war.
Chile issued an
apology for the incident, and the threat of war subsided.
James G. Blaine
Relations with European powers
Blaine's earliest expressions in the foreign policy sphere were those of a reactionary Anglophobe, but by the end of
his career his relationship with the United Kingdom had become more moderate and nuanced.
</ref> A
dispute over seal hunting in the waters off Alaska was the cause of Blaine's first interaction with Britain as Harrison's
Secretary of State. A law passed in 1889 required Harrison to ban seal hunting in Alaskan waters, but Canadian
fishermen believed they had the right to continue fishing there.
Soon thereafter, the United States Navy seized
several Canadian ships near the Pribilof Islands.
Blaine entered into negotiations with Britain and the two
nations agreed to submit the dispute to arbitration by a neutral tribunal.
Blaine was no longer in office when the
tribunal began its work, but the result was to allow the hunting once more, albeit with some regulation, and to require
the United States to pay damages of $473,151.
</ref> Ultimately, the nations signed the North Pacific Fur
Seal Convention of 1911, which outlawed open-water seal hunting.
At the same time as the Pribilof Islands dispute, an outbreak of mob violence in New Orleans became an
international incident. After New Orleans police chief David Hennessy led a crackdown against local mafiosi, he
was assassinated on October 14, 1890.
After the alleged murderers were found not guilty in March 1891, a mob
stormed the jail and lynched eleven of them.
Since many of those killed were Italian citizens the Italian minister,
Saverio Fava, protested to Blaine.
Blaine explained that federal officials could not control how state officials
deal with criminal matters, and Fava announced that he would withdraw the legation back to Italy. Blaine and
Harrison believed the Italians' response to be an overreaction, and did nothing.
Tensions slowly cooled, and after
nearly a year, the Italian minister returned to the United States to negotiate an indemnity.
After some internal
disputeBlaine wanted conciliation with Italy, Harrison was reluctant to admit faultthe United States agreed to
pay an indemnity of $25,000, and normal diplomatic relations resumed.
Retirement, death, and legacy
Blaine had always believed his health to be fragile, and by the time he joined Harrison's cabinet he truly was
The years at the State Department also brought Blaine personal tragedy as two of his children, Walker
and Alice, died suddenly in 1890.
Another son, Emmons, died in 1892.
With these family issues and his
declining health, Blaine decided to retire and announced that he would resign from the cabinet on June 4, 1892.
Because of their growing animosity, and because Blaine's resignation came three days before the 1892 Republican
National Convention began, Harrison suspected that Blaine was preparing to run against him for the party's
nomination for president.
Harrison was unpopular with the party and the country, and many of Blaine's old supporters encouraged him to run
for the nomination.
Blaine had denied any interest in the nomination months before his resignation, but some of
his friends, including Senator Matthew Quay of Pennsylvania and James S. Clarkson, chairman of the Republican
National Committee, took it for false modesty and worked for his nomination anyway.
When Blaine resigned
from the cabinet, his boosters were certain that he was a candidate, but the majority of the party stood by the
Harrison was renominated on the first ballot, but die-hard Blaine delegates still gave their champion
182 and 1/6 votes, good enough for second place.
Blaine spent the summer of 1892 at his Bar Harbor cottage, and did not involve himself in the presidential campaign
other than to make a single speech in New York in October.
Harrison was defeated soundly in his rematch
against former president Cleveland and when Blaine returned to Washington at the close of 1892, he and Harrison
were friendlier than they had been in years.
Blaine's health declined rapidly in the winter of 18921893, and he
died in his Washington home on January 27, 1893.
After a funeral at the Presbyterian Church of the Covenant,
he was buried in Oak Hill Cemetery in Washington.
He was later re-interred in Blaine Memorial Park, Augusta,
Maine, in 1920.
A towering figure in the Republican party of his day, Blaine fell into obscurity fairly soon after his death.
1905 biography by his wife's cousin, Edward Stanwood, was written when the question was still in doubt, but by the
James G. Blaine
time David Saville Muzzey published his biography of Blaine in 1934, the subtitle "A Political Idol of Other Days"
already spoke to its subject's fading place in the popular mind, perhaps because of the nine men the Republican Party
nominated for the Presidency from 1860 to 1912, Blaine is the only one who never became President. In 1947, the
Pennsylvania Historical and Museum Commission installed a historical marker in West Brownsville, noting Blaine's
historic importance. Although several authors studied Blaine's foreign policy career, including Edward P. Crapol's
2000 work, Muzzey's was the last full-scale biography of the man until Neil Rolde's 2006 book. Historian R. Hal
Williams is currently working on a new biography of Blaine, tentatively titled James G. Blaine: A Life in Politics.
Four counties in the United states - in Idaho, Montana, Nebraska, and Oklahoma - are named in honor of Blaine.
[1] [1] Muzzey, p.6; Russell, p.5.
[2] [2] Crapol, p.1.
[3] [3] Muzzey, p.1.
[4] Muzzey, pp.23.
[5] [5] Muzzey, p.5; Russell, p.5.
[6] Rose, pp.3031; Muzzey, p.5.
[7] [7] Rolde, p.28.
[8] Muzzey, pp.1214; Russell, p.8; Crapol, p.2.
[9] [9] Muzzey, pp.4, 14; Russell, p.8.
[10] [10] McClelland, p.127.
[11] Muzzey, p.15; Russell, p.910.
[12] Muzzey, pp.1617; Russell, p.12.
[13] Muzzey, pp.1719; Rolde, pp.3839.
[14] [14] Muzzey, p.20; Russell, p.28.
[15] Muzzey, pp.2122; Russell, pp.2829.
[16] [16] Rolde, p.47.
[17] [17] Rolde, p.49.
[18] Muzzey, pp.2223, 27; Russell, pp.3031.
[19] Muzzey, p.24; Crapol, pp.34.
[20] [20] Muzzey, p.27; Crapol, p.4.
[21] [21] Muzzey, p.28; Crapol, p.18.
[22] [22] Muzzey, p.29; Crapol, p.9.
[23] Muzzey, p.30; Russell, pp.5051.
[24] Muzzey, pp.228232.
[25] [25] Rolde, p.56.
[26] Muzzey, pp.3132; Rolde, pp.6369.
[27] Muzzey, pp.3235; Crapol, p.19.
[28] [28] Muzzey, p.37.
[29] Muzzey, p.39; Crapol, pp.2021; Russell, p.99.
[30] Crapol, p.20; Muzzey, pp.4243.
[31] Muzzey, pp.4247; Russell, pp.101106.
[32] Article I, Section 9 of the United States Constitution denies Congress this power.
[33] Muzzey, pp.4849; Russell, pp.130136.
[34] Muzzey, pp.5051.
[35] Muzzey, pp.5253.
[36] Muzzey, p.57; Russell, pp.172175.
[37] [37] Blaine, p.379, v. 2.
[38] [38] Muzzey, p.58.
[39] Muzzey, pp.5357.
[40] Hoogenboom, pp.358360.
[41] Muzzey, pp.6263.
[42] [42] Russell, p.186; Muzzey, p.62; Summers, p.5.
[43] Muzzey, p.62; Crapol, p.33; Summers, pp.56.
[44] [44] Muzzey, p.64.
[45] [45] The house was donated to the State of Maine by Blaine's daughter, Harriet Blaine Beale, in 1919 and is now used as the Governor's
James G. Blaine
[46] [46] Muzzey, p.66.
[47] Muzzey, pp.6770; Russell, pp.211217.
[48] Smith, p.545; Muzzey, p.74, 7782; Russell, pp.266272.
[49] [49] Muzzey, p.75.
[50] [50] Muzzey, p.71.
[51] Summers, pp.5961.
[52] [52] Crapol, p.41.
[53] Crapol, pp.4243; Green, pp.4951.
[54] Smith, pp.568571; Green, pp.4748.
[55] While the First Amendment already imposed the first two restrictions on the federal government, they were not deemed to apply to the states
until 1947<ref>See Everson v. Board of Education, 330 U.S. 1 (1947).
[56] See Cantwell v. Connecticut, 310 U.S. 296 (1940).
[57] Green, pp.3941.
[58] [58] Green, p.38.
[59] Crapol, p.44; Muzzey, pp.8384; Thompson, pp.3, 19.
[60] $64,000 in 1876 is equal to $1.42million in present terms<ref name="inflation-US" group=""> Consumer Price Index (estimate) 18002014
(http:/ / www. minneapolisfed. org/ community_education/ teacher/ calc/ hist1800. cfm). Federal Reserve Bank of Minneapolis. Retrieved
February 27, 2014.
[61] Muzzey, pp.8486.
[62] Muzzey, pp.8793; Crapol, p.44; Summers, pp.6263.
[63] Muzzey, pp.9394.
[64] Muzzey, pp.99100.
[65] [65] Crapol, p.45.
[66] Hoogenboom, p.261; Muzzey, pp.104107.
[67] [67] Quoted in .
[68] Muzzey, pp.111112; Hoogenboom, p.263.
[69] [69] Muzzey, p.115.
[70] Hoogenboom, pp.274294; Muzzey, pp.116127.
[71] Before the passage of the Seventeenth Amendment to the United States Constitution in 1913, Senators were chosen by their states'
[72] [72] Muzzey, p.128.
[73] [73] Muzzey, p.129.
[74] Muzzey, pp.130133; Hoogenboom, pp.318325, 351369.
[75] Muzzey, pp.140141; Summers, p.65.
[76] Hoogenboom, pp.392402.
[77] Muzzey, pp.135139; Crapol, pp.5051.
[78] Hoogenboom, pp.356359.
[79] Unger, pp.358359.
[80] Crapol, pp.4850; Muzzey, pp.146148.
[81] Muzzey, pp.148151; Sewell, pp.6566.
[82] Crapol, pp.5153.
[83] [83] Hoogenboom, p.414.
[84] Smith, p.615; Muzzey, pp.160165.
[85] Smith, p.616; Muzzey, p.167; Summers, pp.6566.
[86] [86] Muzzey, p.169.
[87] Muzzey, pp.171172; Smith, pp.616617.
[88] Muzzey, pp.173174; Reeves, pp.178183; Crapol, p.62.
[89] Muzzey, pp.177179.
[90] [90] Muzzey, p.186.
[91] [91] Muzzey, p.185.
[92] Muzzey, pp.191195.
[93] Crapol, pp.6264; Pletcher, pp.5556.
[94] Crapol, pp.6566; Doenecke, pp.5557; Healy, pp.5760.
[95] Doenecke, pp.5758; Crapol, p.70.
[96] Crapol, pp.7480; Doenecke, pp.6467; Healy, pp.4052.
[97] Crapol, p.81; Doenecke, pp.7173.
[98] Peskin, pp.595597; Russell, pp.385386.
[99] Peskin, pp.589590.
[100] Peskin, pp.606607.
James G. Blaine
[101] Crapol, pp.8182; Russell, p.386.
[102] Russell, p.388; Reeves, pp.255257.
[103] Doenecke, pp.173175; Reeves, pp.398399.
[104] [104] Muzzey, p.225.
[105] The exact state of Blaine's health is debatable; many of his biographers believe him to have been a hypochondriac.<ref
name="FOOTNOTESummers62, 125Muzzey225227"> Summers, pp.62, 125; Muzzey, pp.225227.
[106] [106] Muzzey, p.226; Russell, p.390.
[107] Muzzey, pp.232237.
[108] Muzzey, pp.242246; Crapol, pp.7173.
[109] Muzzey, pp.253255.
[110] Crapol, p.91; Muzzey, pp.263265.
[111] The cartoon is based on Phryne before the Areopagus, a painting by Jean-Lon Grme.
[112] Crapol, p.91; Reeves, pp.368371.
[113] [113] Crapol, p.92.
[114] Muzzey, pp.273277.
[115] Muzzey, pp.281285; Reeves, p.380.
[116] Muzzey, pp.285286; Reeves, p.381.
[117] Nevins, pp.145155; Muzzey, pp.293296.
[118] Muzzey, pp.287293; Nevins, pp.156159.
[119] Nevins, pp.187188; Muzzey, p.294, n. 2.
[120] Nevins, pp.159162; Muzzey, pp.301304.
[121] Nevins, p.177; Muzzey, pp.303304.
[122] Nevins, pp.162169; Muzzey, pp.298299.
[123] Muzzey, pp.299300; Crapol, p.98.
[124] The rumor arose because the Blaines had not filed a marriage license when they married in 1850. Licenses were not required in Kentucky
until 1852.<ref name="FOOTNOTEMuzzey299300Crapol98"> Muzzey, pp.299300; Crapol, p.98.
[125] [125] Nevins, p.181; Muzzey, p.322.
[126] Muzzey, pp.307308; Reeves, pp.387389.
[127] Muzzey, pp.308309; Nevins, p.170.
[128] Muzzey, pp.316318; Nevins, pp.181184; Crapol, p.99.
[129] Summers, pp.289303; Muzzey, pp.322325.
[130] Muzzey, pp.326341.
[131] Muzzey, pp.341343.
[132] Muzzey, pp.347348.
[133] Muzzey, pp.348349.
[134] Muzzey, pp.354359.
[135] Muzzey, pp.361369; Crapol, p.106.
[136] Muzzey, pp.368372; Crapol, pp.106107.
[137] Muzzey, pp.372374.
[138] Muzzey, pp.375382; Calhoun, pp.4752.
[139] [139] Muzzey, p.383.
[140] Muzzey, pp.387391; Calhoun, pp.5861.
[141] Crapol, pp.111113; Calhoun, pp.7475.
[142] Muzzey, pp.389391, 462464; Calhoun, pp.7577.
[143] Crapol, pp.116117; Calhoun, pp.7780, 125126; Rigby, passim.
[144] Crapol, pp.116117; Muzzey, pp.394402.
[145] Crapol, pp.123125; Calhoun, pp.125126, 152157.
[146] Crapol, pp.125129; Socolofsky & Spetter, pp.204207.
[147] Crapol, pp.118122; Muzzey, pp.426437; Pletcher, pp.5657.
[148] Crapol, pp.122124.
[149] Crapol, pp.120122; Calhoun, pp.8182.
[150] Muzzey, pp.415416; Socolofsky & Spetter, p.146; Healy, p.207.
[151] Crapol, pp.130131.
[152] [152] Muzzey, p.418; Calhoun, p.127.
[153] Muzzey, p.419421; Socolofsky & Spetter, pp.147149.
[154] Muzzey, p.421423; Socolofsky & Spetter, pp.150152.
[155] Crapol, pp.105106, 138139.
[156] Some scholars have suggested that Blaine's Anglophobia was always more for political advantage than out of genuine sentiment.<ref
name="FOOTNOTESewell''passim''">Sewell, passim.
James G. Blaine
[157] Muzzey, pp.403405; Socolofsky & Spetter, pp.137138.
[158] Muzzey, pp.408409; Socolofsky & Spetter, pp.140143.
[159] $473,151 in 1898 is equal to $13.4million in present terms<ref name="inflation-US" group=""> Consumer Price Index (estimate)
18002014 (http:/ / www.minneapolisfed. org/ community_education/ teacher/ calc/ hist1800. cfm). Federal Reserve Bank of Minneapolis.
Retrieved February 27, 2014.
[160] Socolofsky & Spetter, pp.153154; Muzzey, pp.411412.
[161] Socolofsky & Spetter, pp.155156; Muzzey, pp.412414; Calhoun, pp.126127.
[162] $25,000 in 1892 is equal to $656thousand in present terms<ref name="inflation-US" group=""> Consumer Price Index (estimate)
18002014 (http:/ / www.minneapolisfed. org/ community_education/ teacher/ calc/ hist1800. cfm). Federal Reserve Bank of Minneapolis.
Retrieved February 27, 2014.
[163] Crapol, p.132; Socolofsky & Spetter, p.88.
[164] [164] Crapol, p.121; Muzzey, p.461.
[165] Calhoun, pp.134139; Muzzey, pp.468469.
[166] Muzzey, pp.469472.
[167] Muzzey, pp.473479.
[168] Muzzey, pp.480482.
[169] Muzzey, pp.484487.
[170] Muzzey, pp.489491.
[171] [171] Rolde, p.xiii.
Blaine, James G. (1886). Twenty Years of Congress (http:/ / books. google. com/ books?id=q6MSAAAAYAAJ)
2. Norwich, Connecticut: The Henry Bill Publishing Company.
Calhoun, Charles William (2005). Benjamin Harrison (http:/ / books. google. com/ ?id=5mLuIx6z1qcC). New
York, New York: Times Books. ISBN978-0-8050-6952-5.
Crapol, Edward P. (2000). James G. Blaine: Architect of Empire. Biographies in American Foreign Policy 4.
Wilmington, Delaware: Scholarly Resources. ISBN978-0-8420-2604-8.
Doenecke, Justus D. (1981). The Presidencies of James A. Garfield and Chester A. Arthur. Lawrence, Kansas:
University Press of Kansas. ISBN978-0-7006-0208-7.
Healy, David (2001). James G. Blaine and Latin America (http:/ / books. google. com/ books?id=cnoiCofaj4oC).
Columbia, Missouri: University of Missouri Press. ISBN978-0-8262-1374-7.
Hoogenboom, Ari (1995). Rutherford Hayes: Warrior and President. Lawrence, Kansas: University Press of
Kansas. ISBN978-0-7006-0641-2.
McClelland, William Craig (1903). "A History of Literary Societies at Washington & Jefferson College" (http:/ /
books. google. com/ books?id=t1QyAAAAYAAJ& pg=PA111). The Centennial Celebration of the Chartering of
Jefferson College in 1802 (http:/ / books. google. com/ ?id=t1QyAAAAYAAJ). Philadelphia: George H.
Buchanan and Company.
Muzzey, David Saville (1934). James G. Blaine: A Political Idol of Other Days. New York, New York: Dodd,
Mead, and Company.
Nevins, Allan (1932). Grover Cleveland: A Study in Courage. New York, New York: Dodd, Mead, and
Peskin, Allan (1978). Garfield: A Biography. Kent, Ohio: Kent State University Press. ISBN978-0-87338-210-6.
Reeves, Thomas C. (1975). Gentleman Boss: The Life of Chester A. Arthur. New York, New York: Alfred A.
Knopf. ISBN978-0-394-46095-6.
Rolde, Neil (2006). Continental Liar from the State of Maine: James G. Blaine. Gardiner, Maine: Tilbury House.
James G. Blaine
Rose, Anne C. (2001). Beloved Strangers: Interfaith Families in Nineteenth-Century America (http:/ / books.
google. com/ books?id=xy2yCFBYJuwC). Cambridge, Massachusetts: Harvard University Press.
Russell, Charles Edward (1931). Blaine of Maine. New York, New York: Cosmopolitan Book Corporation.
Smith, Jean Edward (2001). Grant. New York, New York: Simon & Schuster. ISBN978-0-684-84927-0.
Socolofsky, Homer E.; Spetter, Allan B. (1987). The Presidency of Benjamin Harrison. Lawrence, Kansas:
University Press of Kansas. ISBN978-0-7006-0320-6.
Summers, Mark (2000). Rum, Romanism & Rebellion: The Making of a President, 1884 (http:/ / www. questia.
com/ PM. qst?a=o& d=104865169). Chapel Hill, North Carolina: University of North Carolina Press.
Unger, Irwin (2008) [1964]. The Greenback Era: A Social and Political History of American Finance,
18651879. New York, New York: ACLS Humanities. ISBN978-1-59740-431-0.
Green, Steven K. (January 1992). "The Blaine Amendment Reconsidered". The American Journal of Legal
History 36 (1): 3869. doi: 10.2307/845452 (http:/ / dx. doi. org/ 10. 2307/ 845452). JSTOR 845452 (http:/ /
www. jstor. org/ stable/ 845452).
