Barkley, Alben W. (ON HOLD)


Kentucky Senator, Senate Majority Leader 1937-44, Truman’s VP 1949-53


Type: Signed card
Description: (1877-1956) Kentucky lawyer & politician, served in both houses of Congress (US Rep 1913-27, Senator 1927-49 & 1955-56) and as 35th US Vice President 1949-53. He was elected to Congress in 1912, a liberal Democrat supporting President Wilson’s New Freedom domestic agenda and foreign policy. Endorsing Prohibition and denouncing parimutuel betting, he lost the 1923 Democratic gubernatorial primary but, in 1926,  unseated GOP Senator Richard P. Ernst.

In the Senate, he supported the New Deal and succeeded Senate Majority Leader Joseph T. Robinson upon his death in 1937. During his 1938 re-election bid, his opponent, A. B. “Happy” Chandler, accused him of using WPA employees to campaign for him; Barkley claimed Chandler used state employees the same way. As a result, in 1939, Congress passed the Hatch Act making it illegal for federal employees to campaign for political candidates. When WW II focused President Roosevelt’s attention on foreign affairs, Barkley gained influence over the Administration’s domestic agenda. He resigned as Majority Leader after FDR ignored his advice and vetoed a tax bill in 1944, but the Democratic caucus unanimously re-elected him.

Barkley had a better working relationship with Harry Truman after FDR’s death in 1945. With Truman’s popularity waning entering the 1948 Democratic Convention, Barkley’s keynote address energized the delegates. Truman chose him as his running mate and the ticket scored an upset victory. Barkley was active in Truman’s Administration, acting as its primary spokesman after the Korean War took most of Truman’s attention. When Truman announced he would not seek re-election in 1952, Barkley organized a presidential campaign. When labor leaders refused to endorse him because of his age (75), he withdrew, retired, but coaxed back, defeated incumbent GOP Senator John Sherman Cooper in 1954. He died of a heart attack while giving a speech on April 30, 1956.

Frameable signed 3 x 5 card

Condition: Very good

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