Senator Thomas J. Walsh of Montana: Law and Public Affairs, from TR to FDR

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University of Illinois Press, 1999 - History - 410 pages
This is the first comprehensive biography of Thomas J. Walsh, the Democratic senator from Montana from 1913 to 1933 who was best known for his role in uncovering the Teapot Dome scandal. J. Leonard Bates places Walsh in his colorful and tumultuous times, illuminating Montana history and politics as well as national movements including Progressivism, internationalism, Prohibition, war, and so-called normalcy.

Walsh fought throughout his long career against corruption and monopoly power. During his early years as a lawyer-politician in Helena, he was often in conflict with the "Copper Kings" and other powerful figures. As a senator, he became an internationalist, working throughout the 1920s for naval disarmament, the World Court, the St. Lawrence Seaway, and the Kellogg-Briand Pact for the "outlawry" of war.

In his most celebrated coup, breaking open the Teapot Dome scandal of 1923-24, Walsh revealed that the secretary of the interior had accepted "loans" from oil men in return for leases of U.S. naval oil reserves. Working through the Public Lands Committee of the Senate, Walsh enjoyed support for his investigation from members of both parties, and the Supreme Court endorsed his interpretation of the scandal in 1927. Shortly before his death, he presided over the Democratic National Convention that nominated Franklin Roosevelt and served for a brief time as a key figure in the new leader's circle.

Drawing on archival sources of unprecedented depth, including personal letters between Walsh and his first wife, Elinor McClements Walsh, Bates's expansive study paints a richly detailed portrait of an influential and principled figure whose political career spanned world war, depression, and the administrations of six presidents.

 

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I find this interesting because he is my mother's father's uncle. She told me she'd been told he was part of the Teapot Dome scandal, no that he'd fought the corruption. Finally, a good relative!

Contents

An IrishAmerican Family i
1
The Young Intellectual
7
On the Dakota Frontier
14
A Helena Lawyer and Democrat
24
Politics Law and the Copper Kings
36
Lawyer Progressive and Public Man
44
The Emergence of a Leader
52
To the Senate at Last
62
The Investigator
212
New Prospects for the Democrats
230
23
237
a Third Term in 1924
240
Abiding the Coolidge Administration
245
Oh for a Jefferson
256
Prohibition and Politics
260
The Continental Trading Company Limited and Senate Revelations of 1928
268

The Tariff Fight of 1913
70
Hopes and Illusions
80
A LawyerSenator at Work
91
The New Freedom and Western Land Policy
101
America and the WarMad Nations of Europe
115
Winning the West with Wilson 191516
128
From Peace to War
146
Reelection in 1918
155
The League of Nations Fight
169
Politics and Issues of the Red Scare
187
Walsh and Wheeler 1922
195
Public Lands Native Americans and Campaigns for Honest Leasing
203
The Campaign of 1928
281
A Gratifying Victory in 1930
290
The Rule of Law at Home and Abroad
301
Chairman of the National Convention Chicago 1932
308
Campaigning for Roosevelt in 1932
317
The New Deal Begins Remarriage and Death
325
Afterword
333
Notes
335
Bibliographical Essay
395
Index
397
Copyright

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About the author (1999)

J. Leonard Bates was professor emeritus of history at the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign and the author of The Origins of Teapot Dome, Tom Walsh in Dakota Territory, and The United States, 1898-1928.

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