James Albertus Tawney

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James Albertus Tawney
James Albertus Tawney.jpg
Member of the U.S. House of Representatives
from Minnesota's 1st district
In office
March 4, 1893 – March 3, 1911
Preceded byWilliam H. Harries
Succeeded bySydney Anderson
House Majority Whip
In office
March 4, 1899 – March 3, 1905
Preceded byPosition established
Succeeded byJames E. Watson
Member of the Minnesota Senate
In office
Personal details
James Albertus Tawney

January 3, 1855
Mount Pleasant Township, Pennsylvania, U.S.
DiedJune 12, 1919 (aged 64)
Excelsior Springs, Missouri
Political partyRepublican
Spouse(s)Emma B. Newall
Alma materUniversity of Wisconsin–Madison

James Albertus Tawney (January 3, 1855 – June 12, 1919) was an American blacksmith, machinist and U.S. politician and a member of the United States House of Representatives from Minnesota. He was the first House Majority Whip, holding that position from 1899 to 1905.

Early life[edit]

Tawney was born in Mount Pleasant Township, near Gettysburg, Adams County, Pennsylvania. He apprenticed with his father as a blacksmith, and subsequently learned the trade of machinist. In 1877, he moved to Winona, Minnesota, where he was employed as a blacksmith and machinist until 1881. He attended the law department of the University of Wisconsin–Madison, and was admitted to the bar in 1882 and commenced practice in Winona.

Political career[edit]

Tawney was elected to the Minnesota Senate in 1890. In 1892, he was elected to Congress as a Republican, and served in the 53rd, 54th, 55th, 56th, 57th, 58th, 59th, 60th, and 61st congresses. During his time in Congress, Tawney served as Majority Whip and as chairman of the House Committee on Appropriations.

In 1910 he was defeated incumbent in the Republican primary election by 30-year-old Sydney Anderson, who had the support of Theodore Roosevelt, Gifford Pinchot and other Progressive Republicans. Anderson ran on a platform of drastically reduced tariffs and opposition to Cannonism (with which Tawney was identified).

After Congress[edit]

Tawney was a member of the International Joint Commission (created to prevent disputes regarding the use of Boundary Waters between the United States and Canada) from 1911 until his death, serving as chairman of the United States section from September 17, 1911, to December 1, 1914.

Tawney died at Excelsior Springs, Clay County, Missouri.


  • United States Congress. "James Albertus Tawney (id: T000060)". Biographical Directory of the United States Congress.
U.S. House of Representatives
Preceded by
William H. Harries
Member of the U.S. House of Representatives
from Minnesota's 1st congressional district

Succeeded by
Sydney Anderson
Party political offices
Preceded by
No predecessor
House Majority Whip
c. 1899–1905
Succeeded by
James Eli Watson (R-IN)