Wednesday, July 12, 2017

Reconsidering Richard B. Russell


There was a time both before and after the War when the South dominated the United States Congress. In the antebellum period, James Madison, John C. Calhoun, John Randolph of Roanoke, and Henry Clay placed their mark on congressional debates, and several other Southerners ranked among the best statesmen of the era. But most Americans, even those in the South, don’t realize that by the mid-twentieth century, Southerners controlled every major committee in the Senate and played a substantial role in the legislative proceedings of both houses of Congress.

This process began during the Wilson administration and continued virtually unabated until the 1970s. The “Southern Bloc” mentored promising young Southern congressmen by grooming them for power. Southerners held the formal procedures of Congress in high regard and considered being a United States Senator a position of honor and respect.

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