Thetus W. Sims: The Senator Who Never Was

Thetus W. Sims: The Senator Who Never Was

By Ray Hill to 1915, United States senators from Tennessee had been elected by the state legislature.  That same year Democrats were anticipating a primary, a year in advance of the 1916 general election.  The primary would include a run-off election between the two top vote getters, something that has never happened since. The incumbent […]

Dr. John R. Neal: Tennessee’s Eccentric III

Dr. John R. Neal: Tennessee’s Eccentric III

By Ray Hill Disappointed by his failure to be appointed to the Board of Directors of the Tennessee Valley Authority, Dr. John R. Neal continued to be the Volunteer State’s political gadfly extraordinaire. John R. Neal ran for the United States Senate eighteen times, governor nine times and the U. S. House of Representatives once. […]

Dr. John R. Neal: Tennessee’s Eccentric II

Dr. John R. Neal:  Tennessee’s Eccentric II

By Ray Hill Dr. John Randolph Neal had some solid achievements under his belt, both as a state legislator and educator, yet there was growing dissatisfaction at the University of Tennessee.  That dissatisfaction seemed to be confined largely to administrators, as Dr. Neal was apparently quite popular with his students.  By 1923, those same administrators […]

Dr. John R. Neal: Tennessee’s Eccentric I

Dr. John R. Neal: Tennessee’s Eccentric I

By Ray Hill Dr. John R. Neal was an American original; an educator, lawyer, state legislator, and perennial candidate for public office.  Neal could have been the blueprint for the absentminded professor.  Dr. Neal is frequently remembered for his many eccentricities, which included paying virtually no attention to his personal appearance, bathing infrequently, if at […]

Cordell Hull Almost Came Home

Cordell Hull Almost Came Home

By Ray Hill Cordell Hull, remembered as the longest serving Secretary of State in the country’s history, almost abbreviated his service due to his unhappiness inside President Franklin D. Roosevelt’s Cabinet.  Frequently feeling ignored, if not actually humiliated by a president who preferred guiding U. S. foreign policy himself, Hull began thinking of returning home […]

A Woman of Firsts: Ruth Bryan Owen

A Woman of Firsts: Ruth Bryan Owen

By Ray Hill “Keep your eyes on the stars, and your feet on the ground.” – Theodore Roosevelt –   Ruth Bryan Owen lived a truly remarkable life; at various times she was an author, filmmaker, lecturer, diplomat and congresswoman. She was also the daughter of one of the most famous men of the age: […]

Tennessee and American Neutrality, Part Ten

Tennessee and American Neutrality, Part Ten

By Ray Hill The Tennessee Congressional delegation was lending strong support to the neutrality bill proposed by Secretary of State Cordell Hull and President Franklin Roosevelt.  Congressman Wirt Courtney, who had been elected after the sudden death of Clarence W. Turner, had made his maiden speech in Congress on the neutrality legislation.  Courtney made a […]

Tennessee and American Neutrality,    Part Nine

Tennessee and American Neutrality,    Part Nine

  The United States Senate had begun the final debate on revising the Neutrality Act.  Senators contemplated amendments being offered by colleagues who were opposed to repealing the arms embargo and allowing the United States to sell weapons, munitions and goods to belligerent countries.  With Germany at war with Great Britain and France after having […]

Tennessee and American Neutrality,  Part Eight

Tennessee and American Neutrality,  Part Eight

Tennessee’s senior United States senator, Kenneth D. McKellar, had moved strongly behind the neutrality program of President Franklin Roosevelt and Secretary of State Cordell Hull.  McKellar was unquestionably the longest serving and most powerful member of Tennessee’s Congressional delegation and his support for Hull’s program was shared by most members of Congress representing the Volunteer […]

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