George W. Norris

Norris, George William

George William Norris, 1861–1944, American legislator, b. Sandusky co., Ohio. After admission to the bar in 1883, he moved (1885) to Furnas co., Nebr., where he practiced law and was prosecuting attorney and then (1895–1902) judge of the district court. From 1903 to 1913 he served in the U.S. House of Representatives. A liberal Republican, Norris secured (1910), through an alliance of insurgent Republicans with Democrats, the passage of a resolution that reformed the House rules and wrested absolute control from the speaker of the House, Joseph G. Cannon. Elected (1912) to the U.S. Senate, he opposed President Wilson's foreign policy, voted against U.S. participation in World War I, and denounced the Treaty of Versailles. He was at constant odds with the Coolidge administration, backed (1928) Democrat Alfred E. Smith for President, and favored President Franklin Delano Roosevelt's domestic and foreign policies. Norris was read out of the Republican party and became (1936) an independent. He was author (1932) of the Twentieth Amendment to the Constitution, which abolished the "lame duck" session of Congress and changed the date of the presidential inauguration. He sponsored (1932) the Norris–La Guardia Act, which forbade the use of injunctions in labor disputes to prevent strikes, boycotts, or picketing. An advocate of government water power development, he fathered the bills that created (1933) the Tennessee Valley Authority. He also supported farm relief measures. After serving 30 years in the Senate, he was defeated for reelection in 1942. His Fighting Liberal (1945, repr. 1961) is autobiographical.

See R. Lowitt, George W. Norris: The Triumph of a Progressive, 1933–1944 (1978); biography by N. L. Zucker (1966).

The Columbia Encyclopedia, 6th ed. Copyright© 2014, The Columbia University Press.

George W. Norris: Selected full-text books and articles

George W. Norris: Gentle Knight of American Democracy
Norman L. Zucker.
University of Illinois Press, 1966
Fighting Liberal: The Autobiography of George W. Norris
Arthur M. Schlesinger; George W. Norris; George W. Norris.
University of Nebraska Press, 1972
Peace without Hate, a Lecture Delivered at the University of Nebraska
George W. Norris.
University of Nebraska Press, 1943
Leaders and Liberals in 20th Century America
Charles A. Madison.
Frederick Ungar Publishing, 1961
Librarian’s tip: "George W. Norris: Eminent Progressive" begins on p. 315
Men against Myths: The Progressive Response
Fred Greenbaum.
Praeger Publishers, 2000
Librarian’s tip: Chap. 2 "George Norris: Pragmatism"
Organize or Perish: America's Independent Progressives, 1913-1933
Eugene M. Tobin.
Greenwood Press, 1986
Sons of the Wild Jackass
Ray Tucker; Frederick R. Barkley; R. G. List; Robert S. Maxwell.
University of Washington Press, 1970
Librarian’s tip: Chap. 3 "Norris: A Valiant Rebel"
Prophets True and False
Oswald Garrison Villard.
A. A. Knopf, 1928
Librarian’s tip: Chap. 9 "Frank Norris: Noblest of the Romans"
Profiles in Character: Hubris and Heroism in the U.S. Senate, 1789-1990
Joseph Martin Hernon.
M. E. Sharpe, 1997
Librarian’s tip: Chap. 7 "'Senator-at-Large of the Whole American People': William E. Borah vs. George W. Norris (1920-1940)"
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