Pletcher, David M. (February 1978). "Reciprocity and Latin America in the Early 1890s: A Foretaste of Dollar
Diplomacy". Pacific Historical Review 47 (1): 5389. JSTOR 3637339 (http:/ / www. jstor. org/ stable/
Rigby, Barry (May 1988). "The Origins of American Expansion in Hawaii and Samoa, 18651900". The
International History Review 10 (2): 221237. doi: 10.1080/07075332.1988.9640475 (http:/ / dx. doi. org/ 10.
1080/ 07075332. 1988. 9640475). JSTOR 40105868 (http:/ / www. jstor. org/ stable/ 40105868).
Sewell, Mike (April 1990). "Political Rhetoric and Policy-Making: James G. Blaine and Britain". Journal of
American Studies 24 (1): 6184. doi: 10.1017/S0021875800028711 (http:/ / dx. doi. org/ 10. 1017/
S0021875800028711). JSTOR 27555267 (http:/ / www. jstor. org/ stable/ 27555267).
Thompson, George H. (Spring 1980). "Asa P. Robinson and the Little Rock and Fort Smith Railroad". The
Arkansas Historical Quarterly 39 (1): 320. doi: 10.2307/40023148 (http:/ / dx. doi. org/ 10. 2307/ 40023148).
JSTOR 40023148 (http:/ / www. jstor. org/ stable/ 40023148).
Further reading
Bastert, Russell H. (March 1956). "Diplomatic Reversal: Frelinghuysen's Opposition to Blaine's Pan-American
Policy in 1882". The Mississippi Valley Historical Review 42 (4): 653671. doi: 10.2307/1889232 (http:/ / dx.
doi. org/ 10. 2307/ 1889232). JSTOR 1889232 (http:/ / www. jstor. org/ stable/ 1889232).
Langley, Lester D. (1974). "James Gillespie Blaine: The Ideologue as Diplomat". In Merli, Frank J.; Wilson,
Theodore A. Makers of American Diplomacy: From Benjamin Franklin to Henry Kissinger. New York, New
York: Scribner. pp.253278. ISBN978-0-684-13786-5.
Makemson, Harlen (200405). "One Misdeed Evokes Another: How Political Cartoonists Used 'Scandal
Intertextuality' Against Presidential Candidate James G. Blaine" (http:/ / facstaff. elon. edu/ dcopeland/ mhm/
volume7. htm). Media History Monographs 7 (2): 121.
Peskin, Allan (1979). "Blaine, Garfield and Latin America". Americas: a Quarterly Review of Inter-American
Cultural History 36 (1): 7989. doi: 10.2307/981139 (http:/ / dx. doi. org/ 10. 2307/ 981139).
Tyler, Alice Felt (1927). The Foreign Policy of James G. Blaine. Minneapolis, Minnesota: University of
Minnesota Press.
James G. Blaine
External links
Wikimedia Commons has media related to James G. Blaine.
James G. Blaine (http:/ / bioguide. congress. gov/ scripts/ biodisplay. pl?index=B000519) at the Biographical
Directory of the United States Congress
"James G. Blaine, Presidential Contender" (http:/ / thecontenders. c-span. org/ Contender/ 3/ James-G-Blaine.
aspx) from C-SPAN's The Contenders
Texts on Wikisource:
"Blaine, James Gillespie". Encyclopedia Americana. 1920.
"Blaine, James Gillespie". The New Student's Reference Work. 1914.
"Blaine, James Gillespie". Encyclopdia Britannica (11th ed.). 1911.
"Blaine, James Gillespie". New International Encyclopedia. 1905.
"Blaine, James Gillespie". Appletons' Cyclopdia of American Biography. 1900.
Cooper, Thompson (1884). "Blaine, James Gillespie". Men of the Time (eleventh ed.). London: George
Routledge & Sons.
United States House of Representatives
Samuel C. Fessenden
from Maine's 3rd congressional district
March 4, 1863 July 10, 1876
Edwin Flye
Political offices
Theodore M. Pomeroy
Speaker of the United States House of
March 4, 1869 March 4, 1873
December 1, 1873 March 4, 1875
Michael C. Kerr
William M. Evarts
U.S. Secretary of State
Served under: James A. Garfield, Chester A. Arthur
March 7, 1881 December 19, 1881
Frederick T. Frelinghuysen
Thomas F. Bayard
U.S. Secretary of State
Served under: Benjamin Harrison
March 7, 1889 June 4, 1892
John W. Foster
United States Senate
Lot M. Morrill
U.S. Senator (Class 2) from Maine
July 10, 1876 March 5, 1881
Served alongside: Hannibal Hamlin
William P. Frye
Party political offices
James A. Garfield
Republican presidential nominee
Benjamin Harrison
Thomas Brackett Reed
Thomas Brackett Reed
For other people named Thomas Reed, see Thomas Reed (disambiguation).
Thomas Brackett Reed
38th Speaker of the United States House of Representatives
In office
December 2, 1895 March 4, 1899
President Grover Cleveland
William McKinley
Preceded by Charles F. Crisp
Succeeded by David B. Henderson
36th Speaker of the United States House of Representatives
In office
December 4, 1889 March 4, 1891
President Benjamin Harrison
Preceded by John G. Carlisle
Succeeded by Charles F. Crisp
Member of U.S. House of Representatives
from Maine's 1st district
In office
March 4, 1877 September 4, 1899
Preceded by John H. Burleigh
Succeeded by Amos L. Allen
Personal details
Born October 18, 1839
Portland, Maine
Died December 7, 1902 (aged 63)
Washington, D.C.
Political party Republican
Alma mater Bowdoin College
Profession Law
Thomas Brackett Reed (October 18, 1839 December 7, 1902), occasionally ridiculed as Czar Reed, was a U.S.
Representative from Maine, and Speaker of the U.S. House of Representatives from 18891891 and also from
18951899. He was a powerful leader of the Republican Party, and during his tenure as Speaker of the House, he
Thomas Brackett Reed
served with greater influence than any Speaker who came before, and he forever increased its power and influence
for those who succeeded him in the position.
Political life
Born in Portland, Maine, Reed attended public school, including Portland High School, before graduating from
Bowdoin College in 1860. He studied law. After college, he went on to become an acting assistant paymaster,for the
United States Navy, from April 1864, to November 1865, and was admitted to the bar in 1865. He practiced in
Portland, and was elected to the Maine House of Representatives, in 1868 and 1869. He served in the Maine Senate
in 1870 but left to serve as the state's Attorney General 187072. Reed became city solicitor of Portland 18741877,
before being elected as a Republican to the Forty-fifth and to the eleven succeeding Congresses, serving from 1877,
to September 4, 1899, when he resigned.
In the House of Representatives
Early service
Acerbic wit
He was known for his acerbic wit (asked if his party might nominate him for President, he noted "They could do
worse, and they probably will"). His size, standing at over 6 feet in height and weighing over 300lbs (136kg), was
also a distinguishing factor for him. Reed was a member of the social circle that included intellectuals and politicians
Sen. Henry Cabot Lodge, Theodore Roosevelt, Henry Adams, John Hay and Mark Twain.
As a House freshman, Reed was appointed to the Potter Commission, which was to investigate voting irregularities
in the presidential election of 1876, where his skill at cross examination forced Democrat Samuel J. Tilden to
personally appear to defend his reputation. He chaired the Committee on the Judiciary (Forty-seventh Congress) and
chaired the Rules Committee (Fifty-first, Fifty-fourth, and Fifty-fifth Congresses).
As the Speaker of the House
Pressure in Capitol builds for war in 1898; Reed (upper
left) is unable to contain it, as McKinley watches
Reed was first elected Speaker after an intense fight with William
McKinley of Ohio. Reed gained the support of young Theodore
Roosevelt, whose influence as the newly appointed Civil Service
Commissioner was the decisive factor. Reed served as the Speaker
of the United States House of Representatives from 1889 to 1891
and then from 1895 to 1899, as well as being Chairman of the
powerful Rules Committee.
During his time as Speaker, Reed assiduously and dramatically
increased the power of the Speaker over the House; although the
power of the Speaker had always waxed (most notably during
Henry Clay's tenure) and waned, the position had previously
commanded influence rather than outright power. Reed set out to
put into practical effect his dictum that "The best system is to have
one party govern and the other party watch"; this was
Thomas Brackett Reed
accomplished by carefully studying the existing procedures of the U.S. House, most dating to the original designs
written by Thomas Jefferson. In particular, Reed sought to circumscribe the ability of the minority party to block
business by way of its members refusing to answer a quorum call which, under the rules, prevented a member
from being counted as present even if they were physically in the chamber thus forcing the House to suspend
business. This is popularly called the disappearing quorum.
Reed's solution was enacted on January 28, 1890, in what has popularly been called the "Battle of the Reed Rules".
This came about when Democrats attempted to block the inclusion of a newly elected Republican from West
Virginia, Charles Brooks Smith.
The motion to seat him passed by a tally of 1621; however, at the time a quorum
consisted of 165 votes, and when voting closed Democrats shouted "No quorum," triggering a formal House quorum
count. Speaker Reed began the roll call; when members who were present in the chamber refused to answer, Reed
directed the Clerk to count them as present anyway.
Startled Democrats protested heatedly, issuing screams,
threats, and insults at the Speaker. James B. McCreary, a Democrat from Kentucky, challenged Reed's authority to
count him as present; Reed replied, "The Chair is making a statement of fact that the gentleman from Kentucky is
present. Does he deny it?"
Unable to deny their presence in the chamber, Democrats then tried to flee the chamber or hide under their desks, but
Reed ordered the doors locked. (Texas Representative "Buck" Kilgore was able to flee by kicking his way through a
Trapped, the Democrats tried to hide under their desks and chairs; Reed marked them present anyway.
The conflict over parliamentary procedure lasted three days, with Democrats delaying consideration of the bill by
introducing points of order to challenge the maneuver, then appealing the Reed's rulings to the floor. Democrats
finally dropped their objections on January 31, and Smith was seated on February 3 by a vote of 1660. Six days
later, with Smith seated, Reed won a vote on his new "Reed Rules," eliminating the disappearing quorum and
lowering the quorum to 100 members. Though Democrats reinstated the disappearing quorum when they took
control of the House the following year, Reed as minority leader proved so adroit at using the tactic against them that
Democrats reinstated Reed Rules in 1894.
Thomas Brackett Reed
Civil Rights
In 188990, Republicans undertook one last stand in favor of federal enforcement of the Fifteenth Amendment to
protect the voting rights of blacks in the Solid South. Reed took a special interest in the project. Using his new rules
vigorously, he won passage of the Lodge Fair Elections Bill in the House in 1890. The bill was later defeated in a
filibuster in the Senate when Silver Republicans in the West traded it away for the Sherman Silver Purchase Act.
Presidential aspirations and departure from Congress
Official portrait of Thomas B. Reed.
Reed tried to obtain the Republican nomination for President in
1896, but Ohio Governor McKinley's campaign manager, Mark
Hanna, blocked his efforts.
In 1898 Reed supported McKinley in efforts to head off war with
Spain. When McKinley switched to support for the war, Reed
disagreed. He resigned from the speakership and from his seat in
Congress in 1899 to enter private law practice.
On a nostalgic trip to Washington in 1902 he had a sudden heart
attack and died; Henry Cabot Lodge eulogized him as "a good
hater, who detested shams, humbugs and pretense above all else."
He was buried in Evergreen Cemetery in Portland, Maine. His will
was executed by his good friend Augustus G. Paine, Sr. from New
Statue of Reed on Portland, Maine's Western Promenade in
September 2011
There is a Reed House at Bowdoin College.
His home town of Portland, Maine, erected a statue of
him at the corner of Western Promenade and Pine St
in a ceremony on August 31, 1910.
In 1894, he published his handbook on parliamentary
procedure, titled Reed's Rules: A Manual of General
Parliamentary Law, which was, at the time, a very
popular text on the subject and is still in use in the
legislature of the State of Washington.
Biographies of the life of Thomas Brackett Reed have
been written by Richard Stanley Offenberg, in 1963,
and by Mead Dodd in 1930. Most recently, finance writer James Grant wrote the biography entitled, Mr. Speaker!
The Life and Times of Thomas B. Reed: the Man who Broke the Filibuster.
Thomas Brackett Reed
[1] Samuel W. McCall, Thomas B. Reed (1924) ch 13
[2] Samuel W. McCall, Thomas B. Reed (1914) pp 15272
[3] Price, Douglas H. ``The Congressional CareerThen and Now, in Nelson Polsby, ed., Congressional Behavior (New York: Random House,
1971), p. 19.
[4] [4] Representative Thomas B. Reed, remarks in the House, Congressional Record, vol. 61, Jan. 29, 1890, p. 948.
[5] Roger Place Butterfield, The American Past (1966) p. 254
[6] [6] House Document No. 108-204: The Cannon Centenary Conference: The Changing Nature of the Speakership
[7] Wendy Hazard, "Thomas Brackett Reed, Civil Rights, and the Fight for Fair Elections," Maine History, March 2004, Vol. 42 Issue 1, pp 123
[8] Samuel W. McCall, Thomas B. Reed (1914) pp 23139
[9] Reed House formerly Alpha Eta of Chi Psi was dedicated on September 28, 2007 in memory of Thomas Brackett Reed (18391902)
[10] Robert Klotz. "Portland Locations with National Political Significance". Portland Political Trail. Accessed April 21. http:/ / www. usm.
maine. edu/ ~rklotz/ exhibits/ revtrail.htm
Hazard, Wendy. "Thomas Brackett Reed, Civil Rights, and the Fight for Fair Elections," Maine History, March
2004, Vol. 42 Issue 1, pp 123
McCall, Samuel W. (1914). The Life of Thomas Brackett Reed (http:/ / archive. org/ stream/
thomasbrackett00mccarich#page/ n7/ mode/ 2up). New York: Houghton Mifflin Company. Retrieved July 24,
Strahan, Randall (2007). Leading Representatives: The Agency of Leaders in the Politics of the U.S. House. Johns
Hopkins University Press. ISBN0-8018-8691-0.
Tuchman, Barbara Wertheim (1996). The proud tower: a portrait of the world before the war, 18901914. New
York: Ballantine Books. ISBN978-0-345-40501-2.
Thomas,Evan. The War Lovers, Little, Brown and Co, 2010
Primary sources
Roosevelt, Theodore; Reed, Thomas B. "'Dear Tom,' 'Dear Theodore': The Letters of Theodore Roosevelt and
Thomas B. Reed," edited by R. Hal Williams, Theodore Roosevelt Association Journal, July 1994, Vol. 20 Issue
3/4, pp322, 20p. 23 letters from 18881902 discuss the Republican Party and its leaders, foreign policy, the gold
and silver issues, New York State politics, and TR's activity as police commissioner of New York City.
External links
Wikiquote has quotations related to: Thomas Brackett Reed
Thomas Brackett Reed (http:/ / bioguide. congress. gov/ scripts/ biodisplay. pl?index=R000128) at the
Biographical Directory of the United States Congress
Works by Thomas Brackett Reed (http:/ / www. gutenberg. org/ author/ Thomas_B. _Reed_(1839-1902)) at
Project Gutenberg
Reed's Rules, a manual of general parliamentary law (1894) http:/ / www. leg. wa. gov/ documents/ legislature/
reedsrules/ reeds. htm
Political cartoon, NY Times/Harper's Weekly, December 21, 1895 Our American Czar and His Do-Nothing
Policy (http:/ / www. nytimes. com/ learning/ general/ onthisday/ harp/ 1221. html)
Thomas Brackett Reed (http:/ / www. findagrave. com/ cgi-bin/ fg. cgi?page=gr& GRid=11745) at Find a Grave
Mr. Speaker! The Life and Times of Thomas B Reed The Man Who Broke The Filibuster (http:/ / mrspeakerbook.
com/ )
Thomas Brackett Reed
C-SPAN Q&A interview with James Grant about Mr. Speaker!: The Life and Times of Thomas B. Reed, The Man
Who Broke the Filibuster, June 5, 2011 (http:/ / www. q-and-a.org/ Program/ ?ProgramID=1341)
Chisholm, Hugh, ed. (1911). "Reed, Thomas Brackett". Encyclopdia Britannica (11th ed.). Cambridge
University Press.
United States House of Representatives
John H. Burleigh
from Maine's 1st congressional district
March 4, 1877 September 4, 1899
Amos L. Allen
Political offices
John G. Carlisle
Speaker of the U.S. House of
December 2, 1889 March 4, 1891
Charles F. Crisp
Charles F. Crisp
Speaker of the U.S. House of
December 2, 1895 March 4, 1897;
March 15, 1897 March 4, 1899
David B. Henderson
Joseph Gurney Cannon
Joseph Gurney Cannon
Joseph Gurney Cannon
40th Speaker of the United States House of Representatives
In office
November 9, 1903 March 4, 1911
President Theodore Roosevelt
William Howard Taft
Preceded by David B. Henderson
Succeeded by Champ Clark
Member of U.S. House of Representatives
from Illinois's 12th, 14th, 15th & 18th districts
In office
March 4, 1873 March 3, 1883 (14th)
March 4, 1883 March 3, 1891 (15th)
March 4, 1893 March 3, 1895 (15th)
March 4, 1895 March 3, 1903 (12th)
March 4, 1903 March 3, 1913 (18th)
March 4, 1915 March 3, 1923 (18th)
Preceded by None; 14th district created
Samuel W. Moulton
Samuel T. Busey
John J. McDannold
Thomas M. Jett
Frank T. O'Hair
Succeeded by Jonathan H. Rowell
Samuel T. Busey
Benjamin F. Marsh
Charles E. Fuller
Frank T. O'Hair
William P. Holaday
Personal details
Born May 7, 1836
Guilford County, North Carolina
Died November 12, 1926 (aged 90)
Danville, Illinois
Political party Republican
Spouse(s) Mary P. Reed Cannon
Joseph Gurney Cannon
Alma mater University of Cincinnati
Profession Law
Joseph Gurney Cannon (May 7, 1836 November 12, 1926) was a United States politician from Illinois and leader
of the Republican Party. Cannon served as Speaker of the United States House of Representatives from 1903 to
1911, and many consider him to be the most dominant Speaker in United States history,Wikipedia:Citation needed
with such control over the House that he could often control debate. Cannon is the second-longest continuously
serving Republican Speaker in history, having been surpassed by fellow Illinoisan Dennis Hastert, who passed him
on June 1, 2006. Cannon is also the longest serving Republican Representative ever, as well as first member of
congress, of either party, ever to surpass 40 years of service (non-consecutive). His congressional career spanned 46
years of cumulative servicea record that went unchallenged until 1959. Although technically the second-longest
serving Republican member of Congress ever (behind Strom Thurmond), he was the longest-serving Republican to
never change his party affiliation, as Thurmond switched from the Democratic Party to the Republican Party in 1964.
He was the subject of the first Time cover ever published, appearing in March 3, 1923.
Early life
Cannon was born in Guilford, Guilford County, North Carolina, and in 1840 moved with his parents to Annapolis,
Indiana, about 30 miles north of Terre Haute, Indiana. He was the elder of two sons of Gulielma (ne Hollingsworth)
and Horace Franklin Cannon, a country doctor. Horace Cannon drowned on August 7, 1851 when Joseph was fifteen
years old as he tried to reach a sick patient by crossing Sugar Creek. Young Cannon took charge of the family farm.
His brother William would become a successful banker and realtor.
Cannon as a younger congressman
circa 1860-1870
Asked by Terre Haute politician and lawyer John Palmer Usher, future Secretary
of the Interior under President Abraham Lincoln, to testify in a slander case,
Cannon became fascinated with the law. Eventually, he asked Usher if he could
study law under him and moved to Terre Haute. At age 19 he traveled to
Cincinnati, Ohio to attend a semester of law school at the University of
Cincinnati law school.
In 1858, he was admitted to the bar and commenced practice in Terre Haute,
Indiana but was disappointed when Usher refused to offer him a place in his
office. That year he relocated to Tuscola, Illinois. His choice of a new hometown
was somewhat involuntary, taking place whilst he was travelling from
Shelbyville, Illinois, to Chicago to find more clients for his law firm. During the
trip, he ran out of money. He boarded a Chicago-bound train in Mattoon, Illinois;
after the train had started, he was asked for his ticket. Because Cannon did not
have a ticket, he was removed from the train in Tuscola.
