My First Fifty Years in Politics

My First Fifty Years in Politics

My First Fifty Years in Politics

My First Fifty Years in Politics

Excerpt

FEW OF MY CONTEMPORARIES have lived through such a long and revolutionary span of American politics as I have.

As a boy in North Attleboro, Massachusetts, where I was born and still live, I listened to Jacob S. Coxey recruiting his "army" of unemployed for the descent on Washington after the Panic of 1893. In 1896 I marched in a torchlight parade for William McKinley. Becoming a politician in my own right almost by chance at first, I began campaigning for office, in 1911, transported by horse and buggy or interurban. In those days politicians seldom had automobiles. A nickel got me to Seekonk on the trolley in ample time to address a meeting.

I served in the Massachusetts legislature with Calvin Coolidge; a close bond developed between us that endured unchanged throughout his years in the White House.

In 1925 I came to what was then the rather quaint, sleepy city of Washington as an elected member of the Sixty-ninth Congress and cast my first vote for Nicholas Longworth of Ohio for Speaker of the House of Representatives. Fourteen years later I was elected Republican leader of the House.

When Representative Allen T. Treadway, a Massachusetts colleague, nominated me for the post he said: "We are doing more than electing a floor leader. We are choosing a symbol of the Republican Party in this House." Many of my political friends and opponents would no doubt still agree that I have been a symbol of the Republican Party, though I strongly suspect that friend and foe would see this symbol in very different light. Nevertheless I still treasure those words.

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