J. William Fulbright

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J. William Fulbright
Fulbright.jpg
United States Senator
from Arkansas
In office
January 3, 1945 – December 31, 1974
Preceded by Hattie Caraway
Succeeded by Dale Bumpers
Member of the U.S. House of Representatives
from Arkansas's 3rd district
In office
January 3, 1943 – January 3, 1945
Preceded by Clyde T. Ellis
Succeeded by James William Trimble
Chairman of the Senate Committee on Foreign Relations
In office
January 3, 1959 – December 31, 1974
Preceded by Theodore F. Green
Succeeded by John J. Sparkman
Chairman of the Senate Committee on Banking and Currency
In office
January 3, 1955 – January 3, 1959
Preceded by Homer Capehart
Succeeded by A. Willis Robertson
Personal details
Born James William Fulbright
(1905-04-09)April 9, 1905
Sumner, Missouri
Died February 9, 1995(1995-02-09) (aged 89)
Washington, D.C.
Nationality American
Political party Democratic
Spouse(s) Elizabeth Williams (1906-1985)
Harriet Mayor Fulbright
Alma mater University of Arkansas
Pembroke College, Oxford
George Washington University
Religion Disciple of Christ

James William Fulbright (April 9, 1905 – February 9, 1995) was a United States Senator representing Arkansas from January 1945 until his resignation in December 1974.

Fulbright was a Southern Democrat and a staunch multilateralist who supported the creation of the United Nations and the longest serving chairman in the history of the Senate Foreign Relations Committee. He was also a segregationist who signed the Southern Manifesto. Fulbright opposed McCarthyism and the House Un-American Activities Committee and later became known for his opposition to American involvement in the Vietnam War. His efforts to establish an international exchange program eventually resulted in the creation of a fellowship program which bears his name, the Fulbright Program.

President Bill Clinton cited him as a mentor.

Early years[edit]

An earlier portrait of Senator Fulbright.

Fulbright was born in Sumner, Missouri, the son of Roberta (née Waugh) and Jay Fulbright.[1] He earned a political science degree from the University of Arkansas in 1925, where he became a member of the Sigma Chi fraternity. He was elected president of the student body and a star four-year player for the Razorback football team from 1921–24.[2][3]

Fulbright later studied at Oxford University, where he was a Rhodes Scholar at Pembroke College, graduating in 1928. He received his law degree from The George Washington University Law School in 1934, was admitted to the bar in Washington, D.C. and became an attorney in the Antitrust Division of the U.S. Department of Justice.

Fulbright was a lecturer in law at the University of Arkansas from 1936 until 1939. He was appointed president of the school in 1939, making him the youngest university president in the country. He held this post until 1941. The School of Arts and Sciences at the University of Arkansas is named in his honor. He was a member of the Founding Council of the Rothermere American Institute, University of Oxford.[4]

Fulbright's sister, Roberta, married Gilbert C. Swanson, the head of the Swanson frozen-foods conglomerate, and was the maternal grandmother of media figure Tucker Carlson.[5]

Congressional career[edit]

House of Representatives[edit]

Fulbright was elected to the United States House of Representatives in 1942, where he served one term. During this period, he became a member of the House Foreign Affairs Committee. The House adopted the Fulbright Resolution which supported international peace-keeping initiatives and encouraged the United States to participate in what became the United Nations in September 1943. This brought Fulbright to national attention.

In 1943 a confidential analysis by Isaiah Berlin of the House and Senate foreign relations committees for the British Foreign Office identified Fulbright as "a distinguished new-comer to the House."[6] It continued:

A young (age 38) wealthy ex-Rhodes scholar, whose major experience so far has been of farming and business. He has already shown versatile competence and ability in business as special attorney in the Anti-Trust Division of the Justice Department and as president of the University of Arkansas. An alert and intelligent member of the committee who recently drew a comparison between the British practice of making grants to her allies and America's World War practice of making loans on fixed financial terms, to show that it was America which had departed from the general international practice in the matter. Fulbright would like to see the United States obtain only non-material benefits from Lend-Lease, namely, political commitments from the countries receiving it, that would enable a system of post-war collective security to be set up. An internationalist.[6]

Senate[edit]

He was elected to the Senate in 1944, unseating incumbent Hattie Carraway, the first woman ever elected to the U.S. Senate. He served five six-year terms. In his first general election to the Senate, Fulbright defeated the Republican Victor Wade of Batesville, 85.1 to 14.9 percent. Benjamin Travis Laney, a more conservative Democrat than Fulbright, won the race for governor of Arkansas in the same election by a similar margin, 86 to 14 percent for Republican Harley C. Stump, the former mayor of Stuttgart.

