The History Book Club discussion

290 views
SUPREME COURT OF THE U.S. > #81 - ASSOCIATE JUSTICE JAMES F. BYRNES

Comments Showing 1-15 of 15 (15 new)    post a comment »
dateDown arrow    newest »

message 1: by Alisa (new)

Alisa (mstaz) This thread is about Associate Justice James F. Byrnes and related topics.

Biography
James F. Byrnes was born and raised in South Carolina. He left school at fourteen to work as a law clerk in a Charleston firm for $2 a week. He later worked as an official court reporter and studied law in his spare time. He passed the bar at the same time that he entered the newspaper business in Aiken as publisher and editor. He served in the U.S. House of Representatives for seven terms and twice won election to the Senate.

Byrnes was a close associate of Franklin D. Roosevelt who twice decided against Byrnes as his running mate in 1940 and 1944. Roosevelt turned to Byrnes when the conservative McReynolds announced his retirement. But Byrnes wanted the action of a nation at war, not the "storm center" of the nation's highest court. He recognized that he really was not cut out for the intellectual demands and resigned after only 16 months on the bench. He took an active role in the war effort, heading important agencies in the Roosevelt administration.

Byrnes was appointed Secretary of State under President Harry Truman and was elected governor of South Carolina in 1951 on a campaign of states' rights and separate-but-equal education for blacks.

Personal Information
Born Tuesday, May 2, 1882
Died Sunday, April 9, 1972
Childhood Location South Carolina
Childhood Surroundings South Carolina

Position Associate Justice
Seat 5
Nominated By Roosevelt, F.
Commissioned on Wednesday, June 25, 1941
Sworn In Tuesday, July 8, 1941
Left Office Saturday, October 3, 1942
Reason For Leaving Resigned
Length of Service 1 year, 2 months, 26 days
Home South Carolina



source: http://www.oyez.com/justices/james_f_...


message 2: by Alisa (new)

Alisa (mstaz) James Francis Byrnes (May 2, 1882 – April 9, 1972) was an American politician from the state of South Carolina. During his career, Byrnes served as a US Representative (1911–1925), a US Senator (1931–1941), a Justice of the Supreme Court (1941–1942), Secretary of State (1945–1947), and 104th governor of South Carolina (1951–1955). He is one of very few politicians to serve in all three branches of the American national government while also being active in state government. He was a confidant of U.S. President Franklin D. Roosevelt, and was one of the most powerful men in American domestic and foreign policy in the mid-1940s.

Early life and career
Byrnes was born at 538 King St. in Charleston, South Carolina and reared in Charleston, South Carolina. Byrnes' father died shortly after Byrnes was born. His mother, Elizabeth McSweeney Byrnes, was an Irish-American dressmaker. At the age of fourteen, he left St. Patrick's Catholic School to work in a law office, and became a court stenographer. In 1906, he married the former Maude Perkins Busch of Aiken, South Carolina, and became an Episcopalian. Though they had no children, he was the godparent of James Christopher Connor.

Byrnes never attended high school, college, or law school. In 1900, when his cousin Governor Miles B. McSweeney appointed him as a clerk for Judge Robert Aldrich of Aiken, he needed to be 21. Byrnes, his mother, and Governor McSweeney just changed his date of birth to that of his older sister Leonora. He later apprenticed to a lawyer – a not uncommon practice then – read for the law, and was admitted to the bar in 1903. In 1908, he was appointed solicitor for the second circuit of South Carolina, having served until 1910. Byrnes was a protégé of "Pitchfork" Ben Tillman, and often had a moderating influence on the fiery segregationist Senator.

In 1910, he narrowly won the state's third Congressional District in the Democratic primary, then tantamount to election. Byrnes proved a brilliant legislator, working behind the scenes to form coalitions and avoiding the high-profile oratory that characterized much of Southern politics. He was a champion of the "good roads" movement that attracted motorists, and politicians, to large-scale roadbuilding programs in the 1920s. He became a close ally to President Woodrow Wilson, and Wilson often entrusted important political tasks to the capable young representative, rather than to more experienced lawmakers.

