Orville H. Platt

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Orville H. Platt
Orville Hitchcock Platt.jpg
United States Senator
from Connecticut
In office
March 4, 1879 – April 21, 1905
Preceded by William H. Barnum
Succeeded by Frank B. Brandegee
Personal details
Born Orville Hitchcock Platt
(1827-07-19)July 19, 1827
Washington, Connecticut
Died April 21, 1905(1905-04-21) (aged 77)
Meriden, Connecticut
Nationality American
Political party Republican

Orville Hitchcock Platt (July 19, 1827 – April 21, 1905) was a United States Senator from Connecticut.

Life and career[edit]

Born in Washington, Connecticut, he attended the common schools and graduated from The Gunnery in Washington. He studied law in Litchfield, and was admitted to the bar in 1850, commencing practice in Towanda, Pennsylvania. He moved to Meriden, Connecticut in 1850 and continued to practice law. He was clerk of the Connecticut Senate in 1855 and 1856, Secretary of the State of Connecticut in 1857, and a member of the State senate in 1861 and 1862. He was a member of the Connecticut House of Representatives in 1864 and 1869, and served as speaker in the latter year. The former Platt National Park in Oklahoma (since 1976 part of the Chickasaw National Recreational Area) was named for him.

Platt was state's attorney for New Haven County, 1877 to 1879, and was elected as a Republican to the U.S. Senate in 1879. He was reelected in 1885, 1891, 1897 and 1903, and served from March 4, 1879, until his death. While in the Senate, he was chairman of the Committee on Patents (Forty-seventh through Forty-ninth and Fifty-fourth and Fifty-fifth Congresses) and a member of the Committees on Pensions (Forty-seventh Congress), Territories (Fiftieth through Fifty-second Congresses), Cuban Relations (Fifty-sixth through Fifty-eighth Congresses), and the Judiciary (Fifty-eighth and Fifty-ninth Congresses). Platt's influence in the Senate swelled to the point that, eventually, he was known as a member of the "Senate Four," along with John Spooner, William Allison, and Nelson Aldrich.[1][2] Because of his votes against the Sherman Anti-trust Law, the Eight-Hour Labor Act, and the Anti-Injunction Bill, Platt was denounced by the labor organizations and was considered a reactionary.[3] He was an earnest advocate of the abolition of secret executive sessions of the Senate.[4]

On March 1, 1901, the U.S. House of Representatives passed the Army Appropriation bill with the Platt Amendment as a rider which governed U.S. relations with Cuba from 1901 to 1934, and was named for Sen. Platt.

Platt National Park[edit]

In 1902, Platt introduced legislation to establish the 640-acre Sulphur Springs Reservation, protecting about 30 mineral springs, in Murray County, Oklahoma (then part of Indian Territory). On June 29, 1906, Congress redesignated the reservation as Platt National Park, named for the senator. It remained the smallest national park in the United States until it was abolished by Congress and made part of the much larger Chickasaw National Recreation Area in 1976.[5]

Yale gave him the degree of LL.D. in 1887.[4] Platt died on April 21, 1905, aged 77, in Meriden, and was interred in Washington, Connecticut in the Cemetery on the Green. One of the two Public High Schools in Meriden was named for Platt.

Notes[edit]

References[edit]

  • L. A. Coolidge, An Old-Fashioned Senator: Orville H. Platt (New York, 1910)
United States Senate
Preceded by
William H. Barnum
U.S. Senator (Class 3) from Connecticut
1879–1905
Served alongside: William W. Eaton, Joseph R. Hawley, Morgan G. Bulkeley
Succeeded by
Frank B. Brandegee
Political offices
Preceded by
George F. Hoar
Chairman of the Senate Judiciary Committee
1904–1905
Succeeded by
Clarence D. Clark