He promoted the passage of legislation establishing the Fulbright Program in 1946, a program of educational grants (Fulbright Fellowships and Fulbright Scholarships), sponsored by the Bureau of Educational and Cultural Affairs of the United States Department of State, governments in other countries, and the private sector. The program was established to increase mutual understanding between the peoples of the United States and other countries through the exchange of persons, knowledge, and skills.[7] It is considered one of the most prestigious award programs and it operates in 155 countries.

Fulbright became a member of the Senate Foreign Relations Committee in 1949, and served as chairman from 1959 to 1974–he was the longest-serving chair in that committee's history.

He was the only senator to vote against an appropriation for the Permanent Subcommittee on Investigations in 1954, which was chaired by Senator Joseph McCarthy.[8]

In 1956, Fulbright campaigned across the country for the unsuccessful Stevenson-Kefauver ticket. He swamped his Republican challenger that year, Ben C. Henley, the state party chairman and a brother of U.S. District Judge Jesse Smith Henley of Harrison.

Fulbright signed The Southern Manifesto opposing the Supreme Court's historic 1954 Brown v. Board of Education decision. He subsequently joined with his fellow Southern Democrats in filibustering the Civil Rights Act of 1957 and the Civil Rights Act of 1964, as well as voting against the 1965 Voting Rights Act. However, during the Nixon administration Fulbright voted for a civil rights bill and led the charge against confirming Nixon's conservative Supreme Court nominees Clement Haynsworth and Harold Carswell[9]

According to historian and former Special Assistant to President Kennedy Arthur Schlesinger, Jr., Fulbright was Kennedy's first choice as Secretary of State, but it was felt he was too controversial. Rather the "lowest common denominator", Dean Rusk, was chosen.[10]

Senator Fulbright and the Chicken Tax

U.S. intensive chicken farming led to the 1961–1964 "chicken war" with Europe.

With imports of inexpensive chicken from the U.S., chicken prices fell quickly and sharply across Europe, radically affecting European chicken consumption.[11] U.S. chicken overtook nearly half of the imported European chicken market.[11] Coming on the heels of a "crisis in trade relations between the U.S. and the Common Market",[11] Europe moved ahead with tariffs. [12]

Senator Fulbright, as chairman of the Senate Foreign Relations Committee and Democratic Senator from Arkansas—a chief poultry-producing state—interrupted a NATO debate on nuclear armament to protest trade sanctions on U.S. chicken,[13] going so far as to threaten cutting US troops in NATO.

The U.S. subsequently enacted a 25% tariff on imported light trucks, known as the chicken tax—that remains in effect as of 2010.

Fulbright raised serious objections to President John F. Kennedy about the impending Bay of Pigs Invasion in April 1961, and also to President Lyndon B. Johnson on the 1965 Dominican Civil War in Santo Domingo.[14]

On 30 July 1961, two weeks before the erection of the Berlin Wall, Fulbright said in a television interview, "I don't understand why the East Germans don't just close their border, because I think they have the right to close it."[15][16] Fulbright’s statement was reported as a three-column spread on the front page of the East German Communist Party newspaper Neues Deutschland. The West German reception of his statement was extremely negative. A cable from US Embassy Bonn reported that “rarely has a statement by a prominent American official aroused so much consternation, chagrin and anger.” Willy Brandt’s Press Secretary Egon Bahr is quoted as saying: “We privately called him Fulbricht.”[17]

McGeorge Bundy sent the press coverage of Fulbright’s interview to the President with a comment about “the helpful impact of Senator Fulbright’s remarks.” Kennedy subsequently refused to distance himself from Fulbright’s observation, which suggests that he asked Fulbright to make this statement as a way of signaling to Soviet leader Nikita Khrushchev that the building of a wall would be viewed by the United States as an acceptable way of defusing the Berlin Crisis.[18]

The President (John Kennedy) is hobbled in his task of leading the American people to consensus and concerted action by the restrictions of power imposed on him by a constitutional system designed for an 18th century agrarian society far removed from the centers of world power.

He alone, among elected officials can rise above parochialism and private pressures. He alone, in his role as teacher and moral leader, can hope to overcome the excesses and inadequacies of a public opinion that is all too often ignorant of the needs, the dangers, and the opportunities in our foreign relations. It is imperative that we break out of the intellectual confines of cherished and traditional beliefs and open our minds to the possibility that Basic Changes in Our System may be essential to meet the requirements of the 20th century.'' Stanford University, 1961

Testimony to the Senate Foreign Relations Committee in 1963, Fulbright claimed five million tax-deductible dollars from philanthropic Americans was sent to Israel and then recycled back to the U.S. for distribution to organizations seeking to influence public opinion in favor of Israel.[citation needed] This statement led to friction with organized pro-Israeli groups in the U.S.