United States Senate and Supreme Court
In 1924, Byrnes declined renomination to the House, and instead sought nomination for the Senate seat held by incumbent Nathaniel B. Dial, though both were former allies of the now deceased Benjamin Tillman. Anti-Tillmanite and extreme racist demagogue Coleman Blease, who had challenged Dial in 1918, also ran again. Blease led the primary with 42 percent; Byrnes was second with 34 percent.

Byrnes was opposed by the Ku Klux Klan, which preferred Blease. Byrnes had been raised as a Roman Catholic, and the Klan spread rumors that he was still a secret Catholic. Byrnes countered by citing his support by Episcopalian clergy. Then, three days before the run-off vote, twenty Catholics who said they had been altar boys with Byrnes published a professed endorsement of him. The leader of this group was a Blease ally, and the "endorsement" was circulated in anti-Catholic areas. Blease won the run-off 51% to 49%.

After his House term ended in 1925, Byrnes was out of office. He moved his law practice to Spartanburg, in the industrializing Piedmont region. Between his law practice and investment advice from friends such as Bernard Baruch, Byrnes became a wealthy man, but he never took his eyes off of a return to politics. He cultivated the Piedmont textile workers, who were key Blease supporters. In 1930, he challenged Blease again. Blease again led the primary, with 46 percent to 38 percent for Byrnes, but this time Byrnes won the run-off 51 to 49 percent.

During his time in the US Senate, Byrnes was regarded as the most influential South Carolinian since John C. Calhoun. He had long been friends with Franklin D. Roosevelt, whom he supported for the Democratic nomination in 1932, and made himself the President's spokesman on the Senate floor, where he guided much of the early New Deal legislation to passage. He won an easy reelection in 1936, promising:
"I admit I am a New Dealer, and if [the New Deal] takes money from the few who have controlled the country and gives it back to the average man, I am going to Washington to help the President work for the people of South Carolina and the country."

Since the colonial era, South Carolina's politicians had dreamed of an inland waterway system that would not only aid commerce, but also control flooding. By the 1930s, Byrnes took up the cause for a massive dam building project, the Santee Cooper, that would not only accomplish those tasks, but also electrify the entire state with hydroelectric power. With South Carolina financially strapped by the Great Depression, Senator Byrnes managed to get the Federal government to authorize a loan for the entire project, which was completed and put into operation in February 1942. The loan was later paid back to the Federal government with full interest and at no cost to the South Carolina taxpayers. Santee Cooper has continued to be a model for public owned electrical utilities world-wide.

In 1937, he supported Roosevelt on the highly controversial court packing plan, but voted against the minimum wage law of 1938 that would have made, as he argued, the textile mills in his state uncompetitive. He opposed Roosevelt's efforts to purge conservative Democrats in the 1938 primary elections. On foreign policy, Byrnes was a champion of Roosevelt's positions of helping Great Britain and France against Nazi Germany in 1939–1941, and of maintaining a hard diplomatic line against Japan.

Byrnes despised his fellow South Carolina Senator Cotton Ed Smith, who strongly opposed the New Deal. He privately sought to help his friend Burnet R. Maybank, then the mayor of Charleston, defeat Smith in the 1938 Senate primary. During the primary, however, Olin Johnston, who was limited to one term as governor, decided to run for the U.S. Senate. Because Johnston was also a pro-Roosevelt New Dealer, he would have divided the New Deal vote with Maybank and ensured a victory for Smith. Johnston was also supportive of the New Deal's labor legislation, whilst Byrnes' support was limited. Taking advice from Byrnes, Maybank decided to instead run for governor, and Byrnes made the reluctant decision to support Smith. Byrnes envisioned that Smith would retire in 1944 and that Maybank would successfully run for Smith's Senate seat and build a strong political machine in the state with him.

In part as a reward for his crucial support on many issues, Roosevelt appointed Byrnes an Associate Justice of the Supreme Court in July 1941. He was the last Justice appointed to the Supreme Court of the United States who had been admitted to practice by reading law; he did not attend law school. Byrnes resigned from the Court after only fifteen months to head the Office of Economic Stabilization.


message 3: by Alisa (new)

Alisa (mstaz) World War II and beginning of the Cold War
Byrnes left the Supreme Court to head Roosevelt's Economic Stabilization Office, which dealt with the vitally important issues of prices and taxes. How powerful the new office would become depended entirely on Byrnes's political skills, and Washington insiders soon reported he was in full charge. In May 1943, he also became head of the Office of War Mobilization. Under the leadership of Byrnes, the program managed newly constructioned factories across the country which created raw materials, civilian and military production, and transportation for US military personnel and was credited for providing the employment needed to officially bring an end to the Great Depression. Thanks to his political experience, his probing intellect, his close friendship with Roosevelt, and in no small part to his own personal charm, Byrnes was soon exerting influence over many facets of the war effort which were not technically under his departmental jurisdiction. Many in Congress and the press began referring to Byrnes as the "Assistant President."