There, he became
State's attorney for the twenty-seventh judicial district of Illinois, holding the position from March 1861 to December
1868. He was one of the charter members of Tuscola's Masonic Lodge No. 332, which was founded on October 2,
In 1876 Cannon moved to Danville, Illinois, where he resided for the rest of his life. He and his wife Mary
P. Reed, whom he married in 1862, had two daughters.
Joseph Gurney Cannon
Political career
He became a follower of Abraham Lincoln during the Lincoln-Douglas debates of 1858. After Lincoln was elected
President in 1860, Cannon received an appointment as a regional prosecutor. Cannon, a member of the Republican
Party, was elected as to the United States House of Representatives from Illinois to the Forty-second and to the eight
succeeding Congresses (March 4, 1873 March 4, 1891), and was the chairman, Committee on Expenditures in the
Post Office Department (Forty-seventh Congress), Committee on Appropriations (Fifty-first Congress). He was an
unsuccessful candidate for reelection in 1890 to the Fifty-second Congress, but was elected to the Fifty-third and to
the nine succeeding Congresses that sat between 1893 and 1913.
He attempted to gain the Speakership four times before succeeding. His antic speaking style, diminutive stature and
pugnacious manner were his trademarks. The newspapers frequently lampooned him as a colorful rube. "Uncle Joe",
as he was known, often clashed with fellow Republican Theodore Roosevelt, who Cannon remarked had "no more
use for the Constitution than a tomcat has for a marriage license".
Cannon at the 1904 Republican
National Convention in Chicago,
Speaker Cannon presides over the House of
Representatives during the 59th Congress, 1906.
Cannon was chairman to the Committee on Appropriations
(Fifty-fourth through Fifty-seventh Congresses), Committee on Rules
(Fifty-eighth through Sixty-first Congresses), and Speaker of the
House of Representatives (Fifty-eighth through Sixty-first Congresses).
He received fifty-eight votes for the presidential nomination at the
Republican National Convention at Chicago in 1908.
Speaker of the House
Cannon wielded the office of Speaker with unprecedented power. At
the time of Cannon's election the Speaker of the House concurrently
held the chair of the Rules Committee, which determined under what
rules and restrictions bills could be debated, amended, and voted on,
and in some cases whether they would be allowed on the floor at all.
As such, Cannon effectively controlled every aspect of the House's
agenda: bills reached the floor of the house only if Cannon approved of
them, and then in whatever form he determinedwith he himself
deciding whether and to what extent the measures could be debated
and amended.
Cannon also reserved to himself the right to appoint not only the chairs
of the various House committees, but also all of the committees'
members, and (despite the seniority system that had begun to develop)
used that power to appoint his allies and proteges to leadership
positions while punishing those who opposed his legislation. Crucially, Cannon exercised these powers to maintain
discipline within the ranks of his own party: the Republicans were divided into the conservative "Old Guard," led by
Cannon, and the progressives, led by President Theodore Roosevelt. His committee assignment privileges ensured
that the party's Progressive element was essentially powerless in the House, and his control over the legislative
process obstructed progressive legislation.
Joseph Gurney Cannon
On March 17, 1910, after two failed attempts to curb Cannon's absolute power in the House, Nebraska
Representative George Norris led a coalition of 42 progressive Republicans and the entire delegation of 149
Democrats in a revolt. With many of Cannon's most powerful allies absent from the Chamber, but enough Members
on hand for a quorum, Norris introduced a resolution that would remove the Speaker from the Rules Committee and
strip him of his power to assign committees.
While his lieutenants and the House sergeant-at-arms left the chamber to collect absent members in an attempt to
rally enough votes for Cannon, the Speaker's allies initiated a legislative block in the form of a point of order debate.
When Cannon supporters proved difficult to find (many of the staunchest were Irish and spent the day at various St.
Patrick's Day celebrations), the filibuster continued for 26 hours, with Cannon's present friends making repeated
motions for recess and adjournment. When Cannon finally ruled the resolution out of order at noon on March 19,
Norris appealed the resolution to the full House, which voted to overrule Cannon, and then to adopt the Norris
Cannon managed to save some face by promptly requesting a vote to remove him as Speaker, which he won handily
since the Republican majority would not risk a Democratic speaker replacing him. However, his iron rule of the
House was broken, and Cannon lost the Speakership when the Democrats won a majority later that same year.
Cannon's residence in Danville, Illinois circa
Cannon was defeated in 1912 but returned in 1914 and was re-elected
through the 1920 Congressional Elections. He was a critic of President
Woodrow Wilson and US entry into World War I. He was also an
outspoken critic of Wilson's League of Nations.
Cannon declined to run in the 1922 Congressional election, and retired
at the end of his last term in 1923; he was featured on the cover of the
first issue of Time magazine on the last day of his last term in office.
Personal life
Born a Quaker, he became a Methodist after leaving Congress. However, he may have been effectively a Methodist
long before this. After marrying Mary Reed in a Methodist service in 1862, a Quaker encouraged him to express
regret for this, to which Cannon replied, "If you mean that I am to get up in meeting and say that I am sorry I married
Mary, I won't do it. I'm damned if I'm sorry and I'm damned if I will say I am." Joseph Cannon died in his residence
in Danville, Vermilion County, Illinois. He had a weakened heart and also suffered from the general effects of old
age. Cannon died at noon on November 12, 1926 while in a deep sleep.
He was buried in Spring Hill Cemetery.
Joseph Gurney Cannon
Cannon brought a federal Veterans Administration Hospital to Danville; it continues to serve military veterans.
The first building of offices for congressmen outside of the United States Capitol building was named after
Cannon signed the Sixteenth Amendment which established Congress' right to impose a Federal income tax.
List of people on the cover of Time magazine (1920s) - 3 March 1923
[1] " Joseph G. Cannon's Tuscola, Illinois, Connection (http:/ / www. lib. niu. edu/ ipo/ 1994/ ihy940467. html)", Illinois History, April 1994.
[2] " Tuscola's Masonic History (http:/ / www.tuscolamasons. org/ tuscolamasonichistory. html)"
[3] "'Joe' Cannon Dies in Danville at 90; 46 Years in House", The New York Times, November 13, 1926.
Further reading
Bolles, Blair. Tyrant from Illinois: Uncle Joe Cannon's Experiment with Personal Power (1951)
Busbey, L. White. Uncle Joe Cannon, The Story of a Pioneer American (https:/ / archive. org/ details/
unclejoecannonth009147mbp) (1927)
His autobiography, Uncle Joe Cannon, (1927)
Roger, Scott William. "Uncle Joe Cannon: The Brakeman of the House of Representatives, 19031911" in
Raymond W Smock and Susan W Hammond, eds. Masters of the House: Congressional Leadership Over Two
Centuries (1998) pp 3362
External links
Wikimedia Commons has media related to Joseph Gurney Cannon.
Joseph Gurney Cannon (http:/ / bioguide. congress. gov/ scripts/ biodisplay. pl?index=C000121) at the
Biographical Directory of the United States Congress
United States House of Representatives
from Illinois's 14th congressional district
March 4, 1873 March 3, 1883
Jonathan H. Rowell
Samuel W. Moulton
from Illinois's 15th congressional district
March 4, 1883 March 3, 1891
Samuel T. Busey
Samuel T. Busey
from Illinois's 15th congressional district
March 4, 1893 March 3, 1895
Benjamin F. Marsh
John James McDannold
from Illinois's 12th congressional district
March 4, 1895 March 3, 1903
Charles Eugene Fuller
Thomas M. Jett
from Illinois's 18th congressional district
March 4, 1903 March 3, 1913
Frank T. O'Hair
Frank T. O'Hair
from Illinois's 18th congressional district
March 4, 1915 March 3, 1923
William P. Holaday
Joseph Gurney Cannon
Political offices
David B. Henderson
Speaker of the United States House of
November 9, 1903 March 4, 1905;
December 4, 1905 March 4, 1907;
December 2, 1907March 4, 1909;
March 15, 1909 March 4, 1911
Champ Clark
Woodrow Wilson, Warren G. Harding, Cannon, and Philander Chase
Knox on March 4, 1921
Cannon on Time Magazine's first cover
on March 3, 1923
George W. Norris
George W. Norris
George W. Norris
Portrait of George W. Norris
United States Senator
from Nebraska
In office
March 4, 1913 January 3, 1943
Preceded by Norris Brown
Succeeded by Kenneth S. Wherry
Member of the U.S. House of Representatives from Nebraska's 5th district
In office
March 4, 1903 March 4, 1913
Preceded by Ashton C. Shallenberger
Succeeded by Silas Reynolds Barton
Chairman of the Senate Committee on the Judiciary
In office
August 1926 March 4, 1933
Preceded by Albert B. Cummins
Succeeded by Henry F. Ashurst
Personal details
Born George William Norris
July 11, 1861
York Township, Sandusky County, Ohio
Died September 2, 1944 (aged83)
McCook, Nebraska
Political party Republican (until 1936)
Spouse(s) Pluma Lashley (m. 1889, dec. 1901
Ellie Leonard (m. 1903)
George W. Norris
Children 3
Alma mater Baldwin University
Northern Indiana Normal School
Profession Lawyer
George William Norris (July 11, 1861 September 2, 1944) was a U.S. politician from the state of Nebraska and a
leader of progressive and liberal causes in Congress. He served five terms in the United States House of
Representatives as a Republican from 1903 until 1913 and five terms in the United States Senate from 1913 until
1943, four terms as a Republican and the final term as an independent. Norris was defeated for reelection in 1942.
Norris is best known for his intense crusades against what he characterized as "wrong and evil", his liberalism, his
insurgency against party leaders, his isolationist foreign policy, his support for labor unions, and especially for
creating the Tennessee Valley Authority. President Franklin Roosevelt called him "the very perfect, gentle knight of
American progressive ideals," and this has been the theme of all of his biographers.
Early life
Norris was born in 1861 in York Township, Sandusky County, Ohio and was the eleventh child of poor, uneducated,
farmers of Scots-Irish and Pennsylvania Dutch descent. He graduated from Baldwin University and earned his LL.B.
degree in 1883 at the law school of Valparaiso University. He moved to Beaver City, Nebraska to practice law. In
1889 he married Pluma Lashley; the couple had three daughters (Gertrude, Hazel, and Marian) before her 1901
death. Norris then married Ellie Leonard in 1903; they had no children.
Political career
House insurgent
Norris relocated to the larger town of McCook in 1900, where he became active in local politics. In 1902, running as
a Republican, he was elected to the House of Representatives for Nebraska's 5th congressional district. In that
election, he was supported by the railroads; however, in 1906 he broke with them, supporting Theodore Roosevelt's
plans to regulate rates for the benefit of shippers, such as the merchants who lived in his district. A prominent
insurgent after 1908, he led the revolt against Speaker Joseph G. Cannon in 1910. By a vote of 191 to 156, the House
created a new system in which seniority would automatically move members ahead, even against the wishes of the
In January 1911, he helped create the National Progressive Republican League and was its vice president. He
originally supported Robert M. La Follette, Sr. for the 1912 presidential nomination but then switched to Roosevelt.
However, he refused to bolt the convention and join Roosevelt's Progressive Party. He instead ran for the Senate as a
As a leading Progressive Republican, Norris supported the direct election of senators. He also promoted the
conversion of all state legislatures to the unicameral system. This was implemented in 1934 only in the Nebraska
Legislature; all other states have retained a two-house system.
Norris supported some of President Woodrow Wilson's domestic programs but became a firm isolationist, fearing
that bankers were manipulating the country into war. In the face of enormous pressure from the media and the
administration, Norris was one of only six senators to vote against the declaration of war on Germany in 1917.
George W. Norris
George W. Norris, US Representative from
Looking at the war in Europe he said, "Many instances of cruelty and
inhumanity can be found on both sides." Norris believed that the
government wanted to take part in this war only because the wealthy
had already aided the British financially in the war. He told Congress
that the only people who would benefit from the war were "munition
manufacturers, stockbrokers, and bond dealers" and added that "war
brings no prosperity to the great mass of common and patriotic
citizens.... War brings prosperity to the stock gambler on Wall
Streetto those who are already in possession of more wealth than can
be realized or enjoyed."
He joined the "irreconcilables" who vehemently opposed and defeated
the Treaty of Versailles and the League of Nations in 1919.
Seniority brought him the chairmanship of the Agriculture and Forestry
and the Judiciary committees. Norris was a leader of the Farm Bloc,
advocated the rights of labor, sponsored the ("Lame Duck") Twentieth
Amendment to the United States Constitution, and proposed to abolish
the Electoral College. He failed on these issues in the 1920s, but
blocked Henry Ford's proposals to modernize the Tennessee Valley
through a major dam at Muscle Shoals, insisting that it was a project
the government should handle. Norris twice succeeded in getting Congress to pass legislation for a federal electric
power system based at Muscle Shoals, but it was vetoed by presidents Coolidge and Hoover. Norris said of Hoover's
veto in 1931: Norris demanded public power because he distrusted privately owned utilities. Norris said of Hoover:
Using his power of veto, he destroyed the Muscle Shoals bill--a measure designated to utilize the great
government property at Muscle Shoals for the cheapening of fertilizer for American agriculture and utilization
of the surplus power for the benefit of people without transmission distance of the development. The power
people want no yardstick which would expose their extortionate rates so Hoover killed the bill after it had been
passed by both houses of congress.
The idea for the Muscle Shoals Bill in 1933 became part of the New Deal's Tennessee Valley Authority (TVA).
Although a nominal Republican (which was essential to his seniority), he routinely attacked and voted against the
Republican administrations of Warren G. Harding, Calvin Coolidge, and Herbert Hoover. Norris supported
Democrats Al Smith and Franklin D. Roosevelt for president in 1928 and 1932, respectively. Republican regulars
called him one of the "sons of the wild jackass."
Norris was a staunch "dry," battling against alcohol even when the crusade lost favor in the Great Depression. He
told voters that prohibition means "this greatest evil of all mankind is driven from the homes of the American
people," even if it means "we are giving up some of our personal rights and personal privileges."
In 1932, along with Fiorello H. La Guardia, then a Republican Representative from New York City, Norris secured
passage of the Norris-La Guardia Act, which outlawed the practice of requiring prospective employees not to join a
labor union as a condition of employment (the so-called yellow-dog contract) and greatly limited the use of court
injunctions against strikes.
George W. Norris
FDR (center) signs the Rural Electrification Act with Congressman
John E. Rankin (left) and Norris (right)
New Dealer
A staunch supporter of President Roosevelt's New Deal
programs, Norris sponsored the Tennessee Valley
Authority Act of 1933. In appreciation, the Norris Dam
[5] and Norris, Tennessee, a new planned city in
Tennessee, were named after him.
Norris was also
the prime Senate mover behind the Rural
Electrification Act, which brought electrical service to
underserved and unserved rural areas across the United
States. It is also a testament to Norris' belief in "public
power" that there have been no privately owned electric
utilities operating in Nebraska since the late 1940s.
Norris believed in the wisdom of the common people
and in the progress of civilization.
"To get good government and to retain it, it is necessary that a liberty-loving,
educated, intelligent people should be ever watchful, to carefully guard and protect their rights and liberties," Norris
said in a 1934 speech, "The Model Legislature." The people were capable of being the government, he said,
affirming his populist/progressive credentials.
To alert the people, he called for transparency in government.
"Publicity," he proclaimed, "is the greatest cure for evils which may exist in government."
Norris left the Republicans in 1936 since seniority in the minority party was useless, and the Democrats offered him
chairmanships. He was re-elected to the Senate as an Independent with some Democratic Party support in 1936.
Norris won with 43.8% of the vote against Republican former congressman Robert G. Simmons (who came in
second) and Democratic former congressman Terry Carpenter (who came in a distant third).
Norris opposed Roosevelt's Judiciary Reorganization Bill of 1937 to pack the Supreme Court and railed against
corrupt patronage. In late 1937, when Norris saw the famous photograph "Bloody Saturday" (showing a burned
Chinese baby crying in a bombed-out train station), he shifted his stance on isolationism and non-interventionism.
Siding against Japanese violence in China, he called the Japanese "disgraceful, ignoble, barbarous, and cruel, even
beyond the power of language to describe."
Unable to secure Democratic support in the state in 1942, he was defeated by Republican Kenneth S. Wherry. He
parted from office saying, "I have done my best to repudiate wrong and evil in government affairs."
Norris is one of eight senators profiled in John F. Kennedy's Profiles in Courage, included for opposing Speaker
Cannon's autocratic power in the House, for speaking out against arming U.S. merchant ships during the United
States' neutral period in World War I, and for supporting the presidential campaign of Democrat Al Smith.
The principal north-south street through downtown McCook, Nebraska is named George Norris Avenue. Norris's
house in McCook is listed in the National Register of Historic Places, and is operated as a museum by the Nebraska
State Historical Society.
George W. Norris Middle School in Omaha, Nebraska, the George W. Norris K - 12 school system near Firth,
Nebraska, and George W. Norris Elementary School in Millard Public Schools stand as a memorial to the late
Senator. When several public power districts in southeastern Nebraska merged into one in 1941, the new utility was
named the Norris Public Power District in Senator Norris' honor.
George W. Norris
[1] Robert Muccigrosso, ed., Research Guide to American Historical Biography (1988) 3:1165
[2] ["Opposition to Wilson's War Message" http:/ / www. mtholyoke. edu/ acad/ intrel/ doc19. htm]
[3] From "NORRIS CALLS FOR DEFEAT OF HOOVER IN 1932" (http:/ / www. ecommcode. com/ hoover/ hooveronline/ text/ 16. html)
[4] Norman Wengert, "Antecedents of TVA: The Legislative History of Muscle Shoals." Agricultural History (1952) 26#4 pp: 141-147. in
JSTOR (http:/ / www. jstor. org/ stable/ 3740474)
[5] http:/ / www. tva. gov/ sites/ norris.htm
[6] TVA: An American Ideal (http:/ / www.tva. gov/ heritage/ norris/ )
[7] TVA: Norris Reservoir (http:/ / www.tva. gov/ sites/ norris. htm)
[8] [8] Charlyne Berens, One House, The unicameral's Progressive Vision for Nebraska (2005, University of Nebraska Press)
[9] [9] Robert F. Wesser, "George W. Norris, The Unicameral Legislature and the Progressive Ideal," Nebraska History (December 1964)
Fellman, David. "The Liberalism of Senator Norris," American Political Science Review (1946) 40:27-41 in
JSTOR (http:/ / www. jstor. org/ stable/ 1949944)
Lowitt, Richard
George W. Norris: The Making of a Progressive, 1861-1912 (1963)
George W. Norris; The Persistence of a Progressive, 1913-1933 (1971)
George W. Norris: The Triumph of a Progressive, 1933-1944 (1978)
Norris, George W. Fighting Liberal: The Autobiography of George W. Norris (1945; reprinted 1972) (http:/ /
www. questia. com/ PM. qst?a=o& d=22862366)
Zucker, Norman L. George W. Norris: Gentle Knight of American Democracy (1966) online (http:/ / www.
questia. com/ PM. qst?a=o& d=65865732)
External links
Wikimedia Commons has media related to George W. Norris.
"An American Ideal (Norris, Tennessee). Tennessee Valley Authority (http:/ / www. tva. gov/ heritage/ norris/ )
"RESERVOIRS AND POWER PLANTS: Norris Reservoir." Tennessee Valley Authority. (http:/ / www. tva.
gov/ sites/ norris. htm)
George W. Norris (http:/ / bioguide. congress. gov/ scripts/ biodisplay. pl?index=N000139) at the Biographical
Directory of the United States Congress
Senator George Norris State Historic Site (http:/ / www. nebraskahistory. org/ sites/ norris/ ) operated by the
Nebraska State Historical Society
George W. Norris: U.S. Legislator from Nebraska (http:/ / www. nebraskastudies. org/ 0800/ stories/ 0801_0300.
html) -a learning resource
George W. Norris
United States House of Representatives
Ashton C.
from Nebraska's 5th congressional district
Silas Reynolds
United States Senate
Norris Brown
U.S. Senator (Class 2) from Nebraska
Served alongside: Gilbert M. Hitchcock, Robert B. Howell,
William H. Thompson, Richard C. Hunter, Edward R. Burke, Hugh A.
