Allard K. Lowenstein
|Allard K. Lowenstein|
|Member of the U.S. House of Representatives
from New York's 5th district
January 3, 1969 – January 3, 1971
|Preceded by||Herbert Tenzer|
|Succeeded by||Norman F. Lent|
|Born||Allard Kenneth Lowenstein
January 16, 1929
Newark, New Jersey
|Died||March 14, 1980
New York City
|Children||Frank, Thomas, Katherine|
Allard Kenneth Lowenstein (January 16, 1929 – March 14, 1980) was an American Democratic politician, including a U.S. Representative of the 5th Congressional District in Nassau County, New York for one term in 1969 to 1971. His work on civil rights and the antiwar movement has been cited as an inspiration by public figures including U.S. Secretary of State John Kerry; former U.S. Senators Bill Bradley, Gary Hart and Donald W. Riegle, Jr.; former U.S. Representative Barney Frank, California gubernatorial candidate Phil Angelides, columnist William F. Buckley, Jr., actor Warren Beatty, former White House Counsel Gregory Craig, former New York City Public Advocate Mark Green, and musician-songwriters Peter Yarrow and Harry Chapin.
- 1 Early life and start of career
- 2 Political activism
- 2.1 Early public service
- 2.2 South Africa and national politics
- 2.3 "Dump Johnson" movement and 1968 presidential race
- 2.4 Election to Congress
- 2.5 ADA leadership, "Dump Nixon" movement and Nixon Enemies List
- 2.6 Campaigns for Congress
- 2.7 Robert F. Kennedy assassination
- 2.8 United Nations appointment and final campaign for Congress
- 3 Associations with conservatives
- 4 Family
- 5 Death
- 6 Honors and memorials
- 7 See also
- 8 Notes
- 9 References
- 10 External links
Early life and start of career
Lowenstein was a graduate of Horace Mann School in New York City and of the University of North Carolina. As an undergraduate, he was president of the National Student Association and the Dialectic Society. Lowenstein received a J.D. from Yale Law School in 1954.
Early public service
In 1949 Lowenstein worked as a special assistant on the staff of Senator Frank Porter Graham and he was a foreign policy assistant on Senator Hubert H. Humphrey's staff in 1959. In the 1960s Lowenstein spent time in Mississippi as part of the Freedom Summer and an interview of Lowenstein was featured in episode 5 of the civil rights documentary Eyes on the Prize.
South Africa and national politics
In 1959, Lowenstein made a clandestine tour of South-West Africa, now Namibia. While he was there, he collected testimony against the South African-controlled government (South-West Africa was a United Nations Trust Territory). After his return, he spent a year promoting his findings to various student organizations and then wrote a book, A Brutal Mandate, with an introduction by Eleanor Roosevelt, with whom he had worked in 1957 at the American Association for the United Nations.
"Dump Johnson" movement and 1968 presidential race
Along with Curtis Gans in 1967, and later that fall joined by Wisconsin's Midge Miller, Lowenstein started the "Dump Johnson" movement, approaching Senators Robert F. Kennedy and, at Kennedy's suggestion, George McGovern about challenging President Johnson in the 1968 Democratic primaries. When Kennedy and McGovern both declined, Lowenstein, a delegate to the Democratic National Convention, recruited and worked for Eugene McCarthy, whose candidacy he remained loyal to even after Kennedy's late entry into the race (before Johnson bowed out). Johnson's withdrawal from the presidential nomination process has been attributed to the impact of the "Dump Johnson" movement, culminating in the historical precedent of McCarthy's strong showing against Johnson in the New Hampshire primary.
Election to Congress
Lowenstein was elected to Congress in Long Island, New York, in 1968 but was defeated in a modified district in 1970 by New York State Senator Norman F. Lent by 9,300 votes, effectively gerrymandered out of office by the Republican-controlled state legislature, which determined the district's boundaries. Long Island's generally liberal Five Towns region had been removed from the district, and the far more conservative Massapequa added. Lowenstein captured 46% of the vote in the new district.
ADA leadership, "Dump Nixon" movement and Nixon Enemies List
The 1970 election was viewed nationwide as a referendum on President Richard Nixon's conduct of the Vietnam War. In 1971, Lowenstein became head of the Americans for Democratic Action and spearheaded the "Dump Nixon" movement, earning himself the number 7 spot on Nixon's Enemies List.
Campaigns for Congress
In 1972, Lowenstein ran unsuccessfully for Congress in Brooklyn against Congressman John J. Rooney, a conservative Democrat supported by the party "machine," in the Democratic primary. After Rooney's victory was challenged and the election recalled due to allegations of fraud, Rooney narrowly won the rescheduled primary, but Lowenstein continued in the race on the Liberal Party line, finishing with 28% of the vote.
