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John Nance Garner
John Nance Garner
III (November 22, 1868 – November 7, 1967), known among his contemporaries as "Cactus Jack", was an American Democratic politician and lawyer from Texas. He was the 32nd Vice President of the United States, serving from 1933 to 1941. He was also the 39th Speaker of the United States House of Representatives
Speaker of the United States House of Representatives
from 1931 to 1933. Along with Schuyler Colfax, Garner is one of two individuals to serve as Vice President of the United States
Vice President of the United States
and Speaker of the United States House of Representatives. Garner began his political career as the county judge of Uvalde County, Texas. He served in the Texas
Texas
House of Representatives from 1898 to 1902 and won election to represent Texas
Texas
in the United States House of Representatives in 1902. He represented Texas's 15th congressional district from 1903 to 1933. Garner served as House Minority Leader from 1929 to 1931, and was elevated to Speaker of the House when Democrats won control of the House following the 1930 elections. Garner sought the Democratic presidential nomination in the 1932 presidential election, but he agreed to serve as Franklin D. Roosevelt's running mate at the 1932 Democratic National Convention. Roosevelt and Garner won the 1932 election and were re-elected in 1936. A conservative Southerner, Garner opposed the sit-down strikes of the labor unions and the New Deal's deficit spending. He broke with Roosevelt in early 1937 over the issue of enlarging the Supreme Court, and helped defeat it on the grounds that it centralized too much power in the president's hands. Garner again sought the presidency in the 1940 presidential election, but Roosevelt won the party's presidential nomination at the 1940 Democratic National Convention. Garner was replaced as vice president by Henry A. Wallace
Henry A. Wallace
and retired from public office in 1941.

Contents

1 Biography

1.1 Early life and family 1.2 Texas
Texas
politics 1.3 Vice presidency 1.4 Final years and legacy

2 Footnotes 3 Further reading 4 External links

Biography[edit] Early life and family[edit] Garner was born on November 22, 1868, in a log cabin near Detroit in Red River County
Red River County
to John Nance Garner
John Nance Garner
II and his wife, Sarah Guest Garner.[2] The mud-chinked log cabin that Garner was born in no longer exists but the house that he grew up in survives and is located at 260 South Main Street in Detroit, Texas. It is a large, white, two-story house. Garner attended Vanderbilt University
Vanderbilt University
in Nashville, Tennessee, for one semester before dropping out and returning home. He eventually studied law, was admitted to the bar in 1890,[1] and began practice in Uvalde, Uvalde County, Texas. In 1893, Garner entered politics, running for county judge of Uvalde County. (Although the county judge in Texas
Texas
is now primarily the chief administrative officer of a county, comparable to the mayor of a city, the office is a judicial position, and the county judge sits in small civil cases, misdemeanor criminal cases, and probate cases.) At that time, Democrats entirely dominated politics in Texas, and the Democratic nomination for an office was tantamount to election. Thus the Democratic primary election was the real election, with the general election being a formality. Garner was opposed in the county judge primary by a woman—Mariette Rheiner, a rancher's daughter. Two years later, on November 25, 1895, she married Garner in Sabinal, Texas. They had one child, Tully Charles Garner. Garner was elected county judge and served until 1896. Texas
Texas
politics[edit]

John Nance Garner
John Nance Garner
as a younger congressman

Garner as Speaker of the House

Garner was elected to the Texas
Texas
House of Representatives in 1898, and re-elected in 1900. During his service, the legislature selected a state flower for Texas. Garner fervently supported the prickly pear cactus for the honor, and thus earned the nickname "Cactus Jack". (The Bluebonnet was chosen.) Main article: Disfranchisement after Reconstruction era In 1901 Garner voted for the poll tax, a measure passed by the Democratic-dominated legislature to make voter registration more difficult and reduce the number of black, minority, and poor white voters on the voting rolls.[3] This disfranchised most minority voters until the 1960s, and ended challenges to Democratic power; Texas became in effect a one-party state.[4] In 1902, Garner was elected to the United States House of Representatives from the newly created 15th congressional district, a narrow strip reaching south to include tens of thousands of square miles of rural areas. He was elected from the district 14 subsequent times, serving until 1933. His wife was paid and worked as his private secretary during this period. Garner was chosen to serve as minority floor leader for the Democrats in 1929, and in 1931 as Speaker of the United States House of Representatives, when the Democrats became the majority. Garner supported passage of the federal income tax but opposed most tariffs except for those on wool and mohair, which were important to his Texas
Texas
base. He also believed in rural investment, bringing taxpayer dollars to farmers of the Brush Country region of South Texas.[5][unreliable source?] Garner was popular with his fellow House members in both parties. He held what he called his "board of education" during the era of Prohibition, a gathering spot for lawmakers to drink alcohol, or as Garner called it, "strike a blow for liberty." (The "board of education" was continued by future Speaker Sam Rayburn
Sam Rayburn
after Prohibition had ended and Garner had left the House.)[5] Vice presidency[edit]

