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Rayburn: A Biography

Hardeman, D. B., and Bacon, Donald C.

ISBN 10: 0932012035 / ISBN 13: 9780932012036
Published by Texas Monthly Press, Austin, TX, 1987
From Ground Zero Books, Ltd. (Silver Spring, MD, U.S.A.)

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xi, [1], 554, [6] p. Illustrations. Sources and Notes. Index. Photography Credits. Sam Rayburn, (1882-1961), U.S. representative; born in Roane County, Tenn. A farm boy, he worked his way through Mayo Normal College and taught school while earning his law degree at night. A powerful Democrat in the Texas House (1906--12), he quickly rose to prominence in the U.S. House of Representatives (1913--61) on the Committee on Interstate and Foreign Commerce, aided by John Nance Gardner. A Southern populist, he sponsored New Deal legislation including the Securities and Exchange Act of 1934 to regulate Wall Street. He took special pride in the Rural Electrification Act of 1936. Elected Speaker of the House (1940--61), he was politically more influential in Washington than in Texas, where oil men had assumed power. He supported Roosevelt's and Truman's foreign policies, but his and Senator Lyndon Johnson's policy of moderation and compromise during the 1950s ultimately alienated liberal Democrats, who backed John Kennedy in 1960. Rayburn aided President Kennedy's liberal legislative package by enlarging the House Rules Committee. From Wikipedia: "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.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: 1947 1949 and 1953 1955, 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 LBJ's ascent to power, particularly his unusual and 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 Manifesto. Also, as Speaker of the House, in the interest of the United States of America, 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.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. When he died, his personal savings totaled only $15, 000, and most of his holdings were in his family ranch. 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 i. Bookseller Inventory # 66846

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Bibliographic Details

Title: Rayburn: A Biography

Publisher: Texas Monthly Press, Austin, TX

Publication Date: 1987

Binding: Hardcover

Edition: First edition. First printing [stated].

About this title


Traces the life and career of Rayburn, congressman for forty-nine years, and Speaker of the House of Representatives for twenty-one, and assesses his impact on U.S. politics and history

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