Many expected that Byrnes would be the Democratic nominee for vice president with Roosevelt in 1944 replacing Henry A. Wallace, whom party officials strongly felt was too eccentric to replace an ailing President who likely going to die before his next term ended. Roosevelt refused to endorse anybody other than Wallace, but preferred Byrnes as the best alternative to Wallace and sought to push him as the party's nominee for president if the party's delegates refused to renominate Wallace at the 1944 Democratic National Convention. However, Byrnes was regarded as too conservative for organized labor, the big city bosses opposed him as an ex-Catholic who would offend Catholics, and blacks were wary of his opposition to racial integration. The nomination went instead to U.S. Senator Harry S. Truman of Missouri. Roosevelt brought Byrnes to the Yalta Conference in early 1945, where he seemed to favor Soviet plans. Written in shorthand, his notes comprise one of the most complete records of the "Big Three" Yalta meetings.

Upon his succession to the presidency after Roosevelt's death on April 12, 1945, Truman relied heavily on Byrnes's counsel, Byrnes having been a mentor to Truman from Truman's earliest days in the U.S. Senate. Indeed, Jimmy Byrnes was one of the first people whom Truman saw on the first day of his presidency. It was Byrnes, who shared information with the new President on the atomic bomb project (Truman had known nothing about the Manhattan Project beforehand).[24] When Truman met Roosevelt's coffin in Washington, he asked Byrnes and former Vice President Wallace, the two other men who might well have succeeded Roosevelt, to join him at the train station. Truman, originally, intended that both men would play leading roles in his administration, signaling continuity with Roosevelt's policies. While Truman quickly fell out with Wallace, he retained a good working relationship with Byrnes and increasingly turned to him for support.

Truman appointed Byrnes as Secretary of State on July 3, 1945. He played a major role at the Potsdam Conference, the Paris Peace Conference, and other major postwar conferences. According to historian Robert H. Ferrell, Byrnes knew little more about foreign relations than Truman. He made decisions after consulting a few advisors, such as Donald S. Russell and Benjamin V. Cohen. Byrnes and his small group paid little attention to the State Department and similarly ignored the President.

Although Byrnes's tough position against the Soviets paralleled the feelings of the President, personal relations between the two men grew strained, particularly when Truman felt that Byrnes was attempting to set foreign policy by himself, and only informing the President afterward. An early instance of this friction was the Moscow Conference in December 1945. Truman considered the “successes” of the conference to be “unreal” and was highly critical of Byrnes’s failure to protect Iran, which was not mentioned in the final communiqué. “I had been left in the dark about the Moscow conference,” Truman told Byrnes bluntly. In a subsequent letter to Byrnes, Truman took a harder line in reference to Iran, saying in part, "Without these supplies furnished by the United States, Russia would have been ignominiously defeated. Yet now Russia stirs up rebellion and keeps troops on the soil of her friend and ally— Iran… Unless Russia is faced with an iron fist and strong language another war is in the making. Only one language do they understand—“how many divisions do you have?” I do not think we should play compromise any longer …I am tired of babying the Soviets". This led to the Iran crisis of 1946, and Byrnes took an increasingly hardline position in opposition to Stalin, culminating in the speech held in Stuttgart on September 6, 1946. "Restatement of Policy on Germany", also known as the "Speech of hope" it set the tone of future U.S. policy as it repudiated the Morgenthau Plan economic policies and gave the Germans hope for the future. Byrnes was named TIME Man of the Year. Truman and others believed that Byrnes had grown resentful that he had not been Roosevelt's running mate and successor, and in his resentment he was disrespecting Truman. Whether this was true or not, Byrnes felt compelled to resign from the Cabinet in 1947 with some feelings of bitterness.