Kenneth S. Wherry
Political offices
Albert B. Cummins
Chairman of the Senate Judiciary Committee
Henry F. Ashurst
Jeannette Rankin
Jeannette Rankin
Jeannette Rankin
Member of the U.S. House of Representatives
from Montana's At-large district
In office
March 4, 1917 March 3, 1919
Preceded by Tom Stout
Succeeded by District abolished
Pat Williams after district re-established in 1993
Member of the U.S. House of Representatives
from Montana's 1st district
In office
January 3, 1941 January 3, 1943
Preceded by Jacob Thorkelson
Succeeded by Mike Mansfield
Personal details
Born Jeannette Pickering Rankin
June 11, 1880
Missoula County, Montana
Died May 18, 1973 (aged92)
Carmel, California
Political party Republican
Alma mater University of Montana
University of Washington
Occupation Social worker, activist, Congresswoman
Jeannette Pickering Rankin (June 11, 1880 May 18, 1973) was the first woman in the United States Congress,
elected in Montana in 1916 and again in 1940. After being elected in 1916 she said, "I may be the first woman
member of Congress but I wont be the last."
Jeannette Rankin
Rankin's two terms in Congress coincided with U.S. entry into both world wars. A lifelong pacifist, she was one of
fifty members of Congress who voted against entry into World War I in 1917, and the only member of Congress who
voted against declaring war on Japan after the attack on Pearl Harbor in 1941.
Early life and suffrage movement
Rankin was born on June 11, 1880 near Missoula, Montana, to schoolteacher Olive Pickering Rankin and Canadian
immigrant, carpenter, and rancher John Rankin. She was the oldest of six children including five girls, one of whom
died in childhood, and one brother, who later became her close political advisor during her career. As a child, Rankin
gained a reputation for doing things most other girls didn't. She often helped ranch hands with machinery, and once
single-handedly built a sidewalk to help her father rent a building.
She graduated from high school in 1898, and in 1902 graduated from the University of Montana with a Bachelor of
Science degree in biology. Undecided about what to do next, Rankin tried dressmaking and furniture design but
neither suited her. She also turned down several marriage proposals.
Rankin attended the New York School of Philanthropy (later part of Columbia University) from 1908 to 1909, then
moved to Spokane. After briefly serving as a social worker she attended the University of Washington and became
involved in the women's suffrage movement. She became an organizer for the New York Women's Suffrage Party
and a lobbyist for the National American Woman Suffrage Association (NAWSA), facilitating suffrage victories in
both Washington and Montana.
Rankin later compared her work in the women's suffrage movement to the pacifist foreign policy that defined her
congressional career. She believed, with many suffragists of the period, that the corruption and dysfunction of the
United States government was a result of a lack of feminine participation. As she said at a disarmament conference
in the interwar period, The peace problem is a womans problem."
First congressional term
Rankin's first campaign for the congressional election of 1916 was financed and managed by her brother Wellington
D. Rankin, a power in the Montana Republican Party. The campaign involved traveling long distances to reach the
large state's scattered population. Rankin rallied support at train stations, street corners, potluck suppers on ranches,
and remote one-room schoolhouses. Rankin won by over 7,500 votes.
On November 7 she was elected to Montana's at-large seat in the U.S. House of Representatives, becoming the first
female member of Congress. During her term in the 65th Congress women did not have universal suffrage, but many
were voting in some form in about forty states, including Montana. "If I am remembered for no other act," Rankin
said, "I want to be remembered as the only woman who ever voted to give women the right to vote."
Just after her term began the House held a vote on whether to enter World War I. Rankin cast one of fifty votes
against the resolution, later saying, "I felt the first time the first woman had a chance to say no to war she should say
it." Some considered Rankin's vote to be a discredit to the suffragist movement and to Rankin's authority in
Congress, but others applauded it, including Alice Paul of the National Woman's Party and Representative Fiorello
LaGuardia of New York.
On June 8, 1917, the Speculator Mine disaster in Butte left 168 miners dead, and a massive protest strike over
working conditions ensued. Rankin intervened, but mining companies refused to meet with her or the miners, and
proposed legislation was unsuccessful.
During Rankin's first term, the Montana legislature restructured its voting districts, and she found herself in an
overwhelmingly Democratic one. Rather than run for re-election, she opted to run for the United States Senate in
1918. She initially ran in the Republican primary, and she ultimately lost the primary to Oscar M. Lanstrum.
Jeannette Rankin
Following her defeat in the primary, she accepted the nomination of the National Party, and finished third in the
election, behind incumbent United States Senator Thomas J. Walsh, the Democratic nominee, and Lanstrum, the
Republican nominee.
Between terms
In 1919 Rankin bought property in Georgia, where she organized social clubs for children, formed the Georgia Peace
Society, and gave lectures on pacifism.
She also worked as a field secretary for the National Consumers League and as a lobbyist for the National Council
for the Prevention of War. She argued for the passage of a constitutional amendment banning child labor and the
SheppardTowner Act, the first federal social welfare program created explicitly for women and children. The
legislation was enacted in 1921 but repealed just eight years later.
Second congressional term
Rankin was elected to Congress again in 1940, defeating incumbent Republican representative Jacob Thorkelson, an
outspoken anti-Semite. She was appointed to the Committee on Public Lands and the Committee on Insular Affairs.
World War II was raging in Europe, and another debate on U.S. involvement had broken out.
Rankin was the only member of Congress to vote against entering WWII following the attack on Pearl Harbor.
Hisses could be heard from the gallery when Rankin cast the vote and several colleagues asked her to change it to
make the war declaration unanimous, but she refused. "As a woman I can't go to war," she said, "and I refuse to send
anyone else." After the vote an angry mob followed her, and she was forced to hide in a telephone booth and call
congressional police to rescue her.
Life after Congress
Over the next twenty years Rankin traveled the world, frequently visiting India, where she studied the pacifist
teachings of Mahatma Gandhi.
In the 1960s and 1970s, new waves of pacifists, feminists, and civil rights advocates idolized Rankin and embraced
her efforts in ways that her generation didn't. U.S. involvement in Vietnam mobilized her once again. In January
1968, she established the Jeannette Rankin Brigade and led five thousand marchers in Washington, D.C. to protest
the war, culminating in the presentation of a peace petition to House Speaker John McCormack of Massachusetts.
Death and legacy
Rankin died of natural causes on May 18, 1973 in Carmel, California. Jeanette was 93 when she passed. She had
been considering another run for a House seat to protest the Vietnam War.
She bequeathed her property in Watkinsville, Georgia to help "mature, unemployed women workers." The Jeannette
Rankin Foundation (later named The Jeannette Rankin Women's Scholarship Fund), a 501(c)(3) nonprofit
organization, annually gives educational scholarships to low-income women 35 and older across the United States.
In 1978 the Foundation awarded one scholarship in the amount of $500, and has since built capacity and awarded
more than $1.8 million in scholarships to more than 700 women. In 2012 the organization awarded 85 scholarships
in the amount of $2,000 each.
A statue of Rankin was placed in the United States Capitol's Statuary Hall in 1985. At the dedication, historian Joan
Hoff-Wilson called her "one of the most controversial and unique women in Montana and American political history.
A replica stands in Montana's capitol, and the words "I Cannot Vote For War" are carved into the bases of both.
Jeannette Rankin
In popular culture
In 2004 peace activist Jeanmarie Simpson produced a play entitled A Single Woman, based on the life of Rankin.
Simpson baked bread during her performances, to be eaten by audiences in the final scene. The play was presented
263 times in two years, both in the U.S. and abroad, to benefit peace organizations and movements including the
Women's International League for Peace and Freedom, the American Civil Liberties Union, and Friends Service
Simpson then wrote and starred in a film about Rankin's life, also called A Single Woman. The film was directed and
produced by Kamala Lopez, narrated by Martin Sheen, and featured music by Joni Mitchell. It was screened in 2008
at the Santa Fe Film Festival.
[1] Alter, Judy. Extraordinary Women of the American West. Children's Press, 1999, pp. 153157
[2] Lemons, J. The SheppardTowner Act: Progressivism in the 1920s, The Journal of American History, March 1969
Further reading
Alana J. Erickson, "Rankin, Jeannette Pickering," Dictionary of American Biography, Supplement 9 (1994)
Kevin S. Giles, Flight of the Dove: The Story of Jeanette Rankin. Beaverton, OR: Touchstone Press, 1980.
James J. Lopach and Jean A. Luckowski. Jeannette Rankin: A Political Woman. Boulder, CO: University Press of
Colorado, 2005.
Hannah Josephson, First Lady in Congress: Jeannette Rankin. Indianapolis, IN: BobbsMerrill, 1974.
Norma Smith, Jeannette Rankin: America's Conscience. Helena, MT: Montana Historical Society Press, 2002.
Joan Hoff Wilson, "'Peace Is a Woman's Job...': Jeannette Rankin and American Foreign Policy: Her Lifework as
a Pacifist," Montana: The Magazine of Western History, vol. 30, no. 2 (Spring 1980), pp. 3853. In JSTOR (http:/
/ www. jstor. org/ stable/ 4518483).
External links
This article incorporatespublic domain material from websites or documents of the Biographical Directory of the
United States Congress.
Wikimedia Commons has media related to Jeannette Rankin.
Jeannette Rankin (http:/ / bioguide. congress. gov/ scripts/ biodisplay. pl?index=R000055) at the Biographical
Directory of the United States Congress
Suffragists Oral History Project at Berkeley 197172 interviews with Rankin (http:/ / texts. cdlib. org/ xtf/
Jeannette Rankin Peace Center (http:/ / www. jrpc. org) in Missoula, Montana
Jeannette Rankin entry (http:/ / politicalgraveyard. com/ bio/ rankin. html#881. 45. 98) at The Political Graveyard
Jeannette Rankin (http:/ / www. findagrave. com/ cgi-bin/ fg. cgi?page=gr& GRid=6246268) at Find a Grave
Papers, 18791976. (http:/ / nrs. harvard. edu/ urn-3:RAD. SCHL:sch00071) Schlesinger Library (http:/ /
radcliffe. harvard. edu/ schlesinger-library), Radcliffe Institute, Harvard University.
Jeannette Rankin (http:/ / watch. montanapbs. org/ video/ 1766257341) Documentary produced by Montana PBS
1919 passport photo (http:/ / www. flickr. com/ photos/ puzzlemaster/ 5899213789/ in/
pool-vintage_photos_wild_women_by_nyctreeman|puzzlemaster)(courtesy of flickr)
Jeannette Rankin
United States House of Representatives
Tom Stout
from Montana's at-large congressional
March 4, 1917 March 3, 1919
Carl Riddick
Jacob Thorkelson
from Montana's 1st congressional district
January 3, 1941 January 3, 1943
Mike Mansfield
Nicholas Longworth
Nicholas Longworth
For his great-grandfather, the winemaker, see Nicholas Longworth I.
Nicholas Longworth III
43rd Speaker of the United States House of Representatives
In office
December 7, 1925 March 4, 1931
President John Calvin Coolidge, Jr.
Herbert Clark Hoover
Preceded by Frederick H. Gillett
Succeeded by John Nance Garner IV
Member of the U.S. House of Representatives
from Ohio's 1st district
In office
March 4, 1915 April 9, 1931
Preceded by Stanley E. Bowdle
Succeeded by John B. Hollister
In office
March 4, 1903 March 3, 1913
Preceded by William B. Shattuc
Succeeded by Stanley E. Bowdle
Personal details
Born November 5, 1869
Mount Adams, Cincinnati, Ohio
Died April 9, 1931 (aged61)
Aiken, South Carolina
Resting place Spring Grove Cemetery
Political party Republican
Spouse(s) Alice Lee Roosevelt
(m. 19061931; his death)
Nicholas Longworth
Relations Timothy Walker (grandfather)
Maria Longworth (aunt)
Clara Eleanor Longworth (sister)
Parents Nicholas Longworth II
Susan Walker
Alma mater Harvard University
Cincinnati Law School
Occupation politician
Profession Law
Nicholas "Nick" Longworth III (November 5, 1869 April 9, 1931) was an American politician in the Republican
Party during the first few decades of the 20th century. He served as House Majority Leader from 1923 to 1925 and
subsequently as Speaker of the United States House of Representatives from 1925 to 1931.
Early years and education
Nicholas III was the son of Nicholas Longworth II (June 16, 1844 January 18, 1890) and Susan Walker. The
Longworths were an old, prominent, and wealthy family which dominated Cincinnati. He had two younger sisters,
Anna and Clara. Nicholas Longworth II was the son of Joseph Longworth and grandson of winemaker Nicholas
Longworth I (1783-1863), both distinguished citizens of Cincinnati. He graduated from Harvard University in 1866,
studied law with Rufus King, and passed the bar in the spring of 1869. He was an active member of the bar and
briefly served on the Supreme Court of Ohio, but he resigned this position and retired from the practice of law in
1883 upon his father's death.
He and Susan Walker, a daughter of Judge Timothy Walker, a founding faculty and
Dean of the Cincinnati Law School,
were married on October 2, 1866.
Nicholas Longworth III attended the Franklin School,
a school for boys in Cincinnati, and then went on to attend
Harvard College (Class of 1891), where he was a member of Delta Kappa Epsilon (Alpha chapter) and the Porcellian
Club. He was a talented, but not necessarily an industrious student; one friend wrote about him: "His good head
made it easy for him to get perfectly respectable marks without doing much of any work."
After receiving his
bachelor's degree from Harvard, he attended Harvard Law School for one year, but transferred to and received his
law degree from Cincinnati Law School in 1894.
Longworth was a violinist, and on their first visit to Bayreuth, his wife Alice Lee Roosevelt reported that "Nick was
really a musician and cared deeply for music, but for me to listen to The Ring [i.e., Der Ring des Nibelungen], and, I
think, Tannhuser and Tristan [i.e., Tristan und Isolde] thrown in, was something in the nature of an endurance test."
Later she observed that "In Washington, Nick never had much time to play his violin, and in those days there
were very few people to play with him. In Cincinnati there were the orchestra, the College of Music, and the
Conservatory to draw on, and soon we were having musical parties, at least once, and often two or three times a
week. Until then I had not heard much chamber musiconly an occasional concert that I felt was far too high-brow
for me to try to understand. But week after week of quartets and trios at our house or at the houses of friends opened
even my ears to a new capacity for hearing..... We would all have dinner first, the musicians and a few others who
cared for music, and afterwards lose no time getting started, by about nine at the latest. From then on music and yet
more music until midnight and usually long after. They all played because they loved it; there never were more
delightful evenings."
In a letter to Longworth's sister Clara, Leopold Stokowski wrote "Your brother had a rare
understanding of music. He penetrated directly into the spirit of music. It was his natural element."
The violin,
however, was just a very good copy of a Stradivarius and was not harmed. After he died, the violin was lent to
up-and-coming artists. He also sang and played piano, which made him a welcome parlor guest.
Nicholas Longworth
Professional life and entry into politics
Longworth began a law practice in Cincinnati after being admitted to the Ohio bar in 1894. His political career began
with a position on the city's Board of Education in 1898.
As the protg of Republican boss George B. Cox, Longworth was elected to the Ohio General Assembly, serving in
the Ohio House of Representatives in 1899 and 1900, then in the State Senate from 1901 to 1903. In 1902 he was
instrumental in writing and passing the Longworth Act, a bill regulating the issuance of municipal bonds, which has
been labeled "one of the most successful laws in Ohio's history"
Longworth was elected to the United States House
of Representatives from the First Congressional District of Ohio which included the city of Cincinnati and counties
bordering Kentucky and Indiana.
Nicholas Longworth and wife Alice seated outside the United States Capitol
while watching a show put on by Arizona Native Americans, 1926.
Speaker Longworth shakes hands with North Carolina Representative Charles
Manly Stedman and presents a congressional birthday cake with eighty-five
candles along with fellow congressmen in front of the United States Capitol,
January 30, 1926.
The new representative, still a bachelor, quickly
became a popular bon vivant in Washington,
D.C. society. He successfully wooed Alice Lee
Roosevelt, the daughter of President Theodore
"T.R." Roosevelt, Jr. and Alice Hathaway Lee.
They married in a White House ceremony in
Already well known for his social success,
Longworth first came to political prominence in
1910, when he led the successful Republican
revolt against the autocratic rule of House
Speaker Joseph Gurney Cannon. Throughout his
political career, Longworth was a workhorse,
especially on issues regarding foreign affairs and
the protective tariff.
As the insurgent (or "Progressive") Republicans
pulled apart from the conservatives in 191012,
Longworth sided with the conservatives.
Theodore Roosevelt led the Progressives, and
bolted the Republican convention in the 1912
election to set up a third party. However, many
of Roosevelt's closest political allies, including
Longworth, supported conservative
standard-bearer President William Howard Taft.
Longworth's decision caused a permanent chill
in his marriage to Alice. For men like
Longworth expecting a future in politics, bolting
the Republican party ticket was simply too
radical a step. Also, Longworth agreed more
with Taft than Roosevelt on critical issues like
an independent judiciary and support for
Because the Progressive Party ran a candidate in his district, Longworth was defeated (by only
Nicholas Longworth
Speaker Longworth throws out the first ball at the starting game between the
Democratic and Republican teams of the House of Representatives at Griffith
Stadium, Mrs. Longworth seated below, May 3, 1928.
Speaker Longworth with Secretary of the Navy Charles Francis Adams III on
the White House lawn, June 27, 1929.
105 votes) in 1912. (Longworth's wife appeared
at a speech by his Progressive opponent and
would thereafter joke that it was she who cost
her husband at least 100 of those 105 votes.)
Majority leader and Speaker of
the House
Longworth returned to Congress in 1914,
serving until his death, and became Majority
Leader of the House in 1923.
After an effective term as Majority Leader,
Longworth moved up to become Speaker in
1925 after Frederick Huntington Gillett took a
seat in the United States Senate. Ironically, his
first act as speaker was to restore much of the
power to the office that had been stripped away
during the revolt against Joseph Cannon that he
helped lead.
Longworth began his tenure by punishing 13
self-styled Progressives, who supported Robert
M. La Follette, Sr. instead of Calvin Coolidge in
1924. He expelled the rebels from the GOP
caucus, and stripped even the committee
chairmen among them of all seniority.
Longworth took control of the Steering
Committee and Committee on Committees and
placed his own men on the Rules Committee,
guaranteeing that he controlled the work of the
Ignoring the left wing of the party, Longworth
passed legislation that aimed for balanced
budgets and major tax reductions, resisting any
new programs that would expand the role of
government. However, Longworth defied
President Herbert Hoover in 1931 by supporting
the long-stalled veterans bonus bill; it passed but
Hoover vetoed it, setting up the Bonus March of
Longworth reached across the aisle to
Democrats, forging a productive relationship with John Nance Garner, that party's House minority leader, who relied
upon informal methods to strengthen his party's influence. He enjoyed a close rapport with Garner, who said of
Longworth, "I was the heathen and Nick was the aristocrat." Together they hosted a daily gathering of Democratic
and Republican congressmen in a secluded room in the Capitol, which became known as the "Bureau of Education."
Nicholas Longworth
This unofficial club provided a place for politicians to relax with a drink and get to know and work with one another
across party lines.
Final days and death
Longworth served as speaker until 1931, after the Republicans lost their House majority in the election of 1930.
