Tom Connally

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Not to be confused with John Connally.
Tom Connally
United States Senator
from Texas
In office
March 4, 1929 – January 3, 1953
Preceded by Earle B. Mayfield
Succeeded by Price Daniel
Member of the U.S. House of Representatives
from Texas's 11th district
In office
March 4, 1917 – March 3, 1929
Preceded by Robert L. Henry
Succeeded by Oliver H. Cross
Personal details
Born Thomas Terry Connally
(1877-08-19)August 19, 1877
Eddy, Falls County
Texas, USA
Died October 28, 1963(1963-10-28) (aged 86)
Washington, D.C.
Political party Democratic

(1) Louise Clarkson Connally (died 1935)

(2) Lucile Sanderson Sheppard Connally
Alma mater Baylor University

Thomas Terry "Tom" Connally (August 19, 1877 – October 28, 1963) was an American politician, who represented Texas in both the U.S. Senate and the House of Representatives, as a member of the Democratic Party. He served in the U.S. House of Representatives from 1917–1929, and in the U.S. Senate from 1929–1953.

Early life and education[edit]

Connally studied at Baylor University and earned his A.B. in 1896.[1][2] He later attended the University of Texas School of Law, earning his LL.B. in 1898.[1][2] While there, Connally was a close friend of future Governor of Texas Pat Neff and future United States Senator Morris Sheppard.[3] After earning his law degree, he enlisted in the 2nd Texas Volunteer Infantry to fight in the Spanish–American War.[2] After the end of the war, he established a law firm in Marlin, Texas, where he worked until his entry into politics.[2]

Political career[edit]

Connally (next to Roosevelt) holding a watch to fix the exact time of the declaration of war against Germany (3:05 PM E.S.T. on 11 December 1941)

Connally ran unopposed and was elected to the Texas House of Representatives in 1900 and 1902.[4] During his tenure in the Texas House he was a prominent opponent of monopolies and co-authored the Texas Anti-Trust Law of 1903.[2] After 1904, he left state politics to pursue his legal career, and served as the prosecuting attorney for Falls County from 1906 to 1910.[4] In 1916, he made his first foray into national politics by running for the vacant House seat for the 11th Congressional District of Texas.[4][2] After resigning his office to fight in World War I, Connally returned to the House where he served on the House Committee on Foreign Affairs and worked against isolationist policies.[2]

In 1928 Connally was elected to the U.S. Senate.[2] During his time in the Senate he supported Roosevelt's New Deal legislation through the passage of the Connally Hot Oil Act of 1935, which attempted to circumvent the Supreme Court of the United States' rejection of a key part of New Deal legislation.

During most of his tenure in the Senate Connally was a member of the Senate Foreign Relations Committee, and served as chairman from 1941-1947, and 1949–1953.[2][5] As Chairman of the Senate Foreign Relations Committee, he was instrumental in the ratification of the treaty creating the North Atlantic Treaty Organization.[4]

He was also a member and vice-chairman of the United Nations Conference on International Organization in 1945 that chartered the United Nations.[2] He authored the noted "Connally Amendment," which amended the U.S. ratification of the U.N. charter to bar the International Court of Justice from having jurisdiction over domestic matters '"as determined by the United States"'.[6]

On October 20, 1951, when General Mark Wayne Clark was nominated by President Harry Truman to be the U.S. emissary to the Holy See, Connally protested against the decision along with other Protestant groups on First Amendment grounds, and Clark later withdrew his nomination on January 13, 1952.[7]

In 1953, Connally retired from the Senate, ending his career in national politics.[2]

Role as chairman of the Foreign Relations Committee[edit]

In 1943 a confidential analysis by British scholar Isaiah Berlin of the Senate Foreign Relations Committee for the British government characterized Senator Connally:

The chairman of the Committee, Tom Connally of Texas, is a very typical, exuberant Southern figure with the appearance and mannerisms of an old-fashioned actor and a gay and hearty manner which conceals lack both of strength and of clear public principles. He is normally the spokesman of the Administration and, in particular, of the Department of State. His voting record is that of a straight interventionist. His principal point of deviation from [Secretary of State] Hull's policies is the subject to which Mr. Hull has dedicated a large portion of his life, namely, the policy of reciprocal trade. Representing as he does, a great cattle breeding State, his enthusiasm for free trade with, e.g., the Argentine, is not ardent. He has been a solid supporter of the department's policies toward, e.g., France and North Africa. His support of its economic policies is regarded as doubtful. On internal issues he shares all the beliefs and prejudices of the South. [8]

Personal life[edit]

Connally's first wife was Cincinnati Conservatory-trained vocalist Louise Clarkson of Marlin, Texas, who died in her husband's Senate office of a sudden heart attack in 1935.[2] The couple had one son, Houston attorney Ben Clarkson Connally, a U.S. district judge.[2] Connally later married Lucile Sanderson Sheppard, the widow of his former Senate colleague, Morris Sheppard of Texarkana, Texas.[9][10]


Connally was the step-grandfather of Lucile's grandson, Connie Mack, III, a Republican U.S. Senator from Florida (1989–2001), and the step-great-grandfather of Mack's son, Connie Mack, IV, former U.S. Representative from Florida.

Tom Connally has been described as a cousin of Texas Governor John B. Connally, Jr., but John Connally stated in his autobiography that they were not related.


Tom Connally died of pneumonia on October 28, 1963. He is buried in Calvary Cemetery in Marlin, Texas, next to his first wife.


  1. ^ a b
  2. ^ a b c d e f g h i j k l m Thomas Terry Connally Papers Accession #123, The Texas Collection, Baylor University
  3. ^ Blodgett, Dorothy, Terrell Blodgett, and David L. Scott (2007). The Land, the Law, and the Lord: The Life of Pat Neff. Home Place Publishers Publishing. p. 19. ISBN 978-0-9761152-2-9. 
  4. ^ a b c d Green, George. "Connally, Thomas Terry". Handbook of Texas. Texas State Historical Association. Retrieved 5 February 2015. 
  5. ^ "Committee History & Rules". U.S. Senate Committee on Foreign Relations. Retrieved 6 February 2015. 
  6. ^ Larson, Arthur (January 1961). "The Facts, the Law, and the Connally Amendment". Duke Law Journal: 74–119. 
  7. ^ O'Brian, William (January 1959). "General Clark's Nomination as Ambassador to the Vatican: American Reaction". The Catholic Historical Review 44 (4): 421–439. Retrieved 17 February 2015. 
  8. ^ Hachey, Thomas E. (Winter 1973–1974). "American Profiles on Capitol Hill: A Confidential Study for the British Foreign Office in 1943" (PDF). Wisconsin Magazine of History 57 (2): 141–153. JSTOR 4634869. 
  9. ^
  10. ^ Green, George. "Connally, Thomas Terry". The Handbook of Texas. Texas State Historical Association. 
Texas House of Representatives
Preceded by
Sam Little
Member of the Texas House of Representatives
from District 72 (Marlin)

Succeeded by
John W. Stollenwerck, Sr.
Samuel R. Boyd
Preceded by
Abram Cole
Member of the Texas House of Representatives
from District 69 (Marlin)

along with: J. S. Ainsworth(1)
Succeeded by
Austin Milton Kennedy
W. C. O'Bryan
United States House of Representatives
Preceded by
Robert L. Henry
Member of the U.S. House of Representatives
from Texas's 11th congressional district

Succeeded by
Oliver H. Cross
United States Senate
Preceded by
Earle Bradford Mayfield
U.S. Senator (Class 1) from Texas
Served alongside: Morris Sheppard, Andrew Jackson Houston, W. Lee O'Daniel, Lyndon B. Johnson
Succeeded by
Price Daniel
Political offices
Preceded by
Walter F. George
Chair of the United States Senate Committee on Foreign Relations
Succeeded by
Arthur H. Vandenberg
Preceded by
Arthur H. Vandenberg
Chair of the United States Senate Committee on Foreign Relations
Succeeded by
Alexander Wiley
Notes and references
1. For the 27th Legislature, District 69 was a multi-member district.