Rush D. Holt, Sr.
   HOME

TheInfoList



OR:

Rush Dew Holt Sr. (June 19, 1905 – February 8, 1955) was an American
politician A politician is a person active in party politics, or a person holding or seeking an elected office in government A government is the system or group of people governing an organized community, generally a state. In the case o ...
who was a
United States Senator The United States Senate is the Upper house, upper chamber of the United States Congress, with the United States House of Representatives, House of Representatives being the Lower house, lower chamber. Together they compose the national Bica ...
from
West Virginia West Virginia is a U.S. state, state in the Appalachian Mountains, Appalachian, Mid-Atlantic (United States), Mid-Atlantic and Southeastern United States, Southeastern regions of the United States.The United States Census Bureau, Census Burea ...
(1935–1941) and a member of the
West Virginia House of Delegates The West Virginia House of Delegates is the lower house of the West Virginia Legislature. Only three states—Maryland, Virginia and West Virginia—refer to their lower house as the House of Delegates. Organization Regular sessions begin with ...
(1931–1935, 1942–1950, 1954–1955).


Early life and family

Holt was born in
Weston Weston may refer to: Places Australia * Weston, Australian Capital Territory, a suburb of Canberra * Weston, New South Wales * Weston Creek, a residential district of Canberra * Weston Park, Canberra, a park Canada * Weston, Nova Scotia * W ...
,
Lewis County, West Virginia Lewis County is a county A county is a geographic region of a country used for administrative or other purposesChambers Dictionary, L. Brookes (ed.), 2005, Chambers Harrap Publishers Ltd, Edinburgh in certain modern nations. The term is d ...
, on June 19, 1905.Rush D. Holt Sr.
at the ''
Biographical Directory of the United States Congress The ''Biographical Directory of the United States Congress'' (Bioguide) is a biographical dictionary of all present and former members of the United States Congress and its predecessor, the Continental Congress. Also included are Delegate (Unite ...
''.
His parents were Chilela (née Dew) and Dr. Matthew Samuel Holt, a small-town physician and horse trader. Matthew Holt was an
atheist Atheism, in the broadest sense, is an absence of belief in the existence of Deity, deities. Less broadly, atheism is a rejection of the belief that any deities exist. In an even narrower sense, atheism is specifically the position that ther ...
, who shifted his political support from the Republican Party to
William Jennings Bryan William Jennings Bryan (March 19, 1860 – July 26, 1925) was an American lawyer, orator and politician. Beginning in 1896, he emerged as a dominant force in the History of the Democratic Party (United States), Democratic Party, running ...
in the 1890s, and then to
Socialist Socialism is a left-wing Economic ideology, economic philosophy and Political movement, movement encompassing a range of economic systems characterized by the dominance of social ownership of the means of production as opposed to Private prop ...
candidate
Eugene Debs Eugene may refer to: People and fictional characters * Eugene (given name), including a list of people and fictional characters with the given name * Eugene (actress) (born 1981), Kim Yoo-jin, South Korean actress and former member of the s ...
; Matthew Holt attended the Socialist Party's 1917 convention, where he participated in condemning American involvement in
World War I World War I (28 July 1914 11 November 1918), often abbreviated as WWI, was List of wars and anthropogenic disasters by death toll, one of the deadliest global conflicts in history. Belligerents included much of Europe, the Russian Empire, ...
.Coffey, William E.
Isolationism and Pacifism: Senator Rush D. Holt and American Foreign Policy
. ''West Virginia History'', Volume 51 (1992), pp. 1–14.
Rush Holt attended the public schools and
West Virginia University West Virginia University (WVU) is a public university, public Land-grant university, land-grant research university with its main campus in Morgantown, West Virginia. Its other campuses are those of the West Virginia University Institute of Tech ...
at Morgantown; he graduated from
Salem College Salem College is a Private college, private Women's colleges in the United States, women's Liberal arts colleges in the United States, liberal arts college in Winston-Salem, North Carolina. Founded in 1772 as a primary school, it later became an ...
in 1924. He became a high school teacher and athletic coach, then an instructor at Salem College.