Perhaps his most notable case of dissent was his public condemnation of foreign and domestic policies, in particular, his concern that right-wing radicalism, as espoused by the John Birch Society and wealthy oil-man H. L. Hunt, had infected the United States military.[citation needed][19] He was, in turn, denounced by Republican Senators J. Strom Thurmond and Barry M. Goldwater.[citation needed] Goldwater and Texas Senator John Tower announced that they were going to Arkansas to campaign against Fulbright,[20] but Arkansas voters reelected him.

Fulbright hired James McDougal as a local staffer. While working for Fulbright, McDougal met President Bill Clinton and the two of them began investing, in what ultimately ended in the Whitewater investigation.[21]

Despite serving in the Senate for 30 years, Fulbright remained Arkansas' junior senator throughout his tenure, serving alongside senior senator John L. McClellan. He is the longest-serving senator in history to never become his state's senior senator.

Vietnam War and U.S. foreign policy[edit]

On August 7, 1964, a unanimous House of Representatives and all but two members of the Senate voted to approve the Gulf of Tonkin Resolution, which led to a dramatic escalation of the Vietnam War. Fulbright, who not only voted for, but sponsored, the resolution, would later write:

Many Senators who accepted the Gulf of Tonkin resolution without question might well not have done so had they foreseen that it would subsequently be interpreted as a sweeping Congressional endorsement for the conduct of a large-scale war in Asia.

As chairman of the Foreign Relations Committee, Fulbright held several series of hearings on the Vietnam War. Many of the earlier hearings, in 1966, were televised to the nation in their entirety (a rarity in the pre–C-SPAN era); the 1971 hearings included the notable testimony of Vietnam veteran and future Senator and Secretary of State John Kerry.

In 1966, Fulbright published The Arrogance of Power, in which he attacked the justification of the Vietnam War, Congress's failure to set limits on it, and the impulses which gave rise to it. Fulbright's scathing critique undermined the elite consensus that U.S. military intervention in Indochina was necessitated by Cold War geopolitics.

In his book, Fulbright offered an analysis of American foreign policy:

Throughout our history two strands have coexisted uneasily; a dominant strand of democratic humanism and a lesser but durable strand of intolerant Puritanism. There has been a tendency through the years for reason and moderation to prevail as long as things are going tolerably well or as long as our problems seem clear and finite and manageable. But... when some event or leader of opinion has aroused the people to a state of high emotion, our puritan spirit has tended to break through, leading us to look at the world through the distorting prism of a harsh and angry moralism.

Fulbright also related his opposition to any American tendencies to intervene in the affairs of other nations:

Power tends to confuse itself with virtue and a great nation is particularly susceptible to the idea that its power is a sign of God's favor, conferring upon it a special responsibility for other nations—to make them richer and happier and wiser, to remake them, that is, in its own shining image. Power confuses itself with virtue and tends also to take itself for omnipotence. Once imbued with the idea of a mission, a great nation easily assumes that it has the means as well as the duty to do God's work.

He was also a strong believer in international law:

Law is the essential foundation of stability and order both within societies and in international relations. As a conservative power, the United States has a vital interest in upholding and expanding the reign of law in international relations. Insofar as international law is observed, it provides us with stability and order and with a means of predicting the behavior of those with whom we have reciprocal legal obligations. When we violate the law ourselves, whatever short-term advantage may be gained, we are obviously encouraging others to violate the law; we thus encourage disorder and instability and thereby do incalculable damage to our own long-term interests.

Final election and legacy[edit]

Fulbright left the Senate in 1974, after being defeated in the Democratic primary by then-Governor Dale Bumpers. As the sections above have documented, his early condemnation of the Vietnamese war, his quarrel with pro-Israel groups in the US, and his anti-interventionist programs, had long made him a target of his party's right wing. Bumpers, supported by pro-Israel funding, won by a landslide.