Garner with Governor Roosevelt and Kansas Governor Harry Woodring in September 1932

In 1932, Garner ran for the Democratic presidential nomination. It became evident that Franklin D. Roosevelt, the Governor of New York, was the strongest of several candidates, but although he had a solid majority of convention delegates, he was about 100 votes short of the two-thirds required for nomination. Garner cut a deal with Roosevelt, becoming his vice-presidential candidate. Garner was re-elected to the 73rd Congress on November 8, 1932, and on the same day was elected Vice President of the United States. He was the second man, Schuyler Colfax
Schuyler Colfax
being the first, to serve as both Speaker of the House and President of the Senate. Garner was re-elected Vice President with Roosevelt in 1936, serving in that office in total from March 4, 1933, to January 20, 1941. Like most vice presidents in this era, Garner had little to do and little influence on the president's policies. He famously described the vice presidency as being "not worth a bucket of warm piss". (For many years, this quote was bowdlerized as "warm spit".)[6] During Roosevelt's second term, Garner's previously warm relationship with the president quickly soured, as Garner disagreed sharply with him on a wide range of important issues. Garner supported federal intervention to break up the Flint sit-down strike, supported a balanced federal budget, opposed the Judiciary Reorganization Bill of 1937 to "pack" the Supreme Court with additional judges, and opposed executive interference with the internal business of the Congress.[7] During 1938 and 1939, numerous Democratic party leaders urged Garner to run for president in 1940. Garner identified as the champion of the traditional Democratic Party establishment, which often clashed with supporters of Roosevelt's New Deal. The Gallup poll
Gallup poll
showed that Garner was the favorite among Democratic voters, based on the assumption that Roosevelt would defer to the longstanding two-term tradition and not run for a third term. Time characterized him on April 15, 1940:

Cactus Jack is 71, sound in wind & limb, a hickory conservative who does not represent the Old South
Old South
of magnolias, hoopskirts, pillared verandas, but the New South: moneymaking, industrial, hardboiled, still expanding too rapidly to brood over social problems. He stands for oil derricks, sheriffs who use airplanes, prairie skyscrapers, mechanized farms, $100 Stetson hats. Conservative John Garner appeals to many a conservative voter.[8]

Some other Democrats did not find him appealing. In Congressional testimony, union leader John L. Lewis
John L. Lewis
described him as "a labor-baiting, poker-playing, whiskey-drinking, evil old man".[9] Garner declared his candidacy. Roosevelt refused to say whether he would run again. If he did, it was highly unlikely that Garner could win the nomination, but Garner stayed in the race anyway. He opposed most of Roosevelt's policies, and on principle, opposed presidents serving third terms. At the Democratic National Convention, Roosevelt engineered a "spontaneous" call for his renomination, and won on the first ballot. Garner got only 61 votes out of 1,093. Roosevelt chose Henry A. Wallace
Henry A. Wallace
to be the vice-presidential running mate.[10] Final years and legacy[edit] Garner left office on January 20, 1941, ending a 46-year career in public life. He retired to his home in Uvalde for the last 26 years of his life, where he managed his extensive real estate holdings, spent time with his great-grandchildren, and fished. Throughout his retirement, he was consulted by active Democratic politicians and was especially close to Roosevelt's successor, Harry S. Truman. On the morning of Garner's 95th birthday, November 22, 1963, President John F. Kennedy
John F. Kennedy
called to wish him a happy birthday. This was just hours before Kennedy's assassination. Dan Rather
Dan Rather
states that he visited the Garner ranch that morning to film an interview with Garner, where Miss Texas
Texas
Wool was in attendance, and that he then flew back to Dallas from Uvalde to deposit the film at then- CBS
CBS
affiliate KRLD-TV (now Fox owned-and-operated KDFW-TV).[11] Garner died on November 7, 1967, at the age of 98 years and 350 days, 15 days before his 99th birthday. He is interred in Uvalde Cemetery. Garner is, as of 2018, the longest-lived vice president or president in United States history, a record which was previously held by Benjamin Harrison's vice president, Levi P. Morton
Levi P. Morton
(who died in 1920 on his 96th birthday). He is one of the few people to live during the presidencies of both Presidents Johnson—Andrew and Lyndon. Garner and Schuyler Colfax, vice president under Ulysses S. Grant, are the only two vice presidents to have been Speaker of the House of Representatives prior to becoming vice president. As the vice president is also the President of the Senate, Garner and Colfax are the only people to have served as the presiding officer of both Houses of Congress. The popular Garner State Park, located 30 miles (48 km) north of Uvalde, bears his name, as does Garner Field
Garner Field
just east of Uvalde. The women's dormitory at Southwest Texas
Texas
Junior College in Uvalde bears his wife's name. John Garner Middle School, located in San Antonio's North East Independent School District, is also named after him.

