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 […]

Tennessee and American Neutrality, Part VII

Tennessee and American Neutrality, Part VII

By Ray Hill With the outbreak of war in Europe following Adolf Hitler’s invasion of Poland, the United States of America was faced with an unpleasant reality.  Neutrality acts had been passed by the Congress in 1936, 1936 and 1937, but the war between Germany, Great Britain and France was eerily reminiscent of the First […]

Tennessee and American Neutrality, VI

Tennessee and American Neutrality, VI

By Ray Hill Tennessee’s senior United States senator, Kenneth D. McKellar, had declared himself solidly behind Secretary of State Cordell Hull’s plan to revise the neutrality act.  McKellar had also urged President Franklin Roosevelt to call Congress into special session to consider neutrality legislation following Adolf Hitler’s invasion of Poland.  McKellar had visited with reporters […]

Tennessee and American Neutrality, Part V

Tennessee and American Neutrality, Part V

By Ray Hill Neither President Roosevelt and Secretary of State Cordell Hull intended to retreat from their demands that Congress renew the cash and carry provision of the neutrality law, while also removing the arms embargo on belligerent nations. The noninterventionists and isolationists in Congress, having won the fight in the House of Representative through […]