Political career

Holt was elected as a Democrat to the
West Virginia House of Delegates The West Virginia House of Delegates is the lower house of the West Virginia Legislature. Only three states—Maryland, Virginia and West Virginia—refer to their lower house as the House of Delegates. Organization Regular sessions begin with ...
, serving from 1931 to 1935. In this office, he was described as "a champion of the common man and a critic of privately owned utility corporations." In November 1934, at 29, he was elected to the United States Senate, but because a Senator is constitutionally required to be at least 30 years old, he could not take his seat until after his 30th birthday in June 1935. Holt was the youngest person ever popularly elected to the U.S. Senate. Holt was elected with the support of the
United Mine Workers The United Mine Workers of America (UMW or UMWA) is a North American Labor history of the United States, labor union best known for representing coal miners. Today, the Union also represents health care workers, truck drivers, manufacturing worke ...
and the endorsement of Democratic West Virginia Senator Matthew M. Neely. Holt proclaimed himself an unequivocal supporter of
President President most commonly refers to: *President (corporate title) *President (education), a leader of a college or university *President (government title) President may also refer to: Automobiles * Nissan President, a 1966–2010 Japanese ful ...
Franklin Delano Roosevelt Franklin Delano Roosevelt (; ; January 30, 1882April 12, 1945), often referred to by his initials FDR, was an American politician and attorney who served as the 32nd president of the United States from 1933 until his death in 1945. As the ...
, but according to William E. Coffey, "most knowledgeable observers ... viewed Holt as politically left of the president." However, by 1936, Holt emerged as a vocal
conservative Conservatism is a Philosophy of culture, cultural, Social philosophy, social, and political philosophy that seeks to promote and to preserve traditional institutions, practices, and values. The central tenets of conservatism may vary in r ...
critic of the
New Deal The New Deal was a series of programs, Public works, public work projects, financial reforms, and regulations enacted by President Franklin D. Roosevelt in the United States between 1933 and 1939. Major federal programs agencies included the C ...
, attacking, for example, the
Works Progress Administration The Works Progress Administration (WPA; renamed in 1939 as the Work Projects Administration) was an American New Deal agency that employed millions of jobseekers (mostly men who were not formally educated) to carry out public works projects, ...
as corrupt and inefficient. One scoring method found Holt to be the third most
conservative Democrat In Politics of the United States, American politics, a conservative Democrat is a member of the Democratic Party (United States), Democratic Party with Conservatism in the United States, conservative political views, or with views that are conse ...
ic Senator to serve between 1937 and 2002. Throughout his Senate career, Holt was a staunch
isolationist Isolationism is a political philosophy advocating a national foreign policy that opposes involvement in the political affairs, and especially the wars, of other countries. Thus, isolationism fundamentally advocates Neutral country, neutrality and ...
. He was impressed by the findings of the Nye Committee (1934–1936) and by H. C. Engelbrecht's and F. C. Hanighen's book, ''Merchants of Death'' (1934). Holt began making a number of public appearances in support of antiwar causes, including several radio addresses for the National Council for Prevention of War. He supported the Neutrality Acts of 1935, 1936, and 1937, and also every amendment aimed at making those acts more stringent. During the
Spanish Civil War The Spanish Civil War ( es, Guerra Civil Española)) or The Revolution ( es, La Revolución, link=no) among Nationalists, the Fourth Carlist War ( es, Cuarta Guerra Carlista, link=no) among Carlism, Carlists, and The Rebellion ( es, La Rebeli ...
, Holt declared himself in favor of "strict, mandatory neutrality." He opposed increases in military spending, threatening to filibuster the 1938 Naval Expansion Bill. Holt did not favor American participation in international organizations, voting against
World Court The International Court of Justice (ICJ; french: Cour internationale de justice, links=no; ), sometimes known as the World Court, is one of the United Nations System#Six principal organs, six principal organs of the United Nations (UN). It s ...
membership, and not supporting membership in the
League of Nations The League of Nations (french: link=no, Société des Nations ) was the first worldwide Intergovernmental organization, intergovernmental organisation whose principal mission was to maintain world peace. It was founded on 10 January 1920 by ...
. He opposed reciprocal trade agreements and "faithfully represented" West Virginia's pro-
tariff A tariff is a tax imposed by the government of a country or by a supranational union on imports or exports of goods. Besides being a source of revenue for the government, import duties can also be a form of regulation of foreign trade an ...
glass industry. During the
Winter War The Winter War,, sv, Vinterkriget, rus, Зи́мняя война́, r=Zimnyaya voyna. The names Soviet–Finnish War 1939–1940 (russian: link=no, Сове́тско-финская война́ 1939–1940) and Soviet–Finland War 1 ...
, despite being sympathetic to
Finland Finland ( fi, Suomi ; sv, Finland ), officially the Republic of Finland (; ), is a Nordic country in Northern Europe. It shares land borders with Sweden to the northwest, Norway to the north, and Russia Russia (, , ), or the Ru ...
, Holt voted against a loan to that country. Holt opposed the
Selective Training and Service Act of 1940 The Selective Training and Service Act of 1940, also known as the Burke–Wadsworth Act, , was the first peacetime conscription in United States history. This Selective Service Act required that men who had reached their 21st birthday b ...
(also known as the Burke-Wadsworth Act), which instigated peace-time conscription, actively participating in the long (six weeks) and often vitriolic debate on the act; the act eventually passed, 58–31, Holt voting against. These activities did not make Holt popular with his constituents; in his 1940 bid for renomination, Holt came in third. After his Senate term expired, on January 3, 1941, Holt continued living in
Washington, D.C. ) , image_skyline = , image_caption = Clockwise from top left: the Washington Monument The Washington Monument is an obelisk shaped building within the National Mall in Washington, D.C., built to commemorate Geor ...
, supporting himself as a lecturer and author. He was an active antiwar lecturer, most often supported by the sponsorship of the
America First Committee The America First Committee (AFC) was the foremost United States isolationist pressure group against American entry into World War II. Launched in September 1940, it surpassed 800,000 members in 450 chapters at its peak. The AFC principally supp ...
. He attended dozens of antiwar rallies across the United States, usually as the featured speaker. This speaking tour ended after the
attack on Pearl Harbor The attack on Pearl HarborAlso known as the Battle of Pearl Harbor was a surprise military strike by the Imperial Japanese Navy Air Service upon the United States The United States of America (U.S.A. or USA), commonly known as t ...
, and the America First Committee was dissolved. Holt's
foreign policy A State (polity), state's foreign policy or external policy (as opposed to internal or domestic policy) is its objectives and activities in relation to its interactions with other states, unions, and other political entities, whether bilaterall ...
views remained the same, writing in 1942: "Our fight is not over. We must stand guard to see that the internationalists ... are not allowed to determine the future of our great country. They would commit us to everlasting wars everywhere." Holt received a high level of media attention during his Senate years and was the subject of hundreds of political cartoons from across America. Holt unsuccessfully sought the Democratic gubernatorial nomination in 1944 and the Democratic nomination for United States Senator in 1948. He switched to the Republican Party in 1949, and was an unsuccessful Republican candidate for election to the Eighty-second Congress in 1950. In 1952, Holt again ran for governor, and earned 48% of the vote. In 1954, he was elected to the West Virginia House of Delegates. Holt's political career ended where it started, and he died of
cancer Cancer is a group of diseases involving Cell growth#Disorders, abnormal cell growth with the potential to Invasion (cancer), invade or Metastasis, spread to other parts of the body. These contrast with benign tumors, which do not spread. Poss ...
while in office on February 8, 1955 at age 49. He was interred in Macpelah Cemetery in Weston, West Virginia.


Family

Holt's widow, Helen F. Holt (1913–2015), filled Holt's unexpired term in the West Virginia House of Delegates (1955–1957). She was then appointed Secretary of State, serving from 1957 to 1959, becoming the first woman to hold high office in West Virginia.Mrs. Holt Takes Secretary Post
, ''
Charleston Gazette The ''Charleston Gazette-Mail'' is the only daily morning newspaper in Charleston, West Virginia. It is the product of a July 2015 merger between ''The Charleston Gazette'' and the ''Charleston Daily Mail''. The paper is one of nine owned by HD ...
'', December 5, 1957. Retrieved January 6, 2010.
His son, Rush D. Holt Jr., later served as a
U.S. Representative The United States House of Representatives, often referred to as the House of Representatives, the U.S. House, or simply the House, is the lower chamber A lower house is one of two Debate chamber, chambers of a Bicameralism, bicameral l ...
from
New Jersey New Jersey is a U.S. state, state in the Mid-Atlantic States, Mid-Atlantic and Northeastern United States, Northeastern regions of the United States. It is bordered on the north and east by the state of New York (state), New York; on the ea ...
.


References


Bibliography


Unsworn Senators
, ''
Time Time is the continued sequence of existence and event (philosophy), events that occurs in an apparently irreversible process, irreversible succession from the past, through the present, into the future. It is a component quantity of various me ...
'', January 14, 1935. Article about Holt and Richard C. Hunter.


External links

{{DEFAULTSORT:Holt, Rush D. Sr. 1905 births 1955 deaths Deaths from cancer in Maryland Democratic Party United States senators from West Virginia Schoolteachers from West Virginia Members of the West Virginia House of Delegates Old Right (United States) People from Weston, West Virginia Salem International University alumni Salem University faculty West Virginia Democrats West Virginia Republicans American anti-war activists 20th-century American politicians 20th-century American educators