Journalist Frank R. Kent of the Baltimore Sun wrote of him:
"Without any revision of the rules he completely recovered the power of the speakership and was the
undisputed leader of the House with as autocratic control as either Reed or Cannon. It is true he exercised this
power with infinitely more tact and grace and gumption and without that touch of offensive arrogance that
characterized former House Czars. But he was just as much a Czar. What Mr. Longworth clearly proved was
this matter of leadership depends not so much on the rules but on the man.
While visiting his friend Dwight Filley Davis (of Davis Cup fame), and Daniel J. Duckett in Aiken, South Carolina,
Longworth caught pneumonia and died unexpectedly. His wife Alice brought his body back to Cincinnati, where it
was interred in the Spring Grove Cemetery. At a memorial service held at the Library of Congress on May 3, 1931,
his old friends Efrem Zimbalist and Harold Bauer played Brahms's D minor sonata.
Donald C. Bacon described Longworth as "Debonair and aristocratic, given to wearing spats and carrying a
gold-headed cane, he was anything but a typical politician. He was perpetually cheerful, quick with a joke or witty
retort, and unfailingly friendly. He seemed never to have a care and made hard decisions with such ease and
detachment that some people wondered if anything at all really mattered to him."
One particular famous retort is told about Longworth. One day, while lounging in a chair at the Capitol, another
member of the House ran his hand over Longworth's bald pate and commented, "Nice and smooth. Feels just like my
wife's bottom." Longworth felt his own head and returned an answer: "Yes, so it does."
Nicholas Longworth strengthened the power of the House of Representatives. He was popular on both sides of the
aisle, and his years of leadership are commemorated in the Longworth House Office Building on Capitol Hill.
In the 66 years following his tenure as Speaker of the House, no other Republican served consecutive terms as
Speaker until Newt Gingrich was re-elected after the 1996 election.
In 2011, John Boehner became the first Ohioan since Longworth to serve as Speaker of the House.
[1] Burgess, Levi J. : "Reports of Cases argued and Determined in the Supreme Court of Ohio", page vii, Banks & Brothers, 1891
[2] "Walker, Timothy (18061856)." (http:/ / www.encyclopedia. com/ doc/ 1G2-2536601042. html) American Eras, 1997,
"Encyclopedia.com", Retrieved 10 Aug. 2010
[3] [3] Goodman, R. and B. J. Brunsman:"This Day in Ohio History", page 115, Emmis Books, 2005.
[4] [4] De Chambrun, C. L.: "The Making of Nicholas Longworth: Annals of an American Family", page 141, Ray Long and Richard R. Smith, Inc.,
[5] Alice Roosevelt Longworth, Crowded Hours, p. 127.
[6] Alice Roosevelt Longworth, Crowded Hours, p. 228.
[7] [7] De Chambrun, C. L: "The Making of Nicholas Longworth", page 222, Putnam, 1933.
[8] Supreme Court of Ohio "Grand Concourse: Nicholas Longworth" (http:/ / www. ohiojudicialcenter. gov/ n_longworth. asp) "The Ohio
Judicial Center", Cincinnati, 2010. Retrieved August 11, 2010
[9] [9] quoted in Bacon p. 140
[10] [10] Bacon (1998) p 120
[11] The Best Year of Their Lives: Kennedy, Johnson, and Nixon in 1948 Lance Morrow. Basic Books, 2006, p. 61. ISBN 0-465-04724-6
Nicholas Longworth
Garraty, John A. and Mark C. Carnes, eds. American National Biography, vol. 13, "Longworth, Nicholas". New
York : Oxford University Press, 1999.
Bacon, Donald C. "Nicholas Longworth: The Genial Czar" in Raymond W Smock and Susan W Hammond, eds.
Masters of the House: Congressional Leadership Over Two Centuries (1998) pp 11943.
De Chambrun, Clara Longworth. The Making of Nicholas Longworth; Annals of an American Family. New
York: Ray Long and Richard R. Smith, Inc., 1933. Reprint, Freeport, N.Y.: Books for Libraries Press, [1971]
Note. Clara detested Nick's wife Alice Roosevelt Longworth and she's not even mentioned or pictured in her book
on her famous brother.
Longworth, Alice Roosevelt. Crowded Hours; Reminiscences (New York: Scribner's, 1933).
External links
Wikimedia Commons has media related to Nicholas Longworth.
Nicholas Longworth (http:/ / bioguide. congress. gov/ scripts/ biodisplay. pl?index=L000433) at the Biographical
Directory of the United States Congress
Nicholas Longworth (http:/ / www. findagrave. com/ cgi-bin/ fg. cgi?page=gr& GRid=4586) at Find a Grave
Fiorello H. La Guardia
Fiorello H. La Guardia
"LaGuardia" redirects here. For the airport, see LaGuardia Airport. For other meanings, see La Guardia.
Fiorello H. La Guardia
99th Mayor of New York City
In office
January 1, 1934 December 31, 1945
Preceded by John P. O'Brien
Succeeded by William O'Dwyer
Member of the U.S. House of Representatives
from New York's 20th district
In office
March 4, 1923 March 3, 1933
Preceded by Isaac Siegel
Succeeded by James J. Lanzetta
10th President of the New York City Board of Aldermen
In office
January 1, 1920 December 31, 1921
Preceded by Robert L. Moran
Succeeded by Murray Hulbert
Member of the U.S. House of Representatives
from New York's 14th district
In office
March 4, 1917 December 31, 1919
Preceded by Michael F. Farley
Succeeded by Nathan D. Perlman
Personal details
Born Fiorello Enrico LaGuardia
December 11, 1882
Greenwich Village, Manhattan, New York, United States
Died September 20, 1947 (aged64)
Bronx, New York, United States
Political party Republican
Spouse(s) Thea Almerigotti (1919-1921; her death)
Marie Fisher (m. 1929; 2 children)
Fiorello H. La Guardia
Profession Politician
Religion Episcopalian
Fiorello Henry LaGuardia (/firloHelp:IPA for English#Keylwrdi/; born Fiorello Enrico La
(December 11, 1882 September 20, 1947) was the 99th Mayor of New York for three terms from
1934 to 1945 as a Republican. Previously he had been elected to Congress in 1916 and 1918, and again from 1922
through 1930. Irascible, energetic, and charismatic, he craved publicity and is acclaimed as one of the three or four
greatest mayors in American history.
Only five feet (1.52m) tall, he was called "the Little Flower" (Fiorello is
Italian for "little flower").
LaGuardia, a Republican who appealed across party lines, was very popular in New York during the 1930s. As a
New Dealer, he supported President Franklin D. Roosevelt, a Democrat, and in turn Roosevelt heavily funded the
city and cut off patronage from LaGuardia's foes. La Guardia revitalized New York City and restored public faith in
City Hall. He unified the transit system, directed the building of low-cost public housing, public playgrounds, and
parks, constructed airports, reorganized the police force, defeated the powerful Tammany Hall political machine, and
reestablished merit employment in place of patronage jobs.
LaGuardia was a domineering leader who verged on authoritarianism but whose reform politics were carefully
tailored to address the sentiments of his diverse constituency. He defeated a corrupt Democratic machine, presided
during a depression and a world war, made the city the model for New Deal welfare and public works programs, and
championed immigrants and ethnic minorities. He succeeded with the support of a sympathetic president. He secured
his place in history as a tough-minded reform mayor who helped clean out corruption, bring in gifted experts, and fix
upon the city a broad sense of responsibility for its own citizens. His administration engaged new groups that had
been kept out of the political system, gave New York its modern infrastructure, and raised expectations of new levels
of urban possibility.
The intemperate mayor was rough on his staffers and left no doubt who was in charge. He lost his intuitive touch
during the war years, when the federal money stopped flowing in, and never realized that he had created far more
infrastructure than the city could afford. He "represented a dangerous style of personal rule hitched to a transcendent
purpose", according to Thomas Kessner, LaGuardia's biographer, adding that today, "people would be afraid of
allowing anybody to take that kind of power".
Early life and career
LaGuardia was born in Greenwich Village in New York City to an Italian father and an Italian-Jewish mother. His
father, Achille La Guardia, was a lapsed Catholic from Cerignola, and his mother, Irene Coen, was a Jewish woman
from Trieste, then part of the Austro-Hungarian Empire; his maternal grandmother Fiorina Luzzatto Coen was a
Luzzatto, a member of the prestigious Italian-Jewish family of scholars, kabbalists, and poets and had among her
ancestors the famous rabbi Samuel David Luzzatto. It was in Trieste that Achille La Guardia met and married Irene.
Fiorello La Guardia was raised an Episcopalian and practised that religion all his life. His middle name "Enrico" was
anglicized to "Henry" when he was a child.
He moved to Arizona with his family, where his father had a bandmaster position at Fort Whipple in the U.S. Army.
LaGuardia attended public schools and high school in Prescott, Arizona.
After his father was discharged from his
bandmaster position in 1898, Fiorello lived in Trieste.
La Guardia joined the State Department and served in U.S. consulates in Budapest, Trieste (Austria-Hungary, now
Italy), and Fiume (Austria-Hungary), now Rijeka (Croatia), (19011906). He returned to the United States to
continue his education at New York University. From 1907 to 1910, he worked as an interpreter for the U.S. Bureau
of Immigration at the Ellis Island immigration station.
Fiorello H. La Guardia
He graduated from New York University School of Law in 1910, was admitted to the bar the same year, and began a
law practice in New York City.
Marriages and family
LaGuardia married twice. His first wife was Thea Almerigotti, whom he married on March 8, 1919. In June 1920
they had a daughter, Fioretta Thea, who died May 9, 1921, of spinal meningitis. His wife died of tuberculosis on
November 29, 1921, at the age of 26. He married Marie Fisher (1895-1984) in 1929; they adopted two children, Eric
Henry (born 1930) and Jean Marie (192862).
Fiorello LaGuardia between two Italian officers
in front of a Ca.44, c.1918
Early political career
Elected to Congress
LaGuardia became Deputy Attorney General of New York in January
1915. In 1916, he was elected to the U.S. House of Representatives,
where he had a reputation as a fiery and devoted reformer. As a
Representative, LaGuardia represented an ethnically diverse slum
district in East Harlem and, although barred from important committee
posts because of his political independence, he was a tireless and vocal
champion of progressive causes.
LaGuardia took office on March 4,
1917, but soon was commissioned in the United States Army Air
Service; he rose to the rank of major in command of a unit of Ca.44
bombers on the Italian-Austrian front in World War I. LaGuardia
resigned his seat in Congress on December 31, 1919.
Fiorello H. La Guardia
President of the Board of Aldermen
New York Times front page
November 5, 1919
LaGuardia during his time in Congress, c. 1929.
In 1919, La Guardia was chosen to run as the Republican candidate for
the office of President of the New York City Board of Aldermen. His
Democratic opponent was Robert L. Moran, an alderman from the
Bronx who had succeeded to the Board presidency in 1918 when
Alfred E. Smith, who had been elected Board President in 1917,
became Governor.
Michael "Dynamite Mike" Kelly, commander of
New York's Third "Shamrock" Battalion, also joined the race.
Tammany Hall looked with alarm upon Kelly's entrance into the
campaign and tried to persuade him to withdraw his candidacy and
throw his support behind Moran. When he refused, Tammany went to
the New York Supreme Court and successfully sued to keep Kelly's
name off the ballot.
When Election Day arrived, over 3,500 of
Kelly's supporters wrote Kelly's name on the ballot. This number was
sufficient to defeat Moran, who lost to LaGuardia by 1,363 votes.
As the son of Italian immigrants and an interpreter on Ellis Island
between 1907 and 1910, LaGuardia had experienced how immigration
policies affected the families that came to the United States. He wanted
a change for the immigrants, especially with the immigrant medical
examinations that took place on Ellis Island. LaGuardia's passion for
justice among immigrants and his ability to speak Yiddish and Italian
helped him in his endeavor for justice amongst immigrant factory
Return to Congress
LaGuardia, running as a Republican, won a seat in Congress from the
Italian stronghold of East Harlem in 1922 and served in the House until
March 3, 1933. A leading liberal reformer, LaGuardia sponsored labor
legislation and railed against immigration quotas. His major legislation
was the Norris-LaGuardia Act, cosponsored with Nebraska senator
George Norris in 1932. It circumvented Supreme Court limitations on
the activities of labor unions, especially as those limitations were
imposed between the enactment of the Clayton Antitrust Act in 1914
and the end of the 1920s. Based on the theory that the lower courts are creations not of the Constitution but of
Congress, and that Congress therefore has wide power in defining and restricting their jurisdiction, the act forbids
issuance of injunctions to sustain anti-union contracts of employment, to prevent ceasing or refusing to perform any
work or remain in any relation of employment, or to restrain acts generally constituting component parts of strikes,
boycotts, and picketing. It also said courts could no longer enforce yellow-dog contracts, which are labor contracts
prohibiting a worker from joining a union.
Fiorello H. La Guardia
Foreign policy
Never an isolationist, he supported using American influence abroad on behalf of democracy or for national
independence or against autocracy. Thus he supported the Irish independence movement and the anti-czarist Russian
Revolution of 1917, but did not approve of Vladimir Lenin. Unlike most progressive colleagues, such as Norris, La
Guardia consistently backed internationalism, speaking in favor of the League of Nations and the Inter-Parliamentary
Union as well as peace and disarmament conferences. In domestic policies he tended toward socialism and wanted to
nationalize and regulate; however he was never close to the Socialist Party and never bothered to read Karl Marx.
Champion of the progressive movement
As a congressman, LaGuardia was a tireless and vocal champion of progressive causes, from allowing more
immigration and removing U.S. troops from Nicaragua to speaking up for the rights and livelihoods of striking
miners, impoverished farmers, oppressed minorities, and struggling families. A goad to the era's plutocrats and their
enablers in government, LaGuardia fought for progressive income taxes, greater government oversight of Wall
Street, and national employment insurance for workers idled by the Great Depression.
LaGuardia was one of the first Republicans to voice his opinion about the prohibition act, urging that the Dry cause
"would prove disastrous in the long run". This was a taboo for the fact that both parties "avoided taking a stand on
prohibition issues" at the time.
Defeats in 1929 and 1932
As a Republican, LaGuardia had to support Harding in 1920; he had to be silent in the 1928 campaign although he
favored Al Smith, a Democrat. In 1929, he lost the election for mayor to incumbent Democrat Jimmy Walker by a
In 1932 he was defeated for re-election to the House by James J. Lanzetta, the Democratic candidate;
1932 was not a good year for Republican candidates like LaGuardia, and the 20th Congressional district was shifting
from a Jewish and Italian-American population to a Puerto Rican population. However, it has also been argued that
powerful Tammany Hall boss Jimmy Hines was able to successfully get enough votes forged to get LaGuardia
unseated in this election as well.
Mayor of New York
1933 election
Walker and his Irish-run Tammany Hall were forced out of office by scandal and LaGuardia was determined to
replace him. First he had to win the nomination of both the Republican party and also the "Fusion" group of
independents. He was not the first choice of either, for they distrusted Italians. On the other hand LaGuardia had
enormous determination, high visibility, the support of reformer Samuel Seabury and the ability to ruin prospects of
any rival by a divisive primary contest. He secured the nominations and expected an easy win against hapless
incumbent Mayor John P. O'Brien. At the last minute Joseph V. McKee entered the race as the nominee of the new
"Recovery party". McKee was a formidable opponent because he was sponsored by Bronx Democratic boss Edward
J. Flynn and apparently was favored by President Franklin Roosevelt. LaGuardia made corruption his main issue.
The campaign saw mud slung three ways, with LaGuardia denounced as a far-left "Red", O'Brien as a pawn of the
bosses, and McKee as an anti-Semite. LaGuardia's win was based on a complex coalition of regular Republicans
(mostly middle class Germans in the boroughs outside Manhattan), a minority of reform-minded Democrats, some
Socialists, a large proportion of middle-class Jews, and the great majority of Italians. The Italians had been loyal to
Tammany; their switch proved decisive.
Fiorello H. La Guardia
LaGuardia and Franklin D. Roosevelt
LaGuardia came to office in January 1934 with five main goals:
Restore the financial health and break free from the bankers' control
Expand the federally funded work-relief program for the
End corruption in government and racketeering in key sectors of the
Replace patronage with a merit-based civil service, with high
Modernize the infrastructure, especially transportation and parks
He achieved most of the first four goals in his first hundred days, as
FDR gave him 20% of the entire national CWA budget for work relief.
LaGuardia then collaborated closely with Robert Moses, with support from the governor, Democrat Herbert Lehman,
to upgrade the decaying infrastructure. The city was favored by the New Deal in terms of funding for public works
Ethnic politics
LaGuardia governed in an uneasy alliance with New York's Jews and liberal WASPs, together with Italian and
German ethnics.
LaGuardia was not an orthodox Republican. He also ran as the nominee of the American Labor Party, a
union-dominated anti-Tammany left-wing group that supported Franklin D. Roosevelt for president beginning in
1936. LaGuardia supported Roosevelt, chairing the Committee of Independent Voters for Roosevelt and Wallace
with Senator George Norris during the 1940 presidential election.
LaGuardia was the city's first Italian-American mayor, but was not a typical Italian New Yorker. He was a
Republican Episcopalian who had grown up in Arizona, and had a Triestine Jewish mother and a
Catholic-turned-atheist father. He reportedly spoke several languages, including Hebrew, Croatian, German, Italian,
and Yiddish.Wikipedia:Citation needed LaGuardia was also a very active Freemason.Wikipedia:Citation needed
Fiorello H. La Guardia
Fiorello LaGuardia statue at LaGuardia
Place in Greenwich Village, NYC
LaGuardia loathed the gangsters who brought a negative stereotype and
shame to the Italian community.
His first action as mayor was to order the
chief of police to arrest mob boss Lucky Luciano on whatever charges could
be found. LaGuardia then went after the gangsters with a vengeance, stating
in a radio address to the people of New York in his high-pitched, squeaky
voice, "Let's drive the bums out of town". In 1934 LaGuardia went on a
search-and-destroy mission looking for mob boss Frank Costello's slot
machines, which La Guardia executed with gusto, rounding up thousands of
the "one armed bandits", swinging a sledgehammer and dumping them off a
barge into the water for the newspapers and media. In 1935 La Guardia
appeared at The Bronx Terminal Market to institute a city-wide ban on the
sale, display, and possession of artichokes, whose prices were inflated by
mobs. When prices went down, the ban was lifted. In 1936, LaGuardia had
special prosecutor Thomas E. Dewey, a future Republican presidential
candidate, single out Lucky Luciano for prosecution. Dewey led a successful
investigation into Luciano's lucrative prostitution operation, eventually
sending Luciano to jail with a 3050year sentence. The case was made into
the 1937 movie Marked Woman, starring Bette Davis.
LaGuardia proved successful in shutting down the burlesque theaters, whose
shows offended his puritanical sensibilities.
Public works
LaGuardia's admirers credit him for, among other things, restoring the economic lifeblood of New York City during
and after the Great Depression. He is given credit for many massive public works programs administered by his
powerful Parks Commissioner Robert Moses and employed thousands of voters. The mayor's relentless lobbying for
federal funds allowed New York to develop its economic infrastructure.
To obtain large-scale federal money the mayor became a close partner of Roosevelt and New Deal agencies such as
CWA, PWA and WPA, which poured $1.1billion into the city from 193439 .Wikipedia:Citation needed In turn he
gave FDR a showcase for New Deal achievement, helped defeat FDR's political enemies in Tammany Hall (the
Democratic party machine in Manhattan). He and Moses built highways, bridges and tunnels, transforming the
physical landscape of New York City. The West Side Highway, East River Drive, Brooklyn Battery Tunnel,
Triborough Bridge, and two airports (Floyd Bennett Field, and, later, LaGuardia Airport) were built during his
Fiorello H. La Guardia
1939 was a busy year, as he opened the 1939 New York World's Fair at Flushing Meadows-Corona Park, Queens,
opened New York Municipal Airport No.2 in Queens (later renamed Fiorello H. LaGuardia Field), and had the city
buy out the Interborough Rapid Transit Company, thus completing the public takeover of the subway system. When
the newspapers went on strike he read the funny papers on the radio.