John Nance Garner
John Nance Garner
Museum in Uvalde, Texas, undergoing renovation in 2010/2011

Garner Museum restoration is being financed by the Briscoe Center of the University of Texas
Texas
at Austin.

Footnotes[edit]

^ a b "John Nance Garner, 32nd Vice President (1933-1941)". Retrieved October 23, 2017.  ^ V., PATENAUDE, LIONEL (June 15, 2010). "GARNER, JOHN NANCE". tshaonline.org. Retrieved March 27, 2018.  ^ "Nixon v. Condon. Disfranchisement of the Negro in Texas", The Yale Law Journal, Vol. 41, No. 8, June 1932, p. 1212, accessed 21 March 2008 ^ Texas
Texas
Politics: Historical Barriers to Voting, accessed 11 Apr 2008 Archived April 2, 2008, at the Wayback Machine. ^ a b Patrick Cox, University of Texas
Texas
at Austin, "John Nance Garner," West Texas
Texas
Historical Association joint meeting with the East Texas Historical Association at Fort Worth, February 26, 2010 ^ Johns, Daniel (July 1, 2012). "The Vice Presidents That History Forgot". Smithsonian. Retrieved January 3, 2017.  ^ Sean J. Savage (1991). Roosevelt, the Party Leader, 1932–1945. University Press of Kentucky. p. 33. ISBN 978-0-8131-1755-3.  ^ see online ^ Time August 7, 1939 ^ Timothy Walch (1997). At the President's Side: The Vice Presidency in the Twentieth Century. University of Missouri Press. p. 50.  ^ Dan Rather, The Camera Never Blinks (1976), page 113.

Further reading[edit]

Anders, Evan. Boss Rule in South Texas. Austin, TX: University of Texas
Texas
Press, 1982. Champagne, Anthony. "John Nance Garner", in Raymond W Smock and Susan W Hammond, eds. Masters of the House: Congressional Leadership Over Two Centuries (1998) pp 144–80 Timmons, Bascom N. Garner of Texas: A Personal History. 1948. Will, George. "In Cactus Jack's Footsteps". Jewish World Review Jan 6, 2000.

External links[edit]

Wikiquote has quotations related to: John Nance Garner

Wikimedia Commons has media related to John Nance Garner.

United States Congress. " John Nance Garner
John Nance Garner
(id: G000074)". Biographical Directory of the United States Congress.  John Nance Garner
John Nance Garner
at Find a Grave Let's get goin'!, Bill Sykes Editorial Cartoon depicting Garner's 1940 presidential candidacy, December 19, 1939 Conspicuous among the casualties, Bill Sykes Editorial Cartoon depicting Vandenberg and Garner in 1940 presidential primaries, April 4, 1940

Texas
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Political offices

Preceded by Charles Curtis Vice President of the United States March 4, 1933 – January 20, 1941 Succeeded by Henry A. Wallace

Preceded by Nicholas Longworth Speaker of the United States House of Representatives December 7, 1931 – March 4, 1933 Succeeded by Henry T. Rainey

Preceded by Finis Garrett Minority Leader of the United States House of Representatives March 4, 1929 – December 7, 1931 Succeeded by Bertrand Snell

U.S. House of Representatives

Preceded by New district Member of the U.S. House of Representatives from Texas's 15th congressional district March 4, 1903 – March 4, 1933 Succeeded by Milton H. West

Party political offices

Preceded by Joseph T. Robinson Democratic nominee for Vice President of the United States 1932, 1936 Succeeded by Henry A. Wallace

Preceded by Finis Garrett House Democratic Leader 1929–1931 Succeeded by Henry T. Rainey

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v t e

Cabinet of President Franklin D. Roosevelt
Franklin D. Roosevelt
(1933–45)

Vice President

John N. Garner (1933–41) Henry A. Wallace
Henry A. Wallace
(1941–45) Harry S. Truman
Harry S. Truman
(1945)

