Richard B. Russell, Jr., Senator from Georgia

By Gilbert C. Fite | Go to book overview

10
Russell and Postwar America

By the end of World War II, Richard Russell was an emerging leader in the U.S. Senate. He was still Georgia's junior senator and worked somewhat in the shadow of Senator George, but his abilities and leadership were being increasingly recognized both in Washington and beyond. In some instances, he was receiving national recognition for his work, especially in agriculture, but mainly he was considered a regional spokesman on domestic policies. Looking at Russell's first ten years in Washington, Ralph Smith of the Atlanta Journal's Washington bureau wrote that he was one of "the abler and more influential" members of the Senate. Since only nineteen senators were senior to him in service, some of his colleagues viewed him as a kind of senior statesman even though in 1945 he was only forty-seven years old.

At middle age, Russell appeared to be everything people imagined a southern gentleman to be. He was courteous, modest, usually even- tempered, considerate, and charming. He commonly dressed in a blue serge suit that sometimes looked a bit worn. His early baldness had become pronounced by the 1940s. When he was outside, he generally wore a felt hat. As his hair receded and gradually disappeared, his nose appeared sharper and his ears larger. One writer thought he looked like everybody's favorite uncle. He was usually smoking a cigarette, a habit he had begun as an early teenager. It was not uncommon for him to smoke two packs or more a day. Except for the health of his mother, Russell had few worries. He was satisfied with his life and felt especially privileged to serve in the U.S. Senate.

Although Russell had not desired the position, by 1945 he had gradually replaced Senator Tom Connally of Texas as head of the southern caucus. Southern senators had turned to Russell more and more for leadership in the battle against the growing campaign for civil rights. They respected his abilities, his knowledge of Senate rules, his organiza-

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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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