Governor of South Carolina
At an age when most of his contemporaries retired from politics, Byrnes was not yet ready to give up public service. At age sixty-eight, he was elected governor of South Carolina, serving from 1951 to 1955, in which capacity he vigorously criticized the Supreme Court's decision in Brown v. Board of Education.

Ironically, Byrnes was initially seen as a relative moderate on race issues. Recognizing that the South could not continue with its entrenched segregationist policies much longer but fearful of Congress imposing sweeping change upon the South, he opted for a course of change from within. To that end, he sought to fulfill at last the "separate but equal" policy which the South had put forward in Supreme Court civil rights cases, particularly in regard to public education. Byrnes poured state money into improving Negro schools, buying new textbooks and new buses, and hiring additional teachers. He also sought to curb the power of the Ku Klux Klan by passing a law that prohibited adults from wearing a mask in public on any day other than Halloween; he knew that many Klansmen feared exposure, and would not appear in public in their robes unless their faces were hidden as well. Byrnes hoped to make South Carolina an example for other Southern states to follow in modifying their "Jim Crow" policies. Nonetheless, the NAACP sued South Carolina to force the state to desegregate its schools. Byrnes requested Kansas, a northern state which also segregated its schools, to provide an Amicus curiae brief in supporting the right of a state to segregate its school. This gave the NAACP's lawyer, Thurgood Marshall, the idea to shift the suit from South Carolina over to Kansas, which led directly to Brown v. Board of Education.

The South Carolina state constitution limited governors to one four-year term, and Byrnes retired from active political life following the 1954 election.

Later political career
In his later years, Byrnes foresaw that the American South could play a more important role in national politics. To hasten that development, he sought to end the region's nearly automatic support of the Democratic Party, which Byrnes believed had grown too liberal and took the "Solid South" for granted at election time, yet otherwise ignored the region and its needs. In time, he switched his own party affiliation to Republican, and South Carolina within two decades of his death had become a reliably Republican state.

Byrnes endorsed Dwight D. Eisenhower in 1952, segregationist candidate Harry Byrd in 1956, Richard M. Nixon in 1960 and 1968 and Barry Goldwater in 1964. He gave his private blessing to U.S. Senator Strom Thurmond of South Carolina to bolt the Democratic Party in 1964 and declare himself a Republican, but Byrnes himself remained a Democrat that year. In 1965, Byrnes spoke out against the "punishment" and "humiliation" of South Carolina U.S. Representative Albert W. Watson for having been stripped of his congressional seniority by the House Democratic Caucus after Watson endorsed Goldwater for president. Byrnes openly endorsed Watson's election to Congress in a special election as the newest Republican member of the House. Watson secured $20,000 and the services of a GOP field representative in what he termed "quite a contrast" to his treatment from House Democrats.

In 1968, Byrnes secretly advised Nixon on how to win old-time Southern Democrats to the Republican Party.

He is interred in the churchyard at Trinity Episcopal Church in Columbia, South Carolina.

Legacy
Byrnes is memorialized at several South Carolina universities and schools.
The James F. Byrnes Building housing the Byrnes International Center at the University of South Carolina.
The James F. Byrnes Professorship of International Studies at USC, its first endowed professorship.
Byrnes Auditorium at Winthrop University.
Byrnes Hall, a dormitory at Clemson University (where Byrnes was a Life Trustee).
James F. Byrnes High School in Duncan, South Carolina.
The Byrnes Schools (formerly the James F. Byrnes Academy) in Quinby, South Carolina.

In 1948, Byrnes and his wife established the James F. Byrnes Foundation Scholarships and since then more than 1,000 young South Carolinians have been assisted in obtaining a college education. His papers are in the Special Collections of the Clemson University Libraries.

source (above two posts): http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/James_F....


message 4: by Bentley, Group Founder, Leader, Chief (new)

Bentley | 44200 comments Mod
Thank you for continuing this journey.


message 5: by Alisa (last edited Mar 05, 2013 08:10AM) (new)

Alisa (mstaz) It's a journey, that's for sure. We'll get there.


message 6: by Bentley, Group Founder, Leader, Chief (new)

Bentley | 44200 comments Mod
Keep plugging along.


message 7: by Katy (new)