Secretary of State

Cordell Hull
Cordell Hull
(1933–44) Edward R. Stettinius Jr. (1944–45)

Secretary of the Treasury

William Hartman Woodin (1933–34) Henry Morgenthau Jr.
Henry Morgenthau Jr.
(1934–45)

Secretary of War

George H. Dern (1933–36) Harry H. Woodring (1936–40) Henry L. Stimson
Henry L. Stimson
(1940–45)

Attorney General

Homer S. Cummings (1933–39) Frank Murphy
Frank Murphy
(1939–40) Robert H. Jackson
Robert H. Jackson
(1940–41) Francis B. Biddle (1941–45)

Postmaster General

James A. Farley (1933–40) Frank C. Walker (1940–45)

Secretary of the Navy

Claude A. Swanson
Claude A. Swanson
(1933–39) Charles Edison
Charles Edison
(1940) Frank Knox
Frank Knox
(1940–44) James V. Forrestal (1944–45)

Secretary of the Interior

Harold L. Ickes
Harold L. Ickes
(1933–45)

Secretary of Agriculture

Henry A. Wallace
Henry A. Wallace
(1933–40) Claude Raymond Wickard (1940–45)

Secretary of Commerce

Daniel C. Roper
Daniel C. Roper
(1933–38) Harry L. Hopkins (1938–40) Jesse H. Jones
Jesse H. Jones
(1940–45) Henry A. Wallace
Henry A. Wallace
(1945)

Secretary of Labor

Frances Perkins
Frances Perkins
(1933–45)

v t e

(1928 ←) United States presidential election, 1932
United States presidential election, 1932
(→ 1936)

Democratic Party Convention

Nominee

Franklin D. Roosevelt

VP nominee

John Nance Garner

Candidates

John Nance Garner William H. Murray James A. Reed Albert Ritchie Al Smith

Republican Party Convention

Nominee

Herbert Hoover

VP nominee

Charles Curtis

Candidates

John J. Blaine Calvin Coolidge Joseph I. France James W. Wadsworth

Third party and independent candidates

Communist Party

Nominee

William Z. Foster

VP nominee

James W. Ford

Prohibition Party

Nominee

William David Upshaw

Socialist Party

Nominee

Norman Thomas

VP nominee

James H. Maurer

Socialist Labor Party

Nominee

Verne L. Reynolds

VP nominee

John W. Aiken

Independents and other candidates:

James Renshaw Cox William Hope Harvey

Other 1932 elections: House Senate

v t e

(1932 ←) United States presidential election, 1936
United States presidential election, 1936
(→ 1940)

Democratic Party Convention

Nominee

Franklin D. Roosevelt

VP nominee

John Nance Garner

Candidates

Henry S. Breckinridge

Republican Party Convention

Nominee

Alf Landon

VP nominee

Frank Knox

Candidates

William Borah Stephen A. Day Lester J. Dickinson Warren Green Frank Knox Earl Warren Frederick Steiwer

Third party and independent candidates

Communist Party

Nominee

Earl Browder

VP nominee

James W. Ford

Prohibition Party

Nominee

D. Leigh Colvin

VP nominee

Claude A. Watson

Socialist Party

Nominee

Norman Thomas

VP nominee

George A. Nelson

Union Party

Nominee

William Lemke

Socialist Labor Party

Nominee

John W. Aiken

VP nominee

Emil F. Teichert

Christian Party

Nominee

William Dudley Pelley

VP nominee

Willard Kemp

Other 1936 elections: House Senate

v t e

(1936 ←) United States presidential election, 1940
United States presidential election, 1940
(→ 1944)

Democratic Party Convention

Nominee

Franklin D. Roosevelt

VP nominee

Henry A. Wallace

Candidates

James Farley John Nance Garner Cordell Hull Millard Tydings

Republican Party Convention

Nominee

Wendell Willkie

VP nominee

Charles L. McNary

Candidates

Styles Bridges Thomas Dewey Frank Gannett Arthur James Robert Taft Arthur H. Vandenberg

Third party and independent candidates

Prohibition Party

Nominee

Roger Babson

Socialist Party

Nominee

Norman Thomas

VP nominee

Maynard C. Krueger

Socialist Labor Party

Nominee

John W. Aiken

VP nominee

Aaron M. Orange

Independents and other candidates

Gracie Allen

Other 1940 elections: House Senate

Authority control

WorldCat Identities VIAF: 75495458 LCCN: n91085097 ISNI: 0000 0000 2991 8158 BNF: cb165572275 (data) US Congress: G000074 SN

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