Responding to popular disdain for the sometimes corrupt City Council, LaGuardia successfully proposed a reformed
1938 City Charter that created a powerful new New York City Board of Estimate, similar to a corporate board of
He was an outspoken and early critic of Adolf Hitler and the Nazi regime. In a public address in 1934, LaGuardia
warned that "part of Hitler's program is the complete annihilation of the Jews in Germany". In 1937, speaking before
the Women's Division of the American Jewish Congress, LaGuardia called for the creation of a special pavilion at
the upcoming New York World's Fair, "a chamber of horrors" for "that brown-shirted fanatic".
Gemma LaGuardia Gluck
LaGuardia's sister, Gemma LaGuardia Gluck (18811962), and brother-in-law, Herman Gluck (a Hungarian Jew
whom she met while teaching English in Europe), were living in Hungary and were arrested by the Gestapo on June
7, 1944, when the Nazis took control of Budapest. Adolf Eichmann and Heinrich Himmler knew Gemma was
Fiorello's sister and ordered her held as a political prisoner. She and Herman were deported to Mauthausen
concentration camp in Austria, where he died, as Gemma learned from reading a newspaper account a year following
her release. She was transferred from Mauthausen to the notorious women's concentration camp at Ravensbrck,
located 50 miles from Berlin, where unbeknownst to Gemma at the time, her daughter Yolanda (whose husband also
died in the camps) and baby grandson were also held for a year in a separate barrack. Gemma, who was held in
BlockII of the camp and assigned prisoner #44139, was one of the few survivors of this camp and wrote about her
time at Ravensbrck. She also wrote that the Soviets were "violating girls and women of all ages", and about her, her
daughter's and grandson's suffering as displaced persons in postwar Berlin, where the Germans abandoned them for a
possible hostage exchange in April 1945, as the Russians were advancing. Gemma and her family did not speak
German, and had no identity papers, money, or means of documenting where they had been. Gemma finally
managed to get word to the Americans who contacted Fiorello, who had no idea where they were. He worked to get
them on the immigration lists, but asserted in a letter, included in the appendix of Gemma's memoir, that her "case
was the same as that of hundreds of thousands of displaced people" and "no exceptions can be made". Thus, despite
Gemma's intimate connection with a powerful American politician, who was then director of the United Nations
Relief and Rehabilitation Administration (UNRRA), it took two years to be cleared and sent to the United States.
She returned to New York in May 1947, where she reunited with Fiorello four months before he died. As he had
made no provision for her, she lived in very reduced circumstances, in a LaGuardia public housing project in
Queens, New York, until her death in 1962. Gluck is believed to be the only American-born woman interned by the
Nazis.Wikipedia:Citation needed
Fiorello H. La Guardia
According to Try and Stop Me by Bennett Cerf, LaGuardia often officiated in municipal court. He handled routine
misdemeanor cases, including, as Cerf wrote, a woman who had stolen a loaf of bread for her starving family.
LaGuardia insisted on levying the fine of ten dollars. Then he said "I'm fining everyone in this courtroom fifty cents
for living in a city where a person has to steal bread in order to eat!" He passed a hat and gave the fines to the
defendant, who left the court with $47.50.
There is, however, no convincing proof of this anecdote.
World War II
In 1941 during the run-up to American involvement in World WarII, President Roosevelt appointed LaGuardia first
director of the new Office of Civilian Defense (OCD). Roosevelt was an admirer of LaGuardia; after meeting
Winston Churchill for the first time he described him as "an English Mayor LaGuardia". The OCD was the national
agency responsible for preparing for blackouts, air raid wardens, sirens, and shelters in case of German air raids. The
government knew that such air raids were impossible but the goal was to psychologically mobilize many thousands
of middle class volunteers to make them feel part of the war effort. LaGuardia remained Mayor of New York,
shuttling back and forth with three days in Washington and four in the city in an effort to do justice to two herculean
jobs. On top of this, he still performed other gestures, such as arranging police protection with his personal
assurances for local artists Joe Simon and Jack Kirby, when they were threatened by Nazi supporters for their new
patriotic comic book superhero, Captain America. After the attack on Pearl Harbor in December 1941, his role was
turned over to full-time director of OCD, James M. Landis. LaGuardia's popularity slipped away and he ran so
poorly in straw polls in 1945 that he did not run for a fourth term.
Unemployment ended and the city was the gateway for military supplies and soldiers sent to Europe, with the
Brooklyn Navy Yard providing many of the warships and the garment trade providing uniforms. The city's great
financiers, however, were less important in decision making than policy makers in Washington, and very high
wartime taxes were not offset by heavy war spending. New York was not a center of heavy industry and did not see a
wartime boom as defense plants were built elsewhere.
FDR refused to make LaGuardia a general and was unable
to provide fresh money for the city. By 1944 the city was short on funds to pay for LaGuardia's new programs.
Later life and death
The grave of Fiorello LaGuardia
LaGuardia was the director general for the
United Nations Relief and Rehabilitation
Administration (UNRRA) in 1946.
A man of short stature, LaGuardia's height
is sometimes given as 5feet 0inches
(1.52m). According to an article in the New
York Times, however, his actual height was
5feet 2inches (1.57m).
He became a member of Phi Mu Alpha
Sinfonia music fraternity.
LaGuardia was a Freemason, and a was a
member of Garibaldi Lodge #542, in New
York City.
He died of pancreatic cancer in his home at
5020 Goodridge Avenue, in the Riverdale
section of the Bronx on September 20, 1947
at the age of 64 and is interred at Woodlawn Cemetery in the Bronx.
Fiorello H. La Guardia
The footstone of Fiorello LaGuardia
In 1972 the United States Postal Service honored La Guardia with a
14 postage stamp.
Known for his love of music, La Guardia was famous for
spontaneously conducting professional and student orchestras and was
instrumental in the creation of the High School of Music & Art in
1936, now renamed the Fiorello H. LaGuardia High School of Music
& Art and Performing Arts.
He is the namesake of New York's
LaGuardia Airport, LaGuardia High School, LaGuardia Community
College, and other parks and buildings around New York City.
LaGuardia was a fictionalized character in many films. He was also the subject of the hit Broadway musical
Fiorello!, in which he was portrayed by actor Tom Bosley. The show won a Pulitzer Prize, and ran for two years
[1] "The Green Book: Mayors of the City of New York" (http:/ / www. nyc. gov/ html/ dcas/ html/ features/ greenbook_mayors. shtml) on the
official NYC website.
[2] [2] He wrote his surname as a single word with no space between the "La" and the capitalized "G" which follows.
[3] He was ranked first in Melvin G. Holli, The American Mayor (1993)
[4] from the Biographical Directory of the United States Congress
[5] [5] For one biographical account about Achille LaGuardia,
[6] http:/ / www. laguardiafoundation. org
[7] Zinn, LaGuardia in Congress (1959)
[8] "R.L. Moran Led City Alderman" (http:/ / select.nytimes. com/ gst/ abstract. html?res=F30E11FB3A5A107B93CBA81783D85F408585F9)
(fee). New York Times. August 19, 1954.
[9] "Major Kelly Killed by His Own Pistol" (http:/ / select. nytimes. com/ gst/ abstract.
html?res=F50C16FA3C5411738DDDAA0A94DF405B808FF1D3) (fee). New York Times. July 23, 1930.
[10] "This Election Near A Collapse for Tammany (http:/ / select. nytimes. com/ gst/ abstract.
html?res=F00E1FF83D5E10728DDDAF0894D9415B898DF1D3)", New York Times, November 6, 1919.
[11] Zinn, LaGuardia in Congress pp. 22630
[12] Bernstein, Irving (1966). The Lean Years: A History of the American Worker, 19201933. pp. 4069.
[13] Zinn, LaGuardia in Congress pp. 26770
[14] Joseph McGoldrick, "The New York City Election of 1929," The American Political Science Review, Vol. 24, No. 3 (Aug., 1930), pp.
688690 in JSTOR (http:/ / www.jstor.org/ stable/ 1946937)
[15] Stolberg, Mary M. Fighting Organised Crime: Politics, Justice, and the Legacy of Thomas E. Dewey (1995) pg. 229
[16] Arthur H. Mann, LaGuardia Comes to Power 1933 (1969)
[17] Thomas Kessner, Fiorello H. LaGuardia and the Making of Modern New York (1989) ch 89
[18] Ronald H. Bayor, Fiorello La Guardia: Ethnicity and Reform (1993)
[19] Thomas Kessner, Fiorello H. LaGuardia and the Making of Modern New York (1989) pp 35068
[20] Friedman, Andrea (October 1996). "'The Habitats of Sex-Crazed Perverts': Campaigns against Burlesque in Depression-Era New York City"
(http:/ / www. jstor.org/ stable/ 3704140). Journal of the History of Sexuality Vol. 7, No. 2, pp. 203238.
Fiorello H. La Guardia
[21] David M. Esposito, and Jackie R. Esposito, "La Guardia and the Nazis, 19331938." American Jewish History 1988 78(1): 3853. ISSN:
0164-0178; quote from H. Paul Jeffers, The Napoleon of New York (2002) p. 233.
[22] Mikkelson, Barbara and David; (January 1, 2008). LaGuardian Angel. (http:/ / www. snopes. com/ glurge/ laguardia. asp) Snopes. Retrieved
January 31, 2008.
[23] Mikkelson, Barbara and David; (August 19, 2009). LaGuardian Angel. (http:/ / www. snopes. com/ glurge/ laguardia. asp) Snopes.
Retrieved February 29, 2012.
[24] Erwin Hargrove, "The Dramas of Reform," in James D. Barber, ed. Political Leadership in American Government (1964), p. 94.)
[25] Karl Drew Hartzell, The Empire State At War, World War II (1949)
[26] Thomas Kessner, "Fiorello H. LaGuardia." History Teacher (1993) 26(2): 151159
[27] Jackson, Nancy Beth. "If You're Thinking of Living In/Fieldston; A Leafy Enclave in the Hills of the Bronx" (http:/ / query. nytimes. com/
gst/ fullpage. html?res=950CE7D91E3CF934A25751C0A9649C8B63& scp=1& sq="richard+ simon"+ riverdale& st=nyt) on September 20,
1947. The New York Times. February 17, 2002. Retrieved May 3, 2008. "Fiorello H. La Guardia, a three-time mayor of New York, lived and
died at 5020 Goodridge Avenue."
[28] Steigman, Benjamin: Accent on TalentNew York's High School of Music & Art Wayne State University Press, 1984; pg. ???
Further reading
Bayor, Ronald H. (1993). Fiorello La Guardia: Ethnicity and Reform. Arlington Heights, IL: Harlan Davidson.
ISBN 0-88295-894-1.
Brodsky, Alyn. (2003). The Great Mayor: Fiorello La Guardia and the Making of the City of New York. New
York: Truman Talley Books. ISBN 0-312-28737-2.
Capeci, Dominic J. "From Different Liberal Perspectives: Fiorello H. La Guardia, Adam Clayton Powell, Jr., and
Civil Rights in New York City, 19411943," The Journal of Negro History, Vol. 62, No. 2 (Apr., 1977),
pp.160173 in JSTOR (http:/ / www. jstor. org/ stable/ 2717176)
Caro, Robert. (1974). The Power Broker: Robert Moses and the Fall of New York. New York: Alfred A. Knopf.
ISBN 0-394-48076-7.
Elliott, Lawrence. (1983). Little Flower: The Life and Times of Fiorello La Guardia. New York: William
Morrow. ISBN 0-688-02057-7.
Garrett, Charles. (1961). The La Guardia Years: Machine and Reform Politics in New York City. New Brunswick,
NJ: Rutgers University Press.
Hecksher, August III. (1978). When La Guardia Was Mayor: New York's Legendary Years. New York: W.W.
Norton. ISBN 0-393-07534-6.
Jeffers, H. Paul. (2002). The Napoleon of New York: Mayor Fiorello La Guardia. New York: John Wiley & Sons.
ISBN 0-471-02465-1. online edition (http:/ / www. questia. com/ read/ 106909939?title=The Napoleon of New
York: Mayor Fiorello La Guardia).
Kaufman, Herbert. "Fiorello H. La Guardia, Political Maverick" Political Science Quarterly 1990 105(1):
113122. Issn: 0032-3195 in Jstor (http:/ / www. jstor. org/ pss/ 2151228)
Kessner, Thomas. "Fiorello H. LaGuardia." History Teacher 1993 26(2): 151159. Issn: 0018-2745 in Jstor (http:/
/ www. jstor. org/ stable/ 494812)
Kessner, Thomas. (1989). Fiorello H. LaGuardia and the Making of Modern New York. New York:
McGraw-Hill. ISBN 0-07-034244-X.
LaGuardia, Fiorello H. (1948). The Making of an Insurgent: An Autobiography. Philadelphia: J.B. Lippincott.
La Guardia Gluck, Gemma. (1961). Fiorello's Sister: La Guardia's Gluck's Story. Reissued in 2007 with new
material, edited by Rochelle Saidel. Syracuse University Press. ISBN 0-8156-0861-6.
Mann, Arthur H. (1959). La Guardia: A Fighter Against His Times 18821933. Philadelphia: J.B. Lippincott.
Mann, Arthur H. (1965). La Guardia Comes to Power 1933. Philadelphia: J.B. Lippincott.
Williams, Mason B. (2013). City of Ambition: FDR, La Guardia, and the Making of Modern New York. New
York: W.W. Norton. ISBN 0-393-06691-6.
Zinn, Howard. (1969). LaGuardia in Congress. New York: W.W. Norton. ISBN 0-393-00488-0. online edition
(http:/ / www. questia. com/ read/ 92000679?title=Laguardia in Congress)
Fiorello H. La Guardia
External links
Obituary, New York Times, September 21, 1947 La Guardia Is Dead; City Pays Homage To 3-Time Mayor (http:/
/ www. nytimes. com/ learning/ general/ onthisday/ bday/ 1211. html)
La Guardia and Wagner Archives/Fiorello H. La Guardia Collection (http:/ / www. laguardiawagnerarchive.
lagcc. cuny. edu/ COLLECTIONS. aspx?ViwType=1& ColID=1)
oral interviews from the La Guardia and Wagner Archives/Fiorello H. La Guardia Oral History database (http:/
/ www. laguardiawagnerarchive. lagcc. cuny. edu/ Advanced_Search. aspx?ViwType=1& ColID=1)
Tiziano Thomas Dossena, "Fiorello La Guardia" in Bridge Apulia USA, No.3 (Italy, 1998) (http:/ / www. dossena.
org/ tiziano/ laguardia. html)
1919 passport photo, Fiorello LaGuardia (http:/ / www. flickr. com/ photos/ puzzlemaster/ 5429338693/ in/
WNYC Archives blogs featuring Mayor La Guardia (http:/ / www. wnyc. org/ tags/ mayor_laguardia/ )
United States House of Representatives
Michael F. Farley
from New York's 14th congressional district
March 4, 1917 December 31, 1919 (resigned)
Nathan D. Perlman
Isaac Siegel
from New York's 20th congressional district
March 4, 1923 March 3, 1933
James J. Lanzetta
Party political offices
Frank D. Waterman
Republican Nominee for Mayor of New York
Lewis H. Pounds
Political offices
John P. O'Brien
Mayor of New York City
William O'Dwyer
Government offices
Director of Civilian Defense
1941 1942
James Landis
Non-profit organization positions
Herbert H. Lehman
Director-General of the UNRRA
General Lowell Rooks
Robert F. Wagner
Robert F. Wagner
Robert F. Wagner
Portrait of Robert F. Wagner in the U.S. Senate Reception Room
United States Senator
from New York
In office
March 4, 1927 June 28, 1949
Preceded by James W. Wadsworth, Jr.
Succeeded by John Foster Dulles
Acting Lieutenant Governor of New York
In office
October 17, 1913 December 31, 1914
Governor Martin H. Glynn
Preceded by Martin H. Glynn
as Lieutenant Governor
Succeeded by Edward Schoeneck
as Lieutenant Governor
Personal details
Born Robert Ferdinand Wagner
June 8, 1877
Nasttten, Hesse-Nassau, Kingdom of Prussia, German Empire
Died May 4, 1953 (aged75)
New York City, New York
Political party Democratic
Spouse(s) Margaret Marie McTague (m. 1908, d. 1919, one son)
Children Robert Ferdinand Wagner II
Alma mater City College of New York(1898)
New York Law School (1900)
Profession lawyer
Robert F. Wagner
Robert Ferdinand Wagner I (June 8, 1877 May 4, 1953) was an American politician. He was a Democratic U.S.
Senator from New York from 1927 to 1949.
He was born in Nasttten, then in the Province Hesse-Nassau, Kingdom of Prussia, German Empire (now in
Rhein-Lahn-Kreis, Rhineland-Palatinate, Federal Republic of Germany), and immigrated with his parents to the
United States in 1885. His family settled in New York City's Yorkville neighborhood, and Wagner attended the
public schools. He graduated from the College of the City of New York (now named City College) in 1898 where he
was a brother of Phi Sigma Kappa fraternity and from New York Law School in 1900. He was admitted to the bar in
Political career
He was a member of the New York State Assembly in 1905 (New York Co., 30th D.), 1907 and 1908 (both New
York Co., 22nd D.).
He was a member of the New York State Senate (16th D.) from 1909 to 1918, sitting in the 132nd, 133rd, 134th,
135th, 136th, 137th, 138th, 139th, 140th and 141st New York State Legislatures. He was President pro tempore of
the New York State Senate from 1911 to 1914, and became Acting Lieutenant Governor of New York after the
impeachment of Governor William Sulzer, and the succession of Lt. Gov. Martin H. Glynn to the governorship. In
1914, while Wagner remained President pro tem, John F. Murtaugh was chosen Majority Leader of the State Senate.
This was the only time before 2009 that the two offices were not held by the same person. After the Democrats lost
their Senate majority, Wagner was Senate Minority Leader from January 1915 until he retired in 1918.
In the aftermath of the Triangle Shirtwaist Factory fire, he was Chairman of the State Factory Investigating
Committee (19111915). His Vice Chairman was fellow Tammany Hall politician, Al Smith. Their findings led to
thirty-eight new laws regulating labor in New York state, and helped propel them, respectively, to the U.S. Senate
and Governors chair.
Wagner was a delegate to the New York State Constitutional Conventions of 1915 and 1938, and a justice of the
New York Supreme Court from 1919 to 1926.
U.S. Senate
Wagner was elected as a Democrat to the United States Senate in 1926, and reelected in 1932, 1938 and 1944. He
resigned on June 28, 1949, due to ill health. He was unable to attend any sessions of the 80th or 81st Congress from
1947 to 1949 because of a heart ailment. Wagner was Chairman of the Committee on Patents in the 73rd Congress,
of the Committee on Public Lands and Surveys in the 73rd and 74th Congresses, and of the Committee on Banking
and Currency in the 75th through 79th Congresses. He was a delegate to the United Nations Monetary and Financial
Conference in Bretton Woods, New Hampshire in 1944.
Wagner, who had known the future President when they were in the New York state legislature together, was a
member of Franklin Delano Roosevelt's Brain Trust. He was very involved in labor issues, fought for legal
protection and rights for workers, and was a leader in crafting the New Deal.
In 1943 a confidential analysis by Isaiah Berlin of the Senate Foreign Relations Committee for the British Foreign
Office stated of Wagner:
a veteran Liberal Tammany statesman, author of the United States labour code and devotee of the New
Deal who is respected by the White House for his political acumen within his own State no less than for
his political connexions. Greatest champion of the Liberal cause in the United States Senate since
[George W.] Norris. A typical anti-Nazi German Democrat who has supported all the Administration
Robert F. Wagner
measures, being usually well in advance of them.
