Fred A. Seaton

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Fred Seaton
Seaton as Interior Secretary c. 1960
36th United States Secretary of the Interior
In office
June 8, 1956 – January 20, 1961
PresidentDwight D. Eisenhower
Preceded byDouglas McKay
Succeeded byStewart Udall
4th Assistant Secretary of Defense for Legislative Affairs
In office
September 15, 1953 – February 20, 1955
PresidentDwight D. Eisenhower
Preceded byCharles A. Coolidge
Succeeded byRobert T. Ross
United States Senator
from Nebraska
In office
December 10, 1951 – November 4, 1952
Appointed byVal Peterson
Preceded byKenneth S. Wherry
Succeeded byDwight Griswold
Personal details
Born(1909-12-11)December 11, 1909
Washington, D.C., U.S.
DiedJanuary 16, 1974(1974-01-16) (aged 64)
Minneapolis, Minnesota, U.S.
Political partyRepublican
EducationKansas State University (BA)

Frederick Andrew Seaton (December 11, 1909 – January 16, 1974) was an American newspaperman and politician. He represented the U.S. state of Nebraska in the U.S. Senate and served as U.S. Secretary of the Interior during Dwight D. Eisenhower's administration.

Early life[edit]

Seaton was born in Washington, D.C., on December 11, 1909, the son of Dorothea Elizabeth (née Schmidt) and Fay Noble Seaton. He attended the Manhattan High School in Manhattan, Kansas. He graduated from Kansas State University in 1931, and married Gladys Hope Dowd (November 5, 1910 – January 5, 1999) in the same year. They had four children: Donald Richard, Alfred Noble, Johanna Christine, and Monica Margaret Seaton. In 1937, Seaton moved to Hastings, Nebraska, where he was for many years the publisher of the Hastings Tribune.

Political career[edit]

Secretary Seaton with Solicitor Ted Stevens in 1960

Seaton was active in Republican politics. He served in the unicameral Nebraska Legislature from 1945 to 1949. He was appointed to the U.S. Senate on December 10, 1951, by Gov. Val Peterson to fill the vacancy created by the death of Kenneth S. Wherry. A Rockefeller Republican,[citation needed] Seaton was senator for less than a year; he had to vacate the post on November 4, 1952, when Dwight Griswold won the 1952 special election to complete the Senate term. He was the second of six Senators to serve during the fifteenth Senate term for Nebraska's Class 2 seat, from January 3, 1949, to January 3, 1955.

Seaton served in various White House and subcabinet posts in Eisenhower's administration, including Assistant Secretary of Defense for Legislative Affairs, before he was appointed as the U.S. Secretary of the Interior. He served in that office from June 8, 1956, until January 20, 1961. During his tenure, Alaska and Hawaii became the 49th and 50th states admitted to the Union. He was instrumental in the passing of the Alaska Statehood Act, appointing and recommending pro-Alaska politicians to high positions, such as Ted Stevens to Senior Counsel to the Secretary of Interior (later becoming Solicitor in 1960) and Mike Stepovich to Governor of the Territory of Alaska.

He ran for governor of Nebraska in 1962 but was defeated by the incumbent Democrat, Gov. Frank B. Morrison (Olson, p. 335). Following his defeat, Seaton became a strong advocate for campaign finance reform in Nebraska.

Seaton died in Minneapolis, Minnesota, on January 16, 1974, and is interred in Parkview Cemetery in Hastings, Nebraska.

Further reading[edit]

  • "Seaton, Fred(erick) A(ndrew)" in Current Biography 1956.
  • James C. Olson, History of Nebraska, Second Edition. (Lincoln, NE: University of Nebraska Press, 1966).

External links[edit]

U.S. Senate
Preceded by U.S. senator (Class 2) from Nebraska
December 10, 1951 – November 4, 1952
Served alongside: Hugh A. Butler
Succeeded by
Political offices
Preceded by U.S. Secretary of Interior
Served under: Dwight D. Eisenhower

June 8, 1956 – January 20, 1961
Succeeded by
Party political offices
Preceded by Republican nominee for
Governor of Nebraska

Succeeded by

Public Domain This article incorporates public domain material from the Biographical Directory of the United States Congress