Richard B. Russell, Jr., Senator from Georgia

By Gilbert C. Fite | Go to book overview

14
Russell in the Eisenhower Years

When the Eighty-third Congress opened in January 1953, Russell found the Senate back in Republican hands for only the second time since he arrived in Washington some twenty years earlier. With the Democrats in the minority, Russell's power was somewhat diminished, but because of his long tenure, he still wielded tremendous influence. Many commentators believed that he was the nation's most powerful senator in the early 1950s. Only his colleagues Walter George and Carl Hayden from Arizona had greater seniority. Although now on the minority side, Russell ranked first on the Armed Services Committee and second on the Appropriations Committee. He continued on the Democratic Policy Committee. His increased importance was reflected in his move from Room 410 in the Senate Office Building, where he had been since 1939, to Room 205, a large and spacious suite formerly occupied by Vice President Alben Barkley.

The Democrats were faced with some important organizational decisions. Ernest McFarland, the Democratic majority leader, had been defeated in 1952, leaving that position open. Russell, however, already had McFarland's successor pretty well decided. The new leader would be his friend from Texas, Lyndon Johnson. Despite Johnson's lack of seniority, Russell had been pushing him for a party leadership role for more than two years. He had appointed Johnson to head the Defense Preparedness Subcommittee in 1950. Although this committee in no way compared with the Truman Committee organized to investigate the national defense program during World War II, it did enhance Johnson's image and position in the Senate. Russell had also backed Johnson for majority whip in 1951.

Right after the election of 1952, Russell began to line up support for Johnson. He and several other senators announced on November 10 that they favored the election of Johnson as the next Democratic leader

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Richard B. Russell, Jr., Senator from Georgia
Table of contents

Table of contents

  • Title Page iii
  • Contents vii
  • Illustrations ix
  • Preface xi
  • 1 - A Rich Heritage 1
  • 2 - In School, 1911-1918 16
  • 3 - Political Apprenticeship 37
  • 4 - The Campaign for Governor 60
  • 5 - Governor Russell 79
  • 6 - Election to the United States Senate 101
  • 7 - Russell Goes to Washington 122
  • 8 - The Later New Deal 149
  • 9 - Foreign Affairs and World War II 175
  • 10 - Russell and Postwar America 199
  • 11 - Russell, Truman, and Civil Rights 224
  • 12 - Dangers at Home and Abroad 243
  • 13 - A Bid for the Presidency, 1952 271
  • 14 - Russell in the Eisenhower Years 301
  • 15 - Civil Rights: The 1950s 329
  • 16 - Russell and the Cold War 349
  • 17 - Kennedy, Russell, and the New Frontier 371
  • 18 - Johnson and the Great Society 404
  • 19 - The Frustration of Vietnam 435
  • 20 - The End of a Long Career 465
  • 21 - Summing Up 494
  • Notes 503
  • Index 555
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