After an abortive 1974 U.S. Senate bid, Lowenstein unsuccessfully challenged incumbent Republican Congressman John Wydler in a largely Republican district in Long Island in 1974 and 1976, receiving crucial support and endorsements from some local conservative Republicans as well as conservative William F. Buckley, Jr. His 52% to 48% defeat in 1974 was the strongest showing of any Democrat in that Congressional district to date, largely attributed to Nixon's recent resignation, the Watergate scandal and Lowenstein's national reputation.
Robert F. Kennedy assassination
Lowenstein was one of the most vocal critics of the unwillingness of Los Angeles and federal authorities to reopen the investigation into the June 6, 1968, assassination of Senator Robert F. Kennedy. Lowenstein's one-hour appearance on the PBS television show Firing Line in 1975, where he was interviewed by William F. Buckley Jr., was one of the first times the American public were shown that many elements of ballistic and forensic evidence were radically at odds with eyewitness testimony and the assumption that Sirhan Sirhan alone had shot Senator Kennedy.
United Nations appointment and final campaign for Congress
President Carter appointed Lowenstein as United States Representative to the United Nations Commission on Human Rights and thus head the United States delegation to the thirty-third regular annual session of the United Nations Commission on Human Rights in Geneva, Switzerland, in 1977. Lowenstein served with the rank of ambassador from August 1977 to June 1978 in the capacity of alternate United States Representative for Special Political Affairs to the United Nations.
In 1978 he resigned his U.N. post to run for Congress in New York City, narrowly losing the Democratic primary.
Associations with conservatives
Lowenstein became close friends with conservative commentator William F. Buckley, Jr. Buckley featured Lowenstein on numerous Firing Line programs, publicly endorsed his candidacies for U.S. Congress, and delivered a eulogy at his funeral.
Lowenstein reportedly was Republican Donald Rumsfeld's "best friend in Congress" during Lowenstein's term of office, the two having become good friends while serving as Congressional aides in the late 1950s. Despite their party and ideological differences, Rumsfeld joined Lowenstein on the victory platform upon Lowenstein's election to Congress in 1968. In 1970, Rumsfeld publicly defended Lowenstein against his Republican opponent's attacks, only to recant and endorse the opponent, Norman Lent, under pressure from the Nassau County (Long Island) Republican organization and Nixon White House. Rumsfeld's public reversal contributed to Lowenstein's reelection defeat and the end of their friendship.
Lowenstein's subsequent campaigns for Congress from Long Island against Republican incumbent John Wydler in a largely Republican district were significantly aided by active, public support from several local conservative Republicans.
Lowenstein was married to Jennifer Lowenstein (née Lyman, now Littlefield) from 1966 to 1977 and the two had three children: Frank Graham, Thomas Kennedy, and Katharine Eleanor. Their children ultimately pursued careers in public service. He is directly related to Samuel Allard Frey.
Lowenstein was murdered in his Manhattan office on March 14, 1980, at age 51 by a mentally ill gunman, Dennis Sweeney.
Lowenstein was well known for his ability to attract energetic young volunteers for his political causes. In the early 1960s, he briefly served as dean of Stern Hall, then a men's dormitory at Stanford University, during which time he met and befriended undergraduate students David Harris and Sweeney. Over a decade later, in 1980, Lowenstein was shot in New York City by Sweeney, now mentally ill and convinced that Lowenstein was plotting against him. Sweeney then calmly waited for the police to arrive and arrest him. Lowenstein, Sweeney, and the shooting are discussed in Harris's autobiographical book Dreams Die Hard as well as in Richard Cummings's biography of Lowenstein, The Pied Piper.
Sweeney was eventually found not guilty by reason of insanity and committed to full-time psychiatric treatment for schizophrenia. By 1992, Sweeney was on 16-hour-a-day furloughs. Members of the Lowenstein family, who had opposed prosecutorial plans to seek a sentence of death for Sweeney, expressed grave concern about the supervision Sweeney would receive and anger that a murderer was being given such privileges.
On June 30, 2000, a judge found that Sweeney was no longer a danger to society and granted him a conditional release from all levels of custody.
Two of Lowenstein's children (Thomas and Kate) went to work in the death penalty abolition movement. Kate Lowenstein served as the Executive Director of "Murder Victims Families for Reconciliation".
Honors and memorials
Hofstra University established the Allard K. Lowenstein Civil Rights Scholarship in 2007.
Yale Law School also has several programs named in honor of Lowenstein. The Allard K. Lowenstein International Human Rights Project was founded in 1981 shortly after Lowenstein's death to honor his contributions in the field of human rights and provide law students with a vehicle to continue his work. The Lowenstein Human Rights Clinic, an outgrowth of the Project, is a clinical course in which law students participate in legal and advocacy research and writing projects for academic credit.