His most important legislative achievements include the National Industrial Recovery Act in 1933 and the
Wagner-Steagall Housing Act of 1937. After the Supreme Court ruled the National Industrial Recovery Act and the
National Recovery Administration unconstitutional, Wagner helped pass the National Labor Relations Act (also
known as the Wagner Act) in 1935, a similar but much more expansive bill. The National Labor Relations Act,
perhaps Wagner's greatest achievement, was a seminal event in the history of organized labor in the United States. It
created the National Labor Relations Board, which mediated disputes between unions and corporations, and greatly
expanded the rights of workers by banning many "unfair labor practices" and guaranteeing all workers the right to
form a union. He also introduced the Railway Pension Law, and cosponsored the Wagner-O'Day Act, the
predecessor to the Javits-Wagner-O'Day Act.
Wagner was instrumental in writing the Social Security Act, and originally introduced it in the United States Senate.
The Wagner-Hatfield amendment to the Communications Act of 1934, aimed at turning over twenty-five percent of
all radio channels to non-profit radio broadcasters, did not pass. He also co-sponsored with Rep. Edith Rogers
(R-Mass.) the Wagner-Rogers Bill to admit 20,000 Jewish refugees under the age of 14 to the United States from
Nazi Germany, but the bill was rejected by the United States Congress in February 1939.
Wagner and Edward P. Costigan sponsored a federal anti-Lynching law. In 1935 attempts were made to persuade
President Franklin D. Roosevelt to support the Costigan-Wagner Bill. However, Roosevelt refused to support the
bill, not wanting to alienate Southern Democrats in Congress and lose their support for New Deal programs. There
were 18 lynchings of blacks in the South in 1935, but after the threat of federal legislation the number fell to eight in
1936, and to two in 1939.
On June 28, 1949, Wagner resigned from the U.S. Senate, due to ill health; John Foster Dulles was appointed by
Governor Thomas E. Dewey on July 7, 1949, to temporarily fill the vacancy.
He died on May 4, 1953, in New York City, and was interred in Calvary Cemetery, Queens, New York City
His son, Robert F. Wagner, Jr., was Mayor of New York City from 1954 to 1965.
On September 14, 2004, a portrait of Wagner, along with one of Senator Arthur H. Vandenberg, was unveiled in the
Senate Reception Room. The new portraits joined a group of distinguished former Senators, including Henry Clay,
Daniel Webster, John C. Calhoun, Robert M. La Follette, Sr., and Robert A. Taft. Portraits of this group of Senators,
known as the "Famous Five", were unveiled on March 12, 1959.
The public middle school located at 220 East 76th Street in New York City is named after him.
The former Wagner Hall on the campus of the City College of New York is named for him.
[1] [1] Gale Biography In Context.
[2] [2] , CCNY Libraries Exhibitions website
J. Joseph Huthmacher: Senator Robert F. Wagner and the Rise of Urban Liberalism (1968)
American Passages: a History of the United States
Robert F. Wagner
New York Assembly
Gotthardt A. Litthauer
New York State Assembly
New York County, 30th District
Maurice F. Smith
Thomas Rock
New York State Assembly
New York County, 22nd District
George W.
New York State Senate
John T. McCall
New York State Senate
16th District
James A. Foley
Political offices
George H. Cobb
Majority Leader of the New York State Senate
John F. Murtaugh
George H. Cobb
President pro tempore of the New York State Senate
Elon R. Brown
Martin H. Glynn
Lieutenant Governor of New York
Edward Schoeneck
Elon R. Brown
Minority Leader of the New York State Senate
James A. Foley
United States Senate
James Wolcott Wadsworth
U.S. Senator (Class 3) from New York
Served alongside: Royal S. Copeland, James M. Mead, Irving
John Foster Dulles
External links
Robert F. Wagner (http:/ / bioguide. congress. gov/ scripts/ biodisplay. pl?index=W000021) at the Biographical
Directory of the United States Congress
Robert F. Wagner (http:/ / www. findagrave. com/ cgi-bin/ fg. cgi?page=gr& GRid=8940) at Find a Grave
Robert F. Wagner (http:/ / politicalgraveyard. com/ bio/ wagner. html) political graveyard
Sam Rayburn
Sam Rayburn
For the football player, see Sam Rayburn (American football). For the community in Texas, see Sam Rayburn,
Sam Rayburn
48th, 50th and 52nd Speaker of the United States House of Representatives
In office
January 3, 1955 November 16, 1961
President Dwight D. Eisenhower
John F. Kennedy
Preceded by Joseph William Martin, Jr.
Succeeded by John William McCormack
In office
January 3, 1949 January 3, 1953
President Harry S. Truman
Preceded by Joseph William Martin, Jr.
Succeeded by Joseph William Martin, Jr.
In office
September 16, 1940 January 3, 1947
President Franklin D. Roosevelt
Harry S. Truman
Preceded by William B. Bankhead
Succeeded by Joseph William Martin, Jr.
Dean of the United States House of Representatives
In office
January 5, 1953 November 16, 1961
Preceded by Robert L. Doughton
Succeeded by Carl Vinson
House Minority Leader
Sam Rayburn
In office
January 3, 1953 January 3, 1955
Deputy John William McCormack
Preceded by Joseph William Martin, Jr.
Succeeded by Joseph William Martin, Jr.
In office
January 3, 1947 January 3, 1949
Deputy John William McCormack
Preceded by Joseph William Martin, Jr.
Succeeded by Joseph William Martin, Jr.
House Majority Leader
In office
January 3, 1937 September 16, 1940
Deputy Patrick J. Boland
Preceded by William B. Bankhead
Succeeded by John William McCormack
Member of the U.S. House of Representatives
from Texas's 4th district
In office
March 4, 1913 November 16, 1961
Preceded by Choice B. Randell
Succeeded by Ray Roberts
Personal details
Born Samuel Taliaferro Rayburn
January 6, 1882
Kingston, Tennessee, U.S.
Died November 16, 1961 (aged79)
Bonham, Texas, U.S.
Political party Democratic
Alma mater Texas A&M UniversityCommerce
Profession Law
Religion Primitive Baptist
Samuel Taliaferro "Sam" Rayburn (January 6, 1882 November 16, 1961) was a Democratic lawmaker from
Bonham, Texas, who served as the Speaker of the U.S. House of Representatives for 17 years, the longest tenure in
U.S. history. He is also one of only two Speakers to serve more than one non-consecutive term, and the only
Democrat to do so; the other being Joseph William Martin, Jr. He is also the only one to serve three different terms
as Speaker.
Sam Rayburn
Early life
Rayburn was born in Roane County, Tennessee, on January 6, 1882, 24 days before Franklin D. Roosevelt, a fact
noted by the news media while Roosevelt was President and Rayburn was Speaker.
In 1956 Rayburn was baptized
by Elder H.G. Ball in the Primitive Baptist Church, also known as Old Line Baptist or Hard Shell Baptist Church.
Rayburn graduated from Mayo College (now Texas A&M University-Commerce) in Commerce, which was located
in northeast Texas.
He won election to the Texas House of Representatives, beginning his first term in 1907. He attended the University
of Texas School of Law while a state representative, and was admitted to the State Bar of Texas in 1908. During his
third two-year term in the Texas House, he was elected Speaker of the House at the age of twenty-nine. The next
year, he won election to the United States House of Representatives in District 4. He entered Congress in 1913 at the
beginning of Woodrow Wilson's presidency and served in office for almost 49 years (more than 24 terms), until the
beginning of John F. Kennedy's presidency.
Speaker of the House
A statue of Rayburn in the Rayburn House Office
On September 16, 1940 at the age of 58, and while serving as Majority
Leader of the United States House of Representatives, Rayburn
became Speaker of the House upon the sudden death of Speaker
William Bankhead. Rayburn's career as Speaker was interrupted twice:
19471949 and 19531955, when Republicans controlled the House.
During those periods of Republican rule, Rayburn served as Minority
Leader. However, he so disliked the term "minority leader" that he
asked to be referred to as the "Democratic Leader" during those interim
four years when the office of Speaker was held by the Republican
Joseph W. Martin, Jr. of Massachusetts, actually a close personal
friend of Rayburn's.
Himself a protege of Vice President of the United States John Nance
Garner, Rayburn was a close friend and mentor of Lyndon B. Johnson
and knew Johnson's father Sam from their days in the Texas
Legislature. Rayburn was instrumental to Lyndon Johnson's ascent to
power, particularly his rapid rise to the position of Minority Leader;
Johnson had been in the Senate for a mere four years when he assumed
the role. Johnson also owed his subsequent elevation to Majority
Leader to Rayburn. Like Johnson, Rayburn did not sign the Southern
Also, as Speaker of the House, Rayburn forged close friendships and
partnerships with legislatures of emerging independent countries and democracies on the continent of Africa,
especially Nigeria, a rising political power on that continent. Rayburn was a good friend of The Honorable Jaja
Wachuku, who was the first indigenous Speaker of the Nigerian House of Representatives, from 1959 to 1960.
Sam Rayburn
Personal integrity
Although many Texas legislators were on the payroll of public service corporations, Rayburn refused to do so. As he
recounted in a speech during his congressional campaign:
"When I became a member of the law firm of Steger, Thurmond and Rayburn, Messrs. Thurmond and Steger were
representing the Santa Fe Railroad Company, receiving pay monthly. When the first check came after I entered the
firm, Mr. Thurmond brought to my desk one-third of the amount of the check, explaining what it was for. I said to
him that I was a member of the Legislature, representing the people of Fannin County, and that my experience had
taught me that men who represent the people should be as far removed as possible from concerns whose interests he
was liable to be called on to legislate concerning, and that on that ground I would not accept a dollar of the railroad's
money, though I was legally entitled to it. I never did take a dollar of it. I have been guided by the principle in all my
This practice of refusing to accept fees from clients who had interests before the Legislature was "virtually
unheard-of" at the time.
Later, while serving in Congress, a wealthy oil man had a very expensive horse delivered
to Rayburn's farm in Bonham. No one apparently knew the oil man delivered the horse except him, Rayburn, and a
Rayburn staffer. Rayburn returned the horse.
Sam Rayburn
In shaping legislation, Rayburn preferred working quietly in the
background to being in the public spotlight. As Speaker, he won a
reputation for fairness and integrity. In his years in Congress, Rayburn
always insisted on paying his own expenses, even going so far as to
pay for his own travel expenses when inspecting the Panama Canal
when his committee was considering legislation concerning it, rather
than exercising his right to have the government pay for it. After he
died his estate was valued at just under $300,000, which was mostly
land he owned, and the amount of cash he had in various checking
accounts was just over $26,000.
Rayburn was well known among his colleagues for his after business
hours "Board of Education" meetings in hideaway offices in the House.
During these off-the-record sessions, the Speaker and powerful
committee chairmen would gather for poker, bourbon, and a frank
discussion of politics. Rayburn alone determined who received an
invitation to these gatherings; to be invited to even one was a high
honor. On April 12, 1945 Vice President Harry Truman, a regular attendee since his Senate days, had just arrived at
the "Board of Education" when he received a phone call telling him to immediately come to the White House, where
he learned that Franklin D. Roosevelt was dead and he was now President of the United States.
He coined the term "Sun Belt" while strongly supporting the construction of Route 66. It originally ran south from
Chicago, through Oklahoma, and then turned westward from Texas to New Mexico and Arizona before ending at the
beach in Santa Monica, California. Arguing in favor of the project, he stated famously that America absolutely must
connect "the Frost Belt with the Sun Belt."
Rayburn also had a knack for dressing to suit his occasion. While in Washington, D.C., he would sport expensive
suits, starched shirts, and perfectly shined shoes. However, while back in his poorer district in Texas, Rayburn would
wear simple shirts, blue jeans, cowboy boots, and cowboy hats. Several politicians have imitated this pattern,
including Ronald Reagan's famous example of clearing brush when at home in California, while wearing fine suits in
Sam Rayburn
The phrase "A jackass can kick a barn down, but it takes a carpenter to build one," is attributed to Rayburn.
James Roosevelt, a U.S. representative from California and a son of Franklin and Eleanor Roosevelt, once called
Rayburn "the most impressive person in Congress." Rayburn had urged James not to follow in the footsteps of his
brother, Representative Franklin D. Roosevelt, Jr., of New York, whom Rayburn considered not to have taken
seriously his duties of office. Thomas Abernethy of Mississippi said that Rayburn was the most influential Speaker
in history because he could "work with liberals and conservatives, ran the House with a firm hand but was
generous." William Colmer, another Mississippian and the mentor of later Representative and U.S. Senator Trent
Lott, described Rayburn as a "very strong parliamentarian" who was far more effective than his successor, John
McCormack of Massachusetts, whom Colmer found "wanted to be liked" by his colleagues.
Speaker Rayburn is seated at right behind
President John F. Kennedy in this May 25, 1961
photograph showing Kennedy announcing the
Apollo program.
Asked why he never sought the presidency, Rayburn said that he was
"born in the wrong place at the wrong time" to undertake a national
campaign. Rayburn was Speaker at a time that the greater power in the
House rested with committee chairmen. He was himself readily
accessible to members; historian Anthony Champagne of the
University of Texas at Dallas, a Rayburn scholar, views the Speaker as
a "bridge between the northern and southern members" of the
Democratic Party. Champagne recalled a report that Rayburn so
understood the House that he was "married" to the body and could
"feel the sentiment of the members" by merely being in their presence.
He was careful to fight his own battles, Champagne said. Rayburn was
a mentor to such younger members as Richard Bolling of Missouri,
Wilbur D. Mills of Arkansas, Carl Albert of Oklahoma, and Homer
Thornberry and Jack Brooks, both of Texas. He was also readily accessible to constituents, who were invited to
come to his home in Bonham and visit without prior notice.
His home in Texas, now known as the Sam Rayburn House Museum, was designated a U.S. National Historic
Personal life and death
Rayburn had married once, to Metze Jones (18971982),
sister of Texas Congressman Marvin Jones and
Rayburn's colleague, but the marriage ended quickly. Biographers D.B. Hardeman and Donald C. Bacon guessed
that Rayburn's work schedule and long bachelorhood, combined with the couple's differing views on alcohol,
contributed to the rift. The court's divorce file in Bonham, Texas, has never been located, and Rayburn avoided
speaking of his brief marriage. In 2014 the Associated Press reported the existence of a letter Rayburn wrote to
Metze after her father died in June 1926.
One of his greatest, most painful regrets was that he did not have a son, or as he put it in The Path to Power, Robert
Caro's biography of Lyndon B. Johnson, "a towheaded boy to take fishing."
Rayburn died of cancer in 1961 at the age of 79 and was posthumously awarded the Congressional Gold Medal. By
the time of his death, he had served as Speaker for twice as long as any of his predecessors.
Rayburn was a descendant of George Waller, a Revolutionary War militia officer from Henry County, Virginia, and
was an honorary president of the Colonel George Waller Chapter of the Sons of the American Revolution.
Sam Rayburn
Stamp issued by the United States Post
Office Department commemorating Sam
Named in honor of Rayburn
Rayburn House Office Building, which contains offices of House members
and is adjacent to the United States Capitol, completed in 1965.
Ballistic missile submarine USS Sam Rayburn, launched in 1963 and
decommissioned in 1989.
Sam Rayburn Reservoir in East Texas, constructed beginning in 1956 and
renamed after Rayburn in 1963.
Sam Rayburn High School in Pasadena, Texas, opened in 1964.
Sam Rayburn Independent School District in Ivanhoe, Texas, established
in 1964.
Sam Rayburn Memorial Student Center at Texas A&M
University-Commerce, built in 1963.
Sam Rayburn Middle School in Bryan, Texas.
Sam Rayburn Middle School in San Antonio, Texas.
Sam Rayburn Parkway is a portion of U.S. Highway 75 that runs through
Sherman, Texas.
Sam Rayburn Tollway is a toll road that goes through Dallas, Denton, and
Collin counties in northeast Texas.
Sam Rayburn Memorial Highway, roughly a forty mile section of Texas State Highway 121 that begins at Texas
State Highway 78, two miles north of Bonham, Texas, and ends at its terminus with the Sam Rayburn Tollway in
McKinney, Texas.
Sam Rayburn Elementary School in McAllen, Texas.
Sam Rayburn Memorial Veterans Center in Bonham, Texas.
The Rayburn Room, a meeting room at The Greenbrier in White Sulphur Springs, West Virginia. The Greenbrier
contains the Bunker,
Pat Hingle played Rayburn in LBJ: The Early Years
James Gammon played Rayburn in Truman
[1] [1] Time Magazine, Jan. 18, 1943.
[2] Anthony Champagne, University of Texas at Dallas, "Sam Rayburn", West Texas Historical Association joint meeting with the East Texas
Historical Association in Fort Worth, February 26, 2010
[3] H.G. Dulaney & Edward Hake Phillips, Speak, Mr. Speaker 20 (1978)
[4] Anthony Champagne, Congressman Sam Rayburn 32 (1984)
[5] Anthony Champagne, Congressman Sam Rayburn 31 (1984)
[6] Inventory & Appraisement of the Estate of Sam Rayburn, Fannin County Clerk's Office (http:/ / www. rayburnmrspeaker. com/ wp-content/
uploads/ 2014/ 08/ Inventory-Appraisement-of-Sam-Rayburn-Estate. pdf)
[7] Time - The Prelude of the 83rd (http:/ / www.time. com/ time/ magazine/ article/ 0,9171,817667-2,00. html)
[8] https:/ / familysearch. org/ pal:/ MM9.1. 1/ V9NS-4M8
[9] (http:/ / dfw. cbslocal. com/ 2014/ 08/ 16/ letter-provides-peek-at-personal-sam-rayburn/ ) Associated Press - Letter provides peek at personal
Sam Rayburn (August 16, 2014)
[10] [10] The Path to Power, Page. 333
Sam Rayburn
Further reading
Caro, Robert A. The Years of Lyndon Johnson: The Path to Power (1982).
Champagne, Anthony. and Floyd F. Ewing, "RAYBURN, SAMUEL TALIAFERRO (1882-1961)." Handbook of
Texas Online (2005) online version (http:/ / www. tshaonline. org/ handbook/ online/ articles/ fra49)
Champagne, Anthony. Congressman Sam Rayburn (Rutgers University Press, 1984).
Champagne, Anthony. Sam Rayburn: A Bio-Bibliography (Greenwood, 1988).
Dorough,C. Dwight Mr. Sam (1962).
Gould, Lewis L., and Nancy Beck Young, "The Speaker and the Presidents: Sam Rayburn, the White House, and
the Legislative Process, 19411961" in Raymond W. Smock and Susan W. Hammond, eds. Masters of the House:
Congressional Leadership Over Two Centuries (1998). online version (http:/ / www. questia. com/ PM. qst?a=o&
Hardeman, D. B., and Donald C. Bacon, Rayburn: A Biography (Austin: Texas Monthly Press, 1987).
McWhorter, William, Together They Won: Sam T. Rayburn and the Fourth Congressional District during World
War II, East Texas Historical Journal 49 (Fall 2011), 8293.
