Josiah Bailey

From Conservapedia
Jump to: navigation, search
Josiah William Bailey
Josiah W. Bailey.jpg
Former U.S. Senator from North Carolina
From: March 4, 1931 – December 15, 1946
Predecessor Furnifold M. Simmons
Successor William B. Umstead
Party Democratic
Spouse(s) Edith Pou
Religion Baptist

Josiah William Bailey (September 14, 1873 – December 15, 1946) was a Democrat U.S. senator from the state of North Carolina from 1931 to 1946, when he died while in office. He was remembered mostly for his opposition to President Franklin Delano Roosevelt's New Deal as a member of the Conservative Coalition, advocating for fiscally conservative principles. However, he was also a racist like a large portion of his party, having been a segregationist[1] and opposed anti-lynching legislation using demagogic arguments.

Early life and career

Bailey was born in Warrenton, North Carolina to Christopher Thomas and Annie Sarah Bailey, being the third of five children. He was reared in Raleigh, where his father was an editor for the weekly newspaper Biblical Recorder for the state's Baptist convention.

After attending and graduating from Wake Forest University, Bailey worked with his father at the newspaper. Following Christopher Thomas' death, he became the official editor, and remained in the position until 1907. As a commentator, he voiced his support for progressive causes, from government matters to education.

Bailey in August 1916 married Edith Pou, a member of an influential family in the state.

Political career

The North Carolina Constitution Commission was established by Governor Locke Craig in 1913, which Bailey served on. He used co-sponsored a progressive plan to revise the tax system, provide credit facilities for farmers, an elastic judicial system, among several other proposals. It failed to pass the statewide Democrat political machine.

Bailey ran for governor in 1924, losing to fellow Democrat Angus McLean. Despite the defeat, he created a strong coalition of supporters with his advocacy for certain political reforms. Bailey supported Al Smith in the 1928 presidential election as Democrats in North Carolina were divided over him, being highly critical of those who opposed Smith out of anti-Catholicism.

United States Senate

See also: Democrat election fraud

Bailey ran for Senate in 1930, defeating incumbent Democrat senator Furnifold Simmons for the nomination; facing Republican George Pritchard in the general election, he ultimately polled a victory margin of over 100,000 votes.[2] However, Pritchard filed a lawsuit to challenge the "official results" on charges of election fraud; every voter registrar was beholden to the Democratic Party, poll judges barred Republicans from being able to clearly see ballot boxes, absentee ballots were subject to fraud, and ballots were destroyed.

In 1935, Bailey participated in the Southern Democratic filibuster of the Costigan–Wagner Act, an anti-lynching bill introduced by senators Edward P. Costigan of Colorado and Robert F. Wagner of New York.[3] The Act ultimately failed when Democratic maneuvers to adjourn the chamber succeeded, stalling off the bill indefinitely.

Sen. Bailey speaking in March 1940.[4]

Bailey missed a quarter of all roll call votes during his tenure in the Senate.[5]

While personally loyal to Roosevelt, Bailey was known for his opposition to many of the president's left-wing policies in the New Deal from a pro-business standpoint. He opposed the National Industrial Recovery Act, a part of which was later deemed unconstitutional by the U.S. Supreme Court.

Conservative Manifesto

Being a fiscal conservative and supporter of free market economics in opposition to President Roosevelt's expansion of federal government powers, Bailey and Republican senator Arthur H. Vandenberg of Michigan co-authored the Conservative Manifesto, which consisted of the following ten points:[6]

  1. Immediate revision of taxes on capital gains and undistributed profits in order to free investment funds.
  2. Reduced expenditures to achieve a balanced budget, and thus, to still fears deterring business expansion.
  3. An end to coercion and violence in relations between capital and labor.
  4. Opposition to “unnecessary” government competition with private enterprise.
  5. Recognition that private investment and enterprise require a reasonable profit.
  6. Safeguarding the collateral upon which credit rests.
  7. Reduction of taxes, or if this proved impossible at the moment, firm assurance of no further increases.
  8. Maintenance of state rights, home rule, and local self-government, except where proved definitely inadequate.
  9. Economical and non-political relief to unemployed with maximum local responsibility.
  10. Reliance upon the American form of government and the American system of enterprise.

Opposition to court packing scheme

See: Court packing

After President Roosevelt's liberal agenda faced setbacks by the Supreme Court, he proposed a scheme to pack the court by increasing the total number of judges to serve there. Bailey and other conservatives including Roosevelt's own vice president John Nance Garner fiercely denounced the effort, saying: "To weaken [either the Constitution or the Supreme Court] is to weaken the foundations of our Republic. To destroy either is to destroy the Republic."[7]

World War II

During World War II, Bailey worked closely with Roosevelt though differed over economic stabilization policies. He supported anti-strike bills and supported "work or fight" measures to draft American civilians into the war.

Bailey since 1942 was an advocate for the establishment of the United Nations.


Due to illness following the summer of 1945, Bailey became increasingly absent from the Senate. He died at his Raleigh home from cerebral hemorrhage in December 1946 at the age of 73 while in office. He is interred at Oakwood Cemetery.


Do not do nothing while America drifts down the inevitable gulf of collectivization . . . . Give enterprise a chance, and I will give you the guarantees of a happy and prosperous America.[8]

See also


  1. A History of Racial Segregation in the United States. Brewminate. Retrieved February 16, 2021.
  2. The Election Case of George M. Pritchard v. Josiah W. Bailey of North Carolina (1933). Retrieved February 16, 2021.
  3. Greenbaum, Fred (1967). "The Anti-Lynching Bill of 1935: The Irony of "Equal Justice—Under Law"," p. 79–82. Internet Archive. Retrieved December 3, 2022.
  4. Senator Josiah W. Bailey, Democrat of N.C., 3-15-40. Library of Congress. Retrieved February 16, 2021.
  5. Sen. Josiah Bailey. Retrieved February 16, 2021.
  6. The Conservative Manifesto. North Carolina History Project. Retrieved February 16, 2021.
  7. Zelizer, Julian E. (October 15, 2018). Packing the Supreme Court Is a Terrible Idea. The New York Times. Retrieved February 16, 2021.
  8. Kickler, Troy (December 13, 2006). Taking on FDR: Senator Josiah Bailey and the 1937 Conservative Manifesto. Retrieved February 16, 2021.

External links

  • Biography at NCPedia
  • Biography at North Carolina History Project
  • Profile at the Biographical Directory of the United States Congress