Lowenstein's papers are held as a special collection of the Long Beach (New York) Public Library and offer much material relative to his activities and his times. The Long Beach, New York Public Library is also named after Lowenstein (since the 1980s).
An area adjacent to the United Nations headquarters in New York City is named Allard K. Lowenstein Square.
In 1983, the documentary film Citizen: The Political Life of Allard K. Lowenstein was produced by Brogan De Paor, Mike Farrell and Julie Thompson and directed by Thompson. It was broadcast on PBS Television in 1984.
- Lowenstein's gravestone, Arlington National Cemetery; photo online on the cemetery's official website. Accessed online 28 October 2006.
- Biography of Allard K. Lowenstein, Allard K. Lowenstein International Human Rights Law Clinic, Yale University. Accessed online 28 October 2006.
- William Chafe, author of Never Stop Running: Allard Lowenstein and the Struggle to Save American Liberalism, interviewed January 30, 1994 on C-SPAN's Booknotes. Transcript online accessed online 30 December 2011.
- "Allard Lowenstein on Firing Line: A Retrospective", summary on the site of the Hoover Institution Archives: Firing Line Television Program, Stanford University, accessed 28 October 2006.
- Warren Beatty Speech Upon Being Honored by Southern California Americans for Democratic Action at the Eleanor Roosevelt Annual Awards Dinner, Beverly Hilton Hotel, September 29, 1999. Accessed 28 October 2006.
- "Crisis Quarterback: Gregory Craig Is Calling the Plays On Clinton's Team",
- Re: song title, posting on Harry Chapin Archive forum. Accessed online 28 October 2006.
- American Students Organize: Founding the National Student Association After World War II, by Eugene G. Schwartz, 2006, page 285
- Official Congressional Biography, Allard Kenneth Lowenstein, published by Office of the Clerk, U.S. House of Representatives, accessed March 26, 2011
- Allard Lowenstein: Silhouette, by Sanford J. Ungar, The Harvard Crimson, January 17, 1964,
- Biography, Allard K. Lowenstein, Yale Law School web site, accessed March 26, 2011
- Biography, Allard K. Lowenstein, Yale Law School web site, accessed January 1, 2014
- Geoffrey Kabaservice, Rule and Ruin: The Downfall of Moderation and the Destruction of the Republican Party, from Eisenhower to the Tea Party, Oxford University Press, 2012, p. 322
- Lowenstein: The Making of a Liberal 1968: Catalyst for McCarthy, by Robert M. Krim, The Harvard Crimson, January 8, 1968
- Magazine article, Coalition Against the Humphrey Steamroller, by William A. McWhirter, LIFE Magazine, July 12, 1968
- "LOWENSTEIN, Allard Kenneth - Biographical Information". Bioguide.congress.gov. Retrieved 2010-11-20.
- Firing Line, "Allard Lowenstein: A Retrospective", Episode #415, May 18, 1980
- Buckley, Jr., William F., On The Firing Line: The Public Life of Our Public Figures, 1988, pp. 423–34.
- Firing Line, "Allard Lowenstein: A Retrospective", Episode #415, May 18, 1980
- Buckley, Jr., William F., On The Firing Line: The Public Life of Our Public Figures, 1988, pp. 423,433-434.
- Blaine Harden and Nina Bernstein, Legally Insane/A special report; Voices in His Head Muted, A Killer Rejoins the World, New York Times (July 31, 2000). Retrieved July 21, 2015.
- [dead link]
- IMBd, Citizen: The Political Life of Allard K. Lowenstein (1983)
- Activist Video Archive, The Filmmakers: Julie M. Thompson
- Chafe, William H. (1998). Never Stop Running: Allard Lowenstein and the Struggle to Save American Liberalism. Princeton University Press. ISBN 0-691-05973-X. Retrieved April 19, 2009.
- Cummings, Richard (1985). The Pied Piper: Allard K. Lowenstein and the Liberal Dream. InPrint.Com. ISBN 0-9673514-1-3. Retrieved April 19, 2009.
- Harris, David (1993) . Dreams Die Hard: Three Men's Journey Through the Sixties (2nd, revised ed.). Mercury House. ISBN 1-56279-034-X. Retrieved April 19, 2009.
- Olson, James Stuart (1999). Historical dictionary of the 1960s. Greenwood Publishing Group. pp. 281–282. ISBN 0-313-29271-X. Retrieved April 19, 2009.
- Stone, Gregory; Lowenstein, Douglas (1983). Lowenstein: Acts of Courage and Belief. Harcourt Brace Jovanovich. ISBN 0-15-154742-4. Retrieved April 19, 2009.
- Booknotes interview with William Chafe on Never Stop Running: Allard Lowenstein and the Struggle to Save American Liberalism, January 30, 1994.
|United States House of Representatives|
|Member of the U.S. House of Representatives
from New York's 5th congressional district
Norman F. Lent