Millard E. Tydings

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Millard Evelyn Tydings
Tydings portrait.jpg
Former U.S. Senator from Maryland
From: March 4, 1927 – January 3, 1951
Predecessor Ovington Weller
Successor John Marshall Butler
Former U.S. Representative from Maryland's 2nd Congressional District
From: March 4, 1923 – March 3, 1927
Predecessor Albert Blakeney
Successor William Purington Cole, Jr.
Former State Senator from Maryland
From: 1922–1923
Predecessor ???
Successor ???
Former Speaker of the Maryland
House of Delegates

From: January 1920 – September 1920
Predecessor Herbert R. Wooden
Successor John L. G. Lee
Former State Representative
from Maryland

From: ??? – ???
Predecessor ???
Successor ???
Party Democrat
Spouse(s