Alfred Steinberg, Sam Rayburn (Hawthorn, 1975)
External links
Obituary, NY Times, November 16, 1961, Rayburn Is Dead; Served 17 Years As House Speaker (http:/ / www.
nytimes. com/ learning/ general/ onthisday/ bday/ 0106. html)
The leadership of Speaker Sam Rayburn (http:/ / texashistory. unt. edu/ permalink/ meta-pth-14386) published
1961, hosted by the Portal to Texas History. (http:/ / texashistory. unt. edu/ )
Sam Rayburn (http:/ / bioguide. congress. gov/ scripts/ biodisplay. pl?index=R000082) at the Biographical
Directory of the United States Congress
Sam Rayburn (http:/ / www. findagrave. com/ cgi-bin/ fg. cgi?page=gr& GRid=856) at Find a Grave
Samuel Taliaferro Rayburn (http:/ / www. tshaonline. org/ handbook/ online/ articles/ fra49) from the Handbook
of Texas Online
"Mister Speaker", Time Magazine, September 27, 1943 (http:/ / www. time. com/ time/ printout/
0,8816,850297,00. html)
RAYBURN: MR. SPEAKER (A feature length documentary about Sam Rayburn's life and career) (http:/ / www.
rayburnmrspeaker. com)
The Friends of Sam Rayburn Website (http:/ / friendsofsamrayburn. org)
Sam Rayburn House Museum Website (http:/ / www. visitsamrayburnhouse. com)
Address Delivered by The Honorable Sam Rayburn at the Dedication of the Marker over the Graves of His
Great-Great Grandfather Col. George Waller and his wife Ann Winston Carr, Oakwood Cemetery, Martinsville,
Virginia, May 6, 1951 (http:/ / www. alleylaw. net/ rayburn. html)
Associated Press, August 16, 2014 - Letter provides peek at personal Sam Rayburn (http:/ / www. statesman.
com/ news/ news/ state-regional/ letter-provides-peek-at-personal-sam-rayburn/ ng4Lt/ )
Sam Rayburn
Political offices
Rosser Thomas
Member of the Texas House of Representatives
from District 34(Bonham)
1907 1913
Robert R. Williams
John Wesley Marshall
Speaker of the Texas House of Representatives
1911 1913
Chester H. Terrell
Choice B. Randell
from Texas's 4th congressional district
March 4, 1913 November 16, 1961
Ray Roberts
Arthur G. DeWalt
Democratic Caucus Chairman of the U.S. House of
1923 1925
Henry T. Rainey
William B. Bankhead
Majority Leader of the U.S. House of Representatives
1937 1940
John W. McCormack
William B. Bankhead
Speaker of the U.S. House of Representatives
September 16, 1940 January 3, 1947
Joseph W. Martin, Jr.
Joseph W. Martin, Jr.
Speaker of the U.S. House of Representatives
January 3, 1949 January 3, 1953
Speaker of the U.S. House of Representatives
January 5, 1955 November 16, 1961
John W. McCormack
Samuel D. Jackson
Permanent Chairman of the Democratic National Convention
1948, 1952, 1956
John W. McCormack
Robert L. Doughton
Dean of the U.S. House of Representatives
January 5, 1953 November 16, 1961
Carl Vinson
Everett Dirksen
Everett Dirksen
Everett Dirksen
United States Senator
from Illinois
In office
January 3, 1951 September 7, 1969
Preceded by Scott W. Lucas
Succeeded by Ralph Tyler Smith
Senate Minority Leader
In office
January 3, 1959 September 7, 1969
Deputy Thomas Kuchel
Hugh D. Scott, Jr. (whips)
Preceded by William F. Knowland
Succeeded by Hugh D. Scott, Jr.
Senate Minority Whip
In office
January 3, 1957 January 3, 1959
Leader William F. Knowland
Preceded by Leverett Saltonstall
Succeeded by Thomas Kuchel
Member of the U.S. House of Representatives from Illinois's 16th district
In office
March 4, 1933 January 3, 1949
Preceded by William E. Hull
Succeeded by Leo E. Allen
Personal details
Everett Dirksen
Born Everett McKinley Dirksen
January 4, 1896
Pekin, Illinois
Died September 7, 1969 (aged73)
Walter Reed General Hospital
Washington, D.C.
Nationality American
Political party Republican
Spouse(s) Louella Carver Dirksen
Alma mater University of Minnesota Law School
Military service
Service/branch United States Army
Years of service 1918-1919
Rank Second Lieutenant
Battles/wars World War I
Everett McKinley Dirksen (January 4, 1896 September 7, 1969) was an American politician of the Republican
Party. He represented Illinois in the U.S. House of Representatives (19331949) and U.S. Senate (19511969). As
Senate Minority Leader for a decade, he played a highly visible and key role in the politics of the 1960s, including
helping to write and pass the Civil Rights Act of 1964 and the Open Housing Act of 1968, both landmarks of civil
rights legislation. He was also one of the Senate's strongest supporters of the Vietnam War and was known as "The
Wizard of Ooze" for his oratorical style.
Early life
Dirksen was born to Johann Friedrich Dirksen and his wife Antje Conrady, German immigrants who lived in Pekin,
Illinois, a small city near Peoria, Illinois. Everett had a fraternal twin, Thomas Dirksen, and also had a brother named
Benjamin Harrison, a nod to the Republican leanings of his father, who died when Everett was nine years old.
Dirksen grew up on a farm on Pekin's outskirts, in a section called "Beantown" because immigrants grew beans
instead of flowers. He attended the local schools and then entered the University of Minnesota Law School, but
dropped out during World War I to enlist in the U.S. Army, serving as a second lieutenant in a field artillery
He was a member of the Reformed Church in America, founded by Dutch immigrants.
After the war, Dirksen invested money in an electric washing machine, but that enterprise failed. He then joined his
brothers in running a bakery, and also indulged his artistic side by writing a number of unpublished short stories, as
well as plays with former classmate Hubert Ropp. His political career began in 1927, when he was elected to the
Pekin city council as the city's finance commissioner.
Dirksen was a Freemason, and was a member of Pekin Lodge #29, Pekin, IL., and was Grand Orator of the Grand
Lodge of Illinois in 1954. He was honored with the 33rd degree in 1954.
Congressman, 16th Illinois District, 19331949
After losing in the 1930 Republican primary, Dirksen won the nomination and the congressional seat in 1932, and
was re-elected seven times. His support for many New Deal programs marked him as a moderate, pragmatic
Republican. During World War II, he lobbied successfully for an expansion of congressional staff resources to
eliminate the practice under which House and Senate committees borrowed executive branch personnel to
accomplish legislative work. Dirksen was able to secure the passage of an amendment to the Lend-Lease bill by
introducing a resolution while 65 of the House's Democrats were at a luncheon. The amendment provided that the
Everett Dirksen
Senate and the House could, by a simple majority in a concurrent resolution, revoke the powers granted to the
Dirksen's penchant for changing his mind during his days as a congressman was noted by the Chicago Sun-Times,
which once noted that he had changed his mind 62 times on foreign policy matters, 31 times on military affairs, and
70 times on agricultural policies.
In December 1943, Congressman Dirksen announced that he would be a candidate for the Republican Presidential
nomination in 1944. He stated that a coalition of midwestern Republican Congressmen had urged him to run and that
his campaign was serious. However, press pundits had assumed that the candidacy was merely a vehicle to siphon
support away from the campaign of Wendell Willkie, whose reputation as a maverick and staunch internationalist
had earned him the hatred of many Republican Party regulars, especially in the midwest.
Dirksen's presidential
campaign was apparently still alive on the eve of the 1944 convention, since Time Magazine speculated that he was
in reality running for Vice President.
When all was said and done, he received no votes for either office at the 1944
Republican Convention.
Dirksen remained in the House of Representatives, but in 1947, he awakened to trouble in his right eye that was
diagnosed as chorioretinitis, inflammation in the retina. Despite a number of physicians (including one from Johns
Hopkins University) recommending that the eye be removed, Dirksen chose treatment and rest and recovered most
of his sight in the eye. In 1948, he declined to run for re-election because of the ailment, but returned two years later
and was elected to the United States Senate.
U.S. Senator, 19501969
Senators Mike Mansfield (left) and Dirksen conversing in 1967.
After recovering from his health problems,
Dirksen was elected to the Senate in 1950 when
he unseated Senate Majority Leader Scott Lucas.
In the campaign, the support of Wisconsin
Senator Joseph McCarthy helped Dirksen to gain
a narrow victory. Dirksen became an ally of
McCarthy and tried but failed to get him to
apologize for his misdeeds to stave off censure
in 1954. Dirksen voted not to censure him.
Dirksen's canny political skill, rumpled
appearance, and convincing, if sometimes
flowery, overblown oratory (he was hence
dubbed by his critics "the Wizard of Ooze") gave
him a prominent national reputation.
In 1952, Dirksen was a supporter of the presidential candidacy of fellow Senator Robert A. Taft of Ohio, the
longtime leader of Republican conservatives. Dirksen garnered attention at the convention when he gave a speech
attacking New York Governor Thomas E. Dewey, a liberal Republican and the leading supporter of Taft's opponent
for the Republican presidential nomination, General Dwight Eisenhower. During the speech, Dirksen pointed at
Dewey on the convention floor and shouted, "Don't take us down the path to defeat again," a reference to Dewey's
presidential defeats in 1944 and 1948. His speech was met by cheers from conservative delegates and loud boos from
pro-Eisenhower delegates. Still, Eisenhower defeated Taft for the nomination; Dirksen then supported Eisenhower's
In 1959, he was elected Minority Leader of the Senate, defeating Kentucky's more liberal Senator, John Sherman
Cooper, by a vote of 20 to 14. Dirksen successfully united the various factions of the Republican Party by granting
younger Republicans more representation in the Senate leadership and better committee appointments. He held the
Everett Dirksen
position of Senate Minority Leader until his death following cancer surgery on September 7, 1969 at Walter Reed
Hospital in Washington, D.C.
Along with Charles Halleck and later Gerald Ford (the Republican Minority Leaders of the House), Dirksen was the
official voice of the Republican Party during most of the 1960s, and he was often featured on television news
programs. On several occasions during this period, political cartoonist Herblock depicted Dirksen and Halleck as
vaudeville song-and-dance men, wearing identical elaborate costumes and performing an act called "The Ev and
Charlie Show."
Dirksen's voting record was consistently conservative on economic issues. He developed a good rapport with the
Senate's majority leaders, Lyndon B. Johnson and Mike Mansfield. On foreign policy he reversed his early
isolationism to support the internationalism of Republican President Dwight D. Eisenhower and Democratic
President John F. Kennedy. He was a leading "hawk" on the issue of the Vietnam Wara position he held well
before Democratic President Lyndon B. Johnson decided to escalate the war. Dirksen said in February 1964: [Dietz p
First I agree that obviously we cannot retreat from our position in Vietnam. I have been out there three
times, once as something of an emissary for then President Eisenhower. I took a good look at it. It is a
difficult situation, to say the least. But we are in to the tune of some $350 million. I think the last figure I
have seen indicates that we have over 15,500 military out there, ostensibly as advisors and that sort of
thing. We are not supposed to have combatant troops, even though we were not signatories to the treaty
that was signed at Geneva when finally they got that whole business out of the fire. But we are going to
have to muddle through for a while and see what we do. Even though it costs us $1.5 million a day.
As President Johnson followed Dirksen's recommendations and escalated the war, Dirksen gave him strong public
support, as well as strong support inside the Republican caucus, even as some Republicans advised him that it would
be to the party's advantage to oppose Johnson. Ford commented, "I strongly felt that although I agreed with the goals
of the Johnson administration in Vietnam, I vigorously criticized their prosecution of the war. Now, Dirksen never
took that same hard-line position that I took." [Dietz 149]
Everett Dirksen
Dirksen played a key role in passage of the 1964 Civil Rights bill.
In 1964, as Southern Democratic Senators staged a
filibuster that ran 54 days to block passage of the Civil
Rights bill of 1964 (see Civil Rights Act of 1964),
Senators Dirksen, Thomas Kuchel (R-CA), Hubert
Humphrey (D-MN), and Mike Mansfield (D-MT)
introduced a substitute and slightly weaker bill that
they hoped would attract enough Republican swing
votes to end the filibuster. The compromise bill was
weaker than the House version regarding government
power to regulate the conduct of private business, but it
was not so weak as to cause the House to reconsider the
legislation. After 57 days of filibuster, the substitute
bill passed in the Senate, and then the House-Senate
conference committee agreed to adopt the Senate
version of the bill.
At the vote for cloture on the filibuster against the Civil
Rights Act, Dirksen said, "Victor Hugo wrote in his
diary substantially this sentiment: 'Stronger than all the
armies is an idea whose time has come.' The time has
come for equality of opportunity in sharing of
government, in education, and in employment. It must
not be stayed or denied."
On March 22, 1966, Dirksen introduced a constitutional amendment that would permit public school administrators
to provide for organized prayer by students. This amendment was seen by many to violate the principle of separation
of church and state, and was defeated in the Senate with only 49 affirmative votes, falling short of the 67 votes
required for a constitutional amendment.
He is often remembered for the quip attributed to him: "A billion here, a billion there, pretty soon, you're talking real
money." Although there is no direct record of the remark, he is believed to have made it during an appearance on The
Tonight Show Starring Johnny Carson.
Dirksen is also quoted as having said, "The mind is no match with the
heart in persuasion; constitutionality is no match with compassion." (See wikiquotes of Everett Dirksen.)
Everett Dirksen
Statue of Senator Dirksen on the grounds of the Illinois State Capitol
in Springfield, Illinois.
Dirksen was also legendary for his fondness for the
common marigold. When political discussions became
tense, Dirksen would lighten the atmosphere by taking
up his perennial campaign to have the marigold named
the national flower. Although he was ultimately
unsuccessful in his campaign, in 1972 his hometown of
Pekin started holding an annual Marigold Festival in
his memory, and now calls itself the "Marigold Capital
of the World."
He recorded four albums in his resonant bass speaking
voice, one of which, Gallant Men, unexpectedly made
it to #16 on the U.S. Billboard charts and won a
Grammy Award for Best Documentary Recording in
1968. The single "Gallant Men" made Dirksen, 71
years 3 days old, the oldest person to reach the Hot
100's top 40 at the time (7 January 1967), at #33, on its
way to peak at #29 two weeks later, about 2 1/2 years
before Moms Mabley would, at 75 years 4 months old,
unseat him with her version of "Abraham, Martin and
John" peaking at #35. Dirksen was eclipsed by Gordon
Sinclair as the oldest man to reach the top 40 and the
oldest person to reach the top 30 because Sinclair's
commentary "The Americans" peaked at #24 on 9
February 1974 when Sinclair was age 73.
Dirksen made TV guest appearances such as What's My Line, The Hollywood Palace and The Red Skelton Show.
Dirksen made a cameo appearance, not identified by name but effectively portraying himself, in the 1969 film The
Monitors, a low-budget science-fiction movie in which invading extraterrestrials assert political dominion over the
human race, claiming to do so for humanity's benefit. He also appeared in several other movies.
President Richard Nixon paying his last tributes to Sen. Dirksen in 1969.
In August 1969, Dirksen was found to have an
asymptomatic peripherally-located mass in the
upper lobe of the right lung, detected on chest
x-rays. He entered Walter Reed Army Hospital
for surgery, which was undertaken on
September2. A right upper lobectomy was
performed successfully for what proved to be a
lung cancer (adenocarcinoma). Mr. Dirksen
initially did well postoperatively, but thereafter
developed progressive complications that
eventuated in bronchopneumonia. He suffered a
cardiopulmonary arrest and died on September
7, 1969, at age73.
In 1972, one of the Senate's buildings was renamed the Dirksen Senate Office Building in his honor. The federal
courthouse/building of the United States District Court for the Northern District of Illinois is also named for him.
Everett Dirksen
Dirksen's widow, Louella, died of cancer on July 16, 1979, as did the couple's daughter, Joy, the first wife of Senator
Howard Baker of Tennessee, on April 24, 1993. Howard Baker died on June 26, 2014.
[1] DIRKSEN, Everett McKinley - Biographical Information (http:/ / bioguide. congress. gov/ scripts/ biodisplay. pl?index=d000360)
[2] Donald J. Bruggink and Kim N. Baker, By grace alone: stories of the Reformed Church in America (2004) p. 162
[3] (http:/ / www.time.com/ time/ magazine/ article/ 0,9171,874437-6,00. html)
[4] "Everett Dirksen", Current Biography 1941, p.227; "260 to 165", TIME Magazine, February 17, 1941
[5] (http:/ / www.time.com/ time/ magazine/ article/ 0,9171,874437,00. html)
[6] Time Magazine, December 13, 1943
[7] Time Magazine, June 26, 1944
[8] (http:/ / www.time.com/ time/ magazine/ article/ 0,9171,874437-7,00. html)
[9] "A Billion Here, A Billion There..." (http:/ / www. dirksencenter. org/ print_emd_billionhere. htm), The Dirksen Center.
[10] Everett Dirksen (http:/ / www.imdb.com/ name/ nm0228221/ ), The Internet Movie Database.
Further reading
Primary sources
Dirksen, Everett McKinley. The Education of a Senator. Urbana: University of Illinois Press, 1998.
Dirksen, Louella Carver, with Norma Lee Browning. The Honorable Mr. Marigold: My Life With Everett
Dirksen. Garden City, NY: Doubleday and Company, 1972.
Secondary sources
Dietz, Terry; Republicans and Vietnam, 19611968 Greenwood: 1986.
Hulsey, Byron C. Everett Dirksen and His Presidents: How a Senate Giant Shaped American Politics. University
Press of Kansas, 2000.
MacNeil, Neil. Dirksen: Portrait of a Public Man. New York: World Publishing Company, 1970.
Rodriguez; Daniel B. and Barry R. Weingast. "The Positive Political Theory of Legislative History: New
Perspectives on the 1964 Civil Rights Act and Its Interpretation" University of Pennsylvania Law Review.
Volume: 151. Issue: 4. 2003. pp 1417+.
Schapsmeier Edward L., and Frederick H. Schapsmeier. Dirksen of Illinois. University of Illinois Press, 1985, the
standard biography
External links
Wikimedia Commons has media related to Everett Dirksen.
Wikiquote has quotations related to: Everett Dirksen
Stan Mendenhall, "Everett Dirksen and the 1964 Civil Rights Act." (http:/ / www. lib. niu. edu/ ipo/ 1996/
iht319648. html)
Abstract of Byron C. Hulsey, Everett Dirksen and His Presidents: how a Senate giant shaped American politics
U. Kansas, 2000. (http:/ / www. kansaspress. ku. edu/ huleve. html)
The Dirksen Congressional Research Center (http:/ / www. dirksencenter. org)
IMDB profile (http:/ / www. imdb. com/ name/ nm0228221/ )
Everett Dirksen
Everett Dirksen (http:/ / bioguide. congress. gov/ scripts/ biodisplay. pl?index=D000360) at the Biographical
Directory of the United States Congress
A film clip "Longines Chronoscope with Sen. Everett M. Dirksen (May 7, 1952)" (https:/ / archive. org/ details/
gov. archives. arc. 95971) is available for free download at the Internet Archive [more]
"Everett Dirksen" (http:/ / www. findagrave. com/ cgi-bin/ fg. cgi?page=gr& GRid=2566). Find a Grave.
Retrieved 2008-02-10.
Dirksen Primary School, Pekin, IL (http:/ / www. pekin. net/ pekin108/ schools/ dirksen/ index. shtml)
Dirksen Junior High School, Joliet, IL (http:/ / www. joliet86. org/ Chapter3. SchoolTour. Pages.
Complete transcript and audio of Everett Dirksen's RNC Nomination of Barry Goldwater (http:/ / www.
americanrhetoric. com/ speeches/ everettdirksen1964rncgoldwater. htm)
Oral History Interviews with Everett Dirksen, from the Lyndon Baines Johnson Library (http:/ / www. lbjlib.
utexas. edu/ johnson/ archives. hom/ oralhistory. hom/ DirksenE/ DirksenE. asp)
United States House of Representatives
William E. Hull
from Illinois's 16th congressional district
Leo E. Allen
United States Senate
Scott W. Lucas
U.S. Senator (Class 3) from Illinois
Served alongside: Paul Douglas, Charles H. Percy
Ralph Tyler Smith
Party political offices
Ralph Brewster
Chairman of the National Republican Senatorial
Barry Goldwater
Barry Goldwater
Chairman of the National Republican Senatorial
Andrew F.
Leverett Saltonstall
Senate Republican Whip
Thomas Kuchel
William F. Knowland
Senate Republican Leader
Hugh Scott
Honorary titles
Dwight D. Eisenhower
Persons who have lain in state or honor
in the United States Capitol rotunda
September 9, 1969 September 10, 1969
J. Edgar Hoover
Thanat Khoman
Grand Marshals of the Tournament of Roses Parade
Bob Hope
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