Frederick H. Gillett

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Frederick H. Gillett
Frederick Huntington Gillett.png
United States Senator
from Massachusetts
In office
March 4, 1925 – March 4, 1931
Preceded by David I. Walsh
Succeeded by Marcus A. Coolidge
42nd Speaker of the United States House of Representatives
In office
May 19, 1919 – March 3, 1925
President Woodrow Wilson
Warren Harding
Calvin Coolidge
Preceded by Champ Clark
Succeeded by Nicholas Longworth
Member of the U.S. House of Representatives
from Massachusetts's 2nd district
In office
March 4, 1893 – March 3, 1925
Preceded by Elijah A. Morse
Succeeded by George B. Churchill
Personal details
Born Frederick Huntington Gillett
(1851-10-16)October 16, 1851
Westfield, Massachusetts
Died July 31, 1935(1935-07-31) (aged 83)
Springfield, Massachusetts
Political party Republican
Spouse(s) Christine Rice Hoar
Alma mater Amherst College
Harvard Law School
Profession Law

Frederick Huntington Gillett (/ɨˈlɛt/; October 16, 1851 – July 31, 1935) was an American politician who served in the Massachusetts state government and both houses of the U.S. Congress between 1879 and 1931, including six years as Speaker of the House.

Life and career[edit]

Frederick H. Gillett was born in Westfield, Massachusetts, to Edward Bates Gillett (1817–1899) and Lucy Fowler Gillett (1830–1916). He graduated from Amherst College in 1874 and Harvard Law School in 1877. He entered the practice of law in Springfield in 1877. He was the Assistant Attorney General of Massachusetts from 1879 to 1882. For two one-year terms he was a member of the Massachusetts House of Representatives. He was elected to the Fifty-third United States Congress in 1892.[1]

A Republican, Gillett served in the United States House of Representatives from 1893 to 1925. On January 24, 1914, he introduced legislation to initiate the adoption of an Anti-Polygamy Amendment to the U.S. Constitution.[2]

In 1919, the Republican caucus elected him Speaker of the United States House of Representatives on the first ballot. He represented a contrast to the earlier, assertive leadership style of Joe Cannon, the Speaker when the Republicans lost control of the House in the 1910 election.[3] Gillett was expected to exercise less control than his predecessor, since he was characterized by one reporter as someone who did not drink coffee in the morning "for fear it would keep him awake all day".[4] He continued as Speaker for six years, the remainder of his time in the House. He decided to run for the United States Senate in 1924. He won the Republican primary easily over two other candidates[5] and then narrowly defeated incumbent Senator David I. Walsh in the Republican landslide of November 1924 led by President Calvin Coolidge, a former governor of Massachusetts.[6] Time magazine chose him for its November 17, 1924, cover.[7] He served one term in the Senate from 1925 to 1931, and decided not to seek re-election in the face of a difficult primary challenge.[8] In June 1930, he declined to state his position on prohibition or its repeal when queried by prohibition advocates.[9]

In 1934 he published a biography of George Frisbie Hoar, an earlier congressman and senator from Massachusetts, his wife's father-in-law from her previous marriage.[10]

On November 25, 1915, Gillett married Christine Rice Hoar, the widow of his former colleague in Congress, Rockwood Hoar.[11] In retirement he wintered in Pasadena, California. He died in a hospital in Springfield, Massachusetts, on July 31, 1935.

As of 2013, Gillett is the last U.S. senator from Massachusetts to come from the state's four westernmost counties and the last Speaker of the House to serve in the U.S. Senate. He was the longest-tenured former congressman to have ever been elected to the Senate until June 2013, when Representative Ed Markey was elected to the same Senate seat that Gillett held, in a special election to fill the seat following the resignation of John Kerry to become U.S. Secretary of State.[12]

References[edit]

  1. ^ "Gillett Dies at 83; A Former Senator". New York Times. July 31, 1935. Retrieved June 26, 2013. 
  2. ^ Iversen, Joan Smyth (1997). The Antipolygamy Controversy in U.S. Women's Movements: 1880 - 1925. NY: Routledge. p. 244. 
  3. ^ "Gillett Chosen for Speakership of Next House". New York Times. February 28, 1919. Retrieved June 26, 2013. 
  4. ^ Margulies, Herbert F. (1996). Reconciliation and Revival: James R. Mann and the House Republicans in the Wilson Era. Westport, CT: Greenwood Press. pp. 191–8. 
  5. ^ "Gillett is Victor in Senate Contest; Couzens is Trailing". New York Times. September 10, 1924. Retrieved June 26, 2013. 
  6. ^ "Republicans Make Gains in Congress". New York Times. November 5, 1924. Retrieved June 26, 2013. 
  7. ^ "Frederick Gillett". Time. November 17, 1924. Retrieved June 26, 2013. 
  8. ^ "Observations from Times Watch-Towers". New York Times. September 8, 1929. Retrieved June 26, 2013. 
  9. ^ "Women Taking Poll Say Many Senators Didge the Dry Issue". New York Times. June 9, 1930. Retrieved June 26, 2013. 
  10. ^ "Senator Hoar". New York Times. December 16, 1934. Retrieved June 26, 2013. 
  11. ^ "Gillett-Hoar Wedding". New York Times. November 26, 1915. Retrieved June 26, 2013. 
  12. ^ Levenson, Michael (June 25, 2013). "Markey wins US Senate special election". Boston Globe. Retrieved June 26, 2013. 
United States House of Representatives
Preceded by
Elijah A. Morse
Member of the U.S. House of Representatives
from Massachusetts's 2nd congressional district

March 4, 1893 – March 4, 1925
Succeeded by
George B. Churchill
Political offices
Preceded by
Champ Clark
Speaker of the U.S. House of Representatives
May 19, 1919 – March 4, 1921;
April 11, 1921 – March 4, 1923;
December 3, 1923 – March 4, 1925
Succeeded by
Nicholas Longworth
United States Senate
Preceded by
David I. Walsh
U.S. Senator (Class 2) from Massachusetts
March 4, 1925 – March 4, 1931
Served alongside: William M. Butler, David I. Walsh
Succeeded by
Marcus A. Coolidge