Katy (kathy_h) Sly and Able: A Political Biography of James F. Byrnes

Sly and Able A Political Biography of James F. Byrnes by David Robertson by David Robertson (no photo)

Synopsis:

Few political figures have had as long, as varied and as consequential a career in American history as Jimmy Byrnes. This master politician and self-made man served for half a century, as congressman and later as key New Deal senator fom his native South Carolina; as Supreme Court justice; as assistant president during the Second World War; as Truman's secretary of state in the early years of the Cold War; and, finally, as governor of South Carolina. He came tantalisingly close to the American presidency and was a key participant in the decision to drop the atomic bomb on Japan. In later years he was a seminal figure in the so-called Southern Strategy that brought Richard Nixon to the White House. For his shrewdness and mastery of the art of politics Byrnes earned the sobriquet sly and able. He was surely both - and one of the key shapers of American politics in this century.


message 8: by Francie (new)

Francie Grice The End of an Alliance: James F. Byrnes, Roosevelt, Truman, and the Origins of the Cold War

The End of an Alliance James F. Byrnes, Roosevelt, Truman, and the Origins of the Cold War by Robert L. Messer by Robert L. Messer (no photo)

Synopsis:

Using recently declassified documents, Messer traces Byrnes's performance from the Yalta Conference through the postwar dealings with the Soviet Union. He sees the failure of the Soviet-American collaboration to continue into the postwar years as the result of several unrelated events--the struggle between Byrnes and Truman to become Roosevelt's successor in 1944, Roosevelt's use of Byrnes as his Yalta salesman," and Byrnes's distorted view of the Yalta Conference."


message 9: by Francie (new)

Francie Grice Sly and Able: A Political Biography of James F. Byrnes

Sly and Able A Political Biography of James F. Byrnes by David Robertson by David Robertson (no photo)

Synopsis:

Few political figures have had as long, as varied and as consequential a career in American history as Jimmy Byrnes. This master politician and self-made man served for half a century, as congressman and later as key New Deal senator fom his native South Carolina; as Supreme Court justice; as assistant president during the Second World War; as Truman's secretary of state in the early years of the Cold War; and, finally, as governor of South Carolina. He came tantalisingly close to the American presidency and was a key participant in the decision to drop the atomic bomb on Japan. In later years he was a seminal figure in the so-called Southern Strategy that brought Richard Nixon to the White House. For his shrewdness and mastery of the art of politics Byrnes earned the sobriquet sly and able. He was surely both - and one of the key shapers of American politics in this century.


message 10: by Lorna, Assisting Moderator (T) - SCOTUS - Civil Rights (new)

Lorna | 1954 comments Mod
James F. Byrnes:

James F. Byrnes was Born in Charleston, South Carolina on May 2, 1882

(He falsified his year of birth in order to become a court reporter-stenographer in 1900. As a result, his birth year is often reported as 1879.) Although his formal education ended at age fourteen, Byrnes became a lawyer and had an influential role in the political careers of presidents Franklin Roosevelt, Harry Truman, Dwight Eisenhower, and Richard Nixon.

Byrnes held an array of public offices and suffered electoral defeat only once, in 1924, for refusing endorsement by the Ku Klux Klan. He represented South Carolina in the House (1911-25) and Senate (1931-41). In the Senate, he spearheaded much of his friend Franklin Roosevelt's (FDR) New Deal legislation.





James Francis Byrnes (May 2, 1882 – April 9, 1972) was an American statesman from the state of South Carolina. During his career, Byrnes served as a member of the House of Representatives (1911–1925), as a Senator (1931–1941), as Justice of the Supreme Court (1941–1942), as Secretary of State (1945–1947), and as Governor of South Carolina (1951–1955). He therefore became one of very few politicians to be active in all three branches of the federal government while also being active in state government. He was also a confidant of President Franklin D. Roosevelt, and was one of the most powerful men in American domestic and foreign policy in the mid-1940s.

Links: https://worldhistoryproject.org/1882/...

Source(s): World History Project, Library of Congress, Wikipedia


message 11: by Bentley, Group Founder, Leader, Chief (new)

Bentley | 44200 comments Mod
Excellent add Lorna


message 12: by Lorna, Assisting Moderator (T) - SCOTUS - Civil Rights (new)

Lorna | 1954 comments Mod
All in One Lifetime: James F Byrnes of South Carolina

By RAY HILL October 26, 2014


From the author’s personal collection. A jaunty Secretary of State James F. Byrnes in 1945

The autobiography of James F. Byrnes of South Carolina was appropriately named All In One Lifetime.  Byrnes served as a Congressman, U. S. senator, Associate Justice of the United States Supreme Court, Assistant to the President, Secretary of State and governor of South Carolina.  Few have ever been so honored as was James F. Byrnes.

James Francis Byrnes was born May 2, 1882 in Charleston, South Carolina.  The story of his life was quintessentially American, as James Byrnes’s father passed away shortly after his birth.  The death of the elder Byrnes placed the burden of providing a living for the family upon the narrow shoulders of Mrs. Elizabeth Byrnes, who was a dressmaker.  There were few opportunities for women during that time and the Byrnes children all went to work at an early age to help out; “Jimmie” Byrnes left his Catholic school to work for a lawyer at fourteen years of age.  The enterprising lad learned a trade at that time, becoming a stenographer.  Byrnes later became a lawyer although he never even attended high school, much less college.  Byrnes received his training as an attorney by the process of reading the law with a mentor, a not uncommon practice at the time.  It was sort of an apprenticeship and Byrnes was prosperous enough by 1906 to propose and marry Maude Perkins Busch.

Byrnes became an Episcopalian around the time he married and in 1908 was named solicitor for the second circuit of South Carolina’s courts.  By 1910, Jimmie Byrnes was running for Congress and won.  Even though he was only twenty-eight years old when he took his seat in Congress, Byrnes proved to have a positive knack for legislating.  Thin and wiry, with a craggy face and charming smile, Jimmie Byrnes was unusual for a Southern Congressman.  Byrnes relied less on oratory to accomplish his legislative goals than a mastery of moving things along through the committee rooms and halls of Congress.  Throughout his career, Jimmie Byrnes became a power in Washington, D. C. precisely because of his ability to work with others.  Byrnes also had a propensity to ingratiate himself with those more powerful than himself and despite being little more than a freshman legislator, it was not long before President Woodrow Wilson was entrusting vital tasks to the South Carolinian rather than committee chairmen or more senior Congressmen.

Although South Carolina was a one-party state at the time – – – the Democratic nomination was tantamount to election – – – its politics was hard fought and Jimmie Byrnes decided to run for the United States Senate in 1924.  The incumbent was Nathan B. Dial, but Senator Dial had attracted opposition from not only Congressman Byrnes, but also one of South Carolina’s most rugged and able campaigners, Coleman L. Blease.

Blease was one of the most original and perhaps most dangerous of all the famous Southern demagogues of his time.  “Coley” was heartily supported by many of South Carolina’s financially disadvantaged, oftentimes referred to as the “wool hat boys”.  Blease was an arch white supremacist who heartily approved of lynching.

Senator Dial proved to be a weak candidate and ran a poor third in the Democratic primary.  Coleman Blease, a former governor, again demonstrated his vote-getting ability by winning 42% of the vote, while Congressman James F. Byrnes ran second, polling 34% of the vote.  Under South Carolina law, the two top vote getters would face each other in a run-off election.

Not surprisingly, Jimmie Byrnes was bitterly opposed by the Ku Klux Klan.  Klan members were suspicious of Byrnes as a former Catholic and the rumor that Congressman Byrnes was still a Catholic was spread by the Klan during the run-off election.  Just before Election Day, an “endorsement” of Byrnes’s senatorial candidacy by several alleged former altar boys appeared.  It was just enough to give Coleman Blease 51% of the vote and the election.  It was to be Jimmie Byrnes’s only electoral defeat in a long career.

Out of office, Byrnes moved to Spartanburg, South Carolina where he practiced law.  Jimmie Byrnes enjoyed a highly lucrative law practice and one of his confidantes from his Congressional career was immensely wealthy investor Bernard Baruch.  Baruch, attracted to the centers of power, provided Byrnes with sound advice on investments, which helped to make the former Congressman wealthy in his own right.

Read the remainder of the article at: http://staging.knoxfocus.com/2014/10/...

Other:

All in One Lifetime by James F. Byrnes by James F. Byrnes (no photo)

Source: The Knoxville Focus


message 13: by Lorna, Assisting Moderator (T) - SCOTUS - Civil Rights (new)

Lorna | 1954 comments Mod
James F. Byrnes born in Charleston, S.C., May 2, 1882

By ANDREW GLASS 05/02/2017


Secretary of State James Byrnes looks on as President Harry Truman signs the United Nations charter in Washington on Aug. 8, 1945. | AP Photo

James F. Byrnes, who was born on this day in 1882 in Charleston, South Carolina, falsified his year of birth to become a court reporter-stenographer in 1900. While his formal education ended at age 14, he became a lawyer and played an influential role for Presidents Franklin D. Roosevelt, Harry S. Truman, Dwight D. Eisenhower and Richard M. Nixon.

Byrnes held an array of public offices. He suffered electoral defeat only once, in 1924, for refusing an endorsement by the Ku Klux Klan. He represented South Carolina in the House (1911-25). During his decade in the Senate (1931-1941), Byrnes was widely viewed as the most influential South Carolinian in that body since John C. Calhoun.

He and FDR were longtime friends. Byrnes became the president's spokesman on the Senate floor, where he guided much of the New Deal legislation to passage. In easily winning reelection in 1936, Byrnes said: “I admit I am a New Dealer, and if it takes money from the few who have controlled the country and gives it back to the average man, I am going to Washington to help the president work for the people of South Carolina and the country.”

Byrnes was sworn in as associate justice of the U.S. Supreme Court in July 1941. After the United States entered World War II, he left the court when FDR named him director of the office of Economic Stabilization and, subsequently, director of the Office of War Mobilization. Popularly known as “assistant president for domestic affairs,” Byrnes held wide authority during the conflict over all U.S. production, procurement, and the distribution of civilian and military goods, and manpower allocation.

Truman nominated Byrnes as secretary of state on July 3, 1945. (In that role, he was first in line at the time to the presidency since there was no vice president until Truman’s first term.) He played a major role at postwar peace conferences.

According to historian Robert Ferrell, Byrnes initially knew little more about foreign relations than Truman. He made decisions after consulting a few advisers; Byrnes and his tight-knit group paid little heed to the rest of the department and similarly often ignored the president.

Although a segregationist, while governor of South Carolina (1951-55), Byrnes ensured passage of anti-mask and anti-cross burning bills and championed a sales tax aimed at bringing parity to the states poorly maintained all-black schools. He had the state’s lawyer admit to gross inequities and promulgated a detailed plan for improved schools, which the court monitored.

As with Calhoun a century earlier, Byrnes’ position on state’s rights became ever more pronounced. He led a move by Southern Democrats to endorse Eisenhower in the 1952 presidential election because the Republican platform favored making civil rights reforms the responsibility of the states, rather than federal government.

After a long illness, Byrnes died in April 1972.

SOURCE: U.S. LIBRARY OF CONGRESS

Link to article: https://www.politico.com/story/2017/0...

Other:

James F. Byrnes of South Carolina A Remembrance by Walter J. Brown by Walter J. Brown (no photo)

Source: Politico


message 14: by Bentley, Group Founder, Leader, Chief (new)

Bentley | 44200 comments Mod
Thank you for the add


message 15: by Lorna, Assisting Moderator (T) - SCOTUS - Civil Rights (new)

Lorna | 1954 comments Mod


South Carolina Hall Of Fame: James F. Byrnes



Born-(Died): 1879-1972
Profession: Governor
Inducted: 1982

A statesman, jurist and diplomat, the Charleston native was admitted to the bar in 1903. After serving as Solicitor of the Second Judicial District, he was elected to the U.S. House of Representatives in 1910, serving until 1925. In 1936 he was elected to the United States Senate, serving until 1941 when he was appointed to the U.S. Supreme Court. President Franklin D. Roosevelt appointed him to head the Office of Economic Stabilization and then as the director of the Office of War Mobilization during World War II. Byrnes was frequently called the "assistant president." He served as Secretary of State under President Harry Truman from 1945 to 1947. In 1950 he was elected governor, serving until 1955.

Link to article: http://www.theofficialschalloffame.co...
Link to videotape: http://www.theofficialschalloffame.co...

More:

All in One Lifetime by James F. Byrnes by James F. Byrnes (no photo)

Source: The South Carolina Hall of Fame


back to top