Joseph H. Ball

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Joseph H. Ball
JosephBall.jpg
United States Senator
from Minnesota
In office
October 14, 1940 – November 17, 1942
January 3, 1943 – January 3, 1949
Preceded by Ernest Lundeen
Arthur E. Nelson
Succeeded by Arthur E. Nelson
Hubert Humphrey
Personal details
Born Joseph Hurst Ball
(1905-11-03)November 3, 1905
Crookston, Polk County
Minnesota, USA
Died December 18, 1993(1993-12-18) (aged 88)
Chevy Chase, Maryland
Political party Republican
Alma mater Antioch College
Eau Claire Normal School
University of Minnesota

Joseph Hurst Ball (November 3, 1905 – December 18, 1993) was an American journalist, politician and businessman. Ball served as a Republican senator from Minnesota from 1940 to 1949. He was a conservative in domestic policy and a leading foe of labor unions. He helped draft the Taft-Hartley Act of 1947. Ball was best known for his internationalism and his support for a postwar world organization, that became the United Nations. However, after 1945 he was an opponent of the Marshall Plan..[1]


Pre-Senate career[edit]

Ball was born in Crookston, Minneosta, on November 3, 1905, and graduated from high school in 1922. He financed his education at Antioch College by planting corn on borrowed land and held jobs during his two years there as a telephone linesman, a construction worker, and a factory employee. In 1925, he transferred to Eau Claire Normal, and then to the University of Minnesota, but never earned a degree.[2] In 1927, he got a reporting job at the Minneapolis Journal. When he sold a story to a pulp magazine for $50, he quit to become a free lance writer, and spent a year writing paperback fiction before returning to journalism, this time for the St. Paul Pioneer Press. In 1934, he became the paper's state political reporter, and befriended assistant county attorney Harold Stassen, a fellow Republican. As a columnist in the Pioneer Press, Ball was critical of President Franklin D. Roosevelt and the Democratic-majority in Congress, but he also opposed isolationism in foreign policy. In the meantime, Stassen was elected governor of Minnesota.

United States Senator[edit]

When Senator Ernest Lundeen, an isolationist, was killed in a plane crash, Stassen appointed Ball to fill the remaining two years of Lundeen's term. One of the youngest persons ever to become a U.S. Senator, Ball, at thirty-five, was also the first Senator to be required to register for conscription.[3] After being sworn in on October 14, 1940, Ball stunned isolationist Republicans in his first speech on the Senate floor, calling for the United States to aid Britain as "a barrier between us and whatever designs Hitler and his allies may have on this continent,"[4]

He opposed the liberalism of the New Deal, but he supported Franklin Roosevelt's foreign policy and supported the Lend-Lease program on March 8, 1941, in spite of overwhelmingly negative letters from his constituents. The change in sentiment was best illustrated by the editorial pages of the Fairmont Daily Sentinel, as quoted in an article in The New Republic. When he had first been appointed, the Sentinel ran an editorial with the headline, "Joe Ball for U.S. Senator! Good God!"; upon Ball's re-election, the Sentinel ran another editorial entitled "Joe Ball for U.S. Senator! Thank God!".[5]

Ball was elected to the Senate in the 1942 election, receiving 47% of the vote against Farmer-Labour, Independent and Democratic opposition. Because Ball's 1940 appointment had been set to expire on the day of the next senatorial election rather than the expiration of Lundeen's term, Ball ceased being Senator on the day that he won a six-year term. Ball then took office again, as a freshman senator on January 3, 1943, and served until January 3, 1949. In 1943, he was one of four Senate sponsors of the bill to establish what would become the United Nations.

In the 1944 U.S. presidential election, Ball refused to support Republican nominee Thomas E. Dewey, the governor of New York, and instead crossed party lines to endorse Franklin Roosevelt. Ball denounced Dewey for making his position on foreign policy so unclear that both isolationists and internationalists "could find comfort and support in what he said."[6] Ball's support for Roosevelt, which may have proved critical to victory in Minnesota, won praise from his senatorial colleague Carl Hatch, a New Mexico Democrat, who said that Ball had "placed his country above his party."[7]

In 1948, Ball was soundly defeated for Senate reelection by Mayor Hubert H. Humphrey of Minneapolis, a 37-year-old liberal Democrat and civil rights advocate.

Ball had never stopped writing his column for the Pioneer Press, even during his service in the United States Senate. He therefore returned to the news business and continued to comment on American foreign policy in a newsletter. He worked as an executive in the shipping industry until he retired in 1982, four years after the death of Hubert Humphrey. Ball died in Chevy Chase, Maryland, at the age of 89.[8]

Further reading[edit]

  • Eleonora W. Schoenebaum, ed. Political Profiles: The Truman Years (1978) pp 22-23

External links[edit]

References[edit]

  1. ^ Eleonora W. Schoenebaum, ed. Political Profiles: The Truman Years (1978) pp 22-23
  2. ^ Current Biography 1943, pp20-23
  3. ^ "Young Men, 21-35, Register for Draft Today," The Brainerd Daily Dispatch (Brainerd, Minnesota), October 16, 1940, p1
  4. ^ Current Biography 1943, p. 21
  5. ^ Current Biography 1943, p. 21
  6. ^ David M. Jordan, FDR, Dewey, and the Election of 1944 (Indiana University Press, 2011), p. 276, ISBN 978-0-253-35683-3
  7. ^ David Jordan, p. 276
  8. ^ The Daily Globe (Ironwood, Michigan), December 20, 1993, p. 2
United States Senate
Preceded by
Ernest Lundeen
U.S. Senator (Class 2) from Minnesota
October 14, 1940 – November 17, 1942
Served alongside: Henrik Shipstead
Succeeded by
Arthur E. Nelson
Preceded by
Arthur E. Nelson
U.S. Senator (Class 2) from Minnesota
January 3, 1943 – January 3, 1949
Served alongside: Henrik Shipstead, Edward John Thye
Succeeded by
Hubert Humphrey
Honorary titles
Preceded by
Happy Chandler
Kentucky
Most Senior Living U.S. Senator
(Sitting or Former)

June 15, 1991 – December 18, 1993
Succeeded by
Berkeley Bunker
Nevada
Preceded by
Rush Dew Holt, Sr.
West Virginia
Youngest Member of the United States Senate
October 17, 1940 – December 12, 1940
Succeeded by
Berkeley Bunker
Nevada
Preceded by
Henry Cabot Lodge, Jr.
Massachusetts
Youngest Member of the United States Senate
January 3, 1943 – November 14, 1944
Succeeded by
William E. Jenner
Indiana
Preceded by
William E. Jenner
Indiana
Youngest Member of the United States Senate
January 3, 1945 – January 18, 1945
Succeeded by
Hugh Mitchell
Washington