At the time that he left the Senate, Fulbright had spent his entire 30 years in the Senate as the junior senator from Arkansas, behind John Little McClellan who entered the Senate two years before him. After his retirement, Fulbright practiced international law at the Washington, D.C. office of the law firm Hogan & Hartson from 1975–1993.[22]

On May 5, 1993, President Bill Clinton presented the Presidential Medal of Freedom to Fulbright at the Fulbright Association's forty-eighth birthday tribute.[23]

Fulbright died of a stroke in 1995 at the age of 89 in Washington, D.C. A year later, on the occasion of the 50th anniversary dinner of the Fulbright Program held June 5, 1996 at the White House, President Bill Clinton said, "Hillary and I have looked forward for sometime to celebrating this 50th anniversary of the Fulbright Program, to honor the dream and legacy of a great American, a citizen of the world, a native of my home state and my mentor and friend, Senator Fulbright."[24]

Fulbright's ashes were interred at the Fulbright family plot in Evergreen Cemetery in Fayetteville, Arkansas.

In 1996, The George Washington University renamed a residence hall in his honor. The J. William Fulbright Hall is located 2223 H Street, N.W., at the corner of 23rd and H Streets. The Hall received historic designations as a District of Columbia historic site on January 28, 2010, and was listed on the National Register of Historic Places on June 18, 2010.[25][26] [27]

On October 21, 2002, in a speech at the dedication of the Fulbright Sculpture at the University of Arkansas, Bill Clinton said,

I admired him. I liked him. On the occasions when we disagreed, I loved arguing with him. I never loved getting in an argument with anybody as much in my entire life as I loved fighting with Bill Fulbright. I'm quite sure I always lost, and yet he managed to make me think I might have won.[28]

Fulbright Program[edit]

The Fulbright Program was established in 1946 under legislation introduced by then Senator J. William Fulbright of Arkansas. The Fulbright Program is sponsored by the Bureau of Educational and Cultural Affairs of the United States Department of State.

Approximately 294,000 "Fulbrighters", 111,000 from the United States and 183,000 from other countries, have participated in the Program since its inception over sixty years ago. The Fulbright Program awards approximately 6,000 new grants annually.

Currently, the Fulbright Program operates in over 155 countries worldwide.

The Thank You Fulbright project was created in April 2012 to provide an annual opportunity for alumni and friends of the Fulbright program to celebrate Fulbright's legacy.

Honors[edit]

Works[edit]

  • Fulbright, J. William (1966). The Arrogance of Power. New York: Random House. ISBN 0-8129-9262-8.
  • Fulbright, J. William (1971). The Pentagon Propaganda Machine. New York: Vintage Books.

Fulbright, J, William Prospects for the West Fulbright, J. William Old Myths and New Realities and Other Commentaries Fulbright, J. William The Crippled Giant Fulbright, J. William American Foreign Policy and Its Domistic Consequences Fulbright, J. William The Price of Empire with Seth P. Tillman

Notes[edit]

