Senator Ross Bass

Senator Ross Bass

By Ray Hill Few Tennesseans today remember Ross Bass who served the Volunteer State in Congress for a decade, as well as a brief term in the United States Senate.  Bass was a participant in some of Tennessee’s fiercest political wars and served in Congress during a time when Tennessee was undergoing a profound change […]

The White Chief: James K. Vardaman of Mississippi

The White Chief: James K. Vardaman of Mississippi

By Ray Hill The South produced a number of successful demagogues, not the least of which was James K. Vardaman, a governor and senator from Mississippi.  At the height of his career, Vardaman was unquestionably the most popular politician in Mississippi. James Kimble Vardaman was born July 26, 1861, just as the Civil War commenced.  […]

Edward Ward Carmack: Editor & Politician

Edward Ward Carmack: Editor & Politician

  By Ray Hill An imposing statue dominates the State Capitol in Nashville, yet few recognize the figure staring off into the distance, overlooking the street where he was murdered in downtown Nashville. Edward Ward Carmack was by profession a newspaperman, but he was also a successful politician, serving as a Congressman and U. S. […]

Hill McAlister of Tennessee

Hill McAlister of Tennessee

By Ray Hill Hill McAlister was governor of Tennessee during one of the most difficult times in our state’s history; McAlister was chief executive of the Volunteer State during the Great Depression. Born July 15, 1875, McAlister was the son of a local judge and attorney and enjoyed a reasonably comfortable upbringing.  He attended Vanderbilt […]

Guy M. Gillette of Iowa

Guy M. Gillette of Iowa

By Ray Hill For modern readers it should become quite clear the voting patterns and political preferences of many states have been significantly altered over the passage of time.  One such state is Iowa, which was heavily dominated by the Republican Party for decades.  Most of the hard fought political contests in Iowa were waged […]

Hiram W. Johnson of California

Hiram W. Johnson of California

  By Ray Hill Few politicians enjoyed the lengthy career Hiram W. Johnson carved out in California.  Johnson’s time in public office was stormy, yet he remained enduringly popular.  By the time of his death in 1945, Hiram Johnson was a living icon in his home state. Johnson was born on September 2, 1866, the […]

Carter Glass of Virginia

Carter Glass of Virginia

By Ray Hill Rixey Smith, Senator Carter Glass’s long-time Secretary, wrote a flattering biography of his boss entitled “Unreconstructed Rebel: Carter Glass” and that Glass certainly was.  Indeed, it was President Franklin D. Roosevelt himself who had labeled Glass an “unreconstructed rebel,” emphasizing the Virginian’s frequent dissents from prevailing public policy. Carter Glass was born […]

John H. Bankhead of Alabama

John H. Bankhead of Alabama

By Ray Hill   For decades the Bankhead family was one of the most politically prominent in the state.  Today, perhaps the best-known member of the family is the late actress Tallulah Bankhead, yet Miss Bankhead’s father William was Speaker of the U. S. House of Representatives while her Uncle John was the United States […]

William Gibbs McAdoo

William Gibbs McAdoo

  By Ray Hill Few men have lived as colorful and productive a life as did William Gibbs McAdoo, who was, incidentally, a one-time resident of Knoxville.  A lawyer, businessman, son-in-law of a President of the United States, member of a President’s Cabinet, U.S. Senator from California, and presidential aspirant, W. G. McAdoo left little […]

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