Congressman Howard W. Smith : a Political Biography

Dierenfield, Bruce J., Corcoran Department of History, University of Virginia
Brauer, Carl M., Department of History, University of Virginia
Younger, Edward, Department of History, University of Virginia

This dissertation is a biography of Howard Worth Smith (1883-1976), the dean of the Virginia congressional delegation and chairman of the House Committee on Rules in the late fifties and sixties. During his tenure in the House, Smith played a major role in advancing such anticommunist and antilabor legislation as the Smith Act of 1940, the Wartime Labor Disputes Act of 1943, and the Taft-Hartley Act of 1947. When the mood of the country, in the late fifties, began to favor expanded federal aid programs and civil rights legislation, Smith, a reactionary member of the state's Byrd organization, used all of the parliamentary wizardry at his command to prevent their enactment into law.  

At the conclusion of the manuscript, an analytical evaluation of Smith--the man and the politician--is presented. In looking carefully at his public record, which encompassed nearly sixty years, one must conclude that, while Smith was a sincere individual, he restrained the "march of progress." Indeed, he believed that the Constitution did not, and never would, permit such axiomatic elements of late-twentieth-century life as the minimum wage, federal aid to education, full civil rights for minorities, and assistance programs for the needy.

PHD (Doctor of Philosophy)
Smith, Howard Worth -- 1883-1976, Legislators -- Biography -- United States

Digitization of this thesis was made possible by a generous grant from the Jefferson Trust, 2015.

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