  1. ^ http://www.encyclopediaofarkansas.net/encyclopedia/entry-detail.aspx?entryID=1653
  2. ^ Apple, R. W., Jr. (February 10, 1995). "J. William Fulbright, Senate Giant, Is Dead at 89". The New York Times. Retrieved May 5, 2010. 
  3. ^ "1964 Arkansas Razorbacks National Championship" (PDF). Retrieved 2012-06-11. 
  4. ^ "Founding Council | The Rothermere American Institute". Rothermere American Institute. Retrieved 2012-11-22. 
  5. ^ David Harris, "Swanson Saga: End of a Dream", The New York Times Magazine, 9 September 1979, page SM111.
  6. ^ a b Hachey, Thomas E. (Winter 1973–1974). "American Profiles on Capitol Hill: A Confidential Study for the British Foreign Office in 1943". Wisconsin Magazine of History 57 (2): 141–153. JSTOR 4634869. 
  7. ^ On Fulbright's goal of promoting peace, and the influence of the Rhodes Scholarships on this, seeDonald Markwell, (2013). "Instincts to Lead": on Leadership, Peace, and Education, Connor Court: Australia.
  8. ^ Woods, Randall. "Bill Fulbright (1905–1995)". The Central Arkansas Library System. Retrieved 17 July 2014. 
  9. ^ "Mark R. Levin on Trent Lott & Moral Outrage on National Review Online". Nationalreview.com. Retrieved 2012-06-11. 
  10. ^ Schlesinger, Arthur M., Jr. (2008). Journals 1952–2000. Penguin Books. p. 98. ISBN 978-0-14-311435-2. Elizabeth Farmer told me this evening that, at five this afternoon, it looked as if it would be Rusk in State, with Bowles and Bundy as Undersecretaries. (Ken, by the way, told me that Jack had called him on the 7th and talked seriously about Mac as Secretary.) I asked why Rusk had finally emerged. Elizabeth said, 'He was the lowest common denominator.' Apparently Harris Wofford succeeded in stirring the Negroes and Jews up so effectively that the uproar killed Fulbright, who was apparently Jack's first choice. 
  11. ^ a b c "Western Europe: Nobody But Their Chickens". Time. November 30, 1962. Retrieved May 5, 2010. 
  12. ^ "Common Market: Ruffled Feathers". Time. August 16, 1963. Retrieved May 5, 2010. 
  13. ^ "Common Market: The Chicken War". Time. June 14, 1963. Retrieved May 5, 2010. 
  14. ^ Friday, Nov. 11, 1966 (1966-11-11). "Verdict on Santo Domingo". Time.com. Retrieved 2012-06-11. 
  15. ^ "DER SPIEGEL 52/1993 - Gerechtigkeit unerreichbar". Spiegel.de. 1993-12-27. Retrieved 2012-06-11. 
  16. ^ Congressional Record — Senate, August 1, 1961, pp. 14222-14224.
  17. ^ Berlin in Early Berlin-Wall Era CIA, State Department, and Army Booklets, T.H.E. Hill (compiler), 2014, pp. xviii, xix, 279, 283.
  18. ^ W. R. Smyser, Kennedy and the Berlin Wall, Rowman & Littlefield Publishers, 2009, p. 90.
  19. ^ abc-clio.com. ABC-CLIO http://www.historyandtheheadlines.abc-clio.com/ContentPages/ContentPage.aspx?entryId=1162164&currentSection=1130228&productid=4 |url= missing title (help). Retrieved 19 July 2014. 
  20. ^ Johnson, Haynes and Gwertzmann, Bernard (1968). Fulbright: The Dissenter. Doubleday.
  21. ^ Labaton, Stephen (9 March 1998). "Clinton Partner In Whitewater Dies in Prison". New York Times. Retrieved 5 October 2014. 
  22. ^ "Univ. of Arkansas, Fayetteville: FULBRIGHT POST-SENATORIAL PAPERS, SERIES 1". Libinfo.uark.edu. 1980-05-22. Retrieved 2012-06-11. 
  23. ^ "Univ. of Arkansas, Fayetteville: FULBRIGHT PROGRAM EXHIBIT". Libinfo.uark.edu. 1993-05-05. Retrieved 2012-06-11. 
  24. ^ "Bill Clinton speech at Fulbright Program". June 5, 1996. Retrieved June 11, 2012. 
  25. ^ "Fulbright Hall - GWUEncyc". Encyclopedia.gwu.edu. Retrieved 2012-06-11. 
  26. ^ "Street Address Index". Planning.dc.gov. Retrieved 2012-06-11. 
  27. ^ "National Register of Historical Places - DISTRICT OF COLUMBIA (DC), District of Columbia County". Nationalregisterofhistoricplaces.com. Retrieved 2012-06-11. 
  28. ^ "Fulbright Sculpture Dedication". October 21, 2002. Retrieved June 11, 2012. 
  29. ^ Association for Asian Studies (AAS)1985 Award for Distinguished Contributions to Asian Studies; retrieved 2011-05-31
  30. ^ "The James W. Dodge Foreign Language Advocate Award". Northeast Conference on the Teaching of Foreign Languages. Retrieved August 28, 2014. 

References[edit]

Further reading[edit]

  • Brown, Eugene (1985). J. William Fulbright: Advice and Dissent. Iowa City: University of Iowa Press. ISBN 0-87745-130-3.
  • Clinton, Bill (2005). My Life. Vintage. ISBN 1-4000-3003-X.
  • Finley, Keith M. (2008). Delaying the Dream: Southern Senators and the Fight Against Civil Rights, 1938–1965. Baton Rouge: LSU Press.
  • Johnson, Haynes and Gwertzmann, Bernard (1968). Fulbright: The Dissenter. Doubleday.
  • Powell, Lee Riley (1996). J. William Fulbright and His Time: A Political Biography. Guild Bindery Press. ISBN 1-55793-060-0.
  • Woods, Randall B. (1995). Fulbright: A Biography. Cambridge University Press. ISBN 0-521-48262-3.

External links[edit]

United States House of Representatives
Preceded by
Clyde T. Ellis
Member of the U.S. House of Representatives
from Arkansas's 3rd congressional district

1943–1945
Succeeded by
James William Trimble
United States Senate
Preceded by
Hattie Caraway
U.S. Senator (Class 3) from Arkansas
1945–1974
Served alongside: John Little McClellan
Succeeded by
Dale Bumpers
Political offices
Preceded by
Theodore F. Green
Chairman of the Senate Committee on Foreign Relations
1959–1974
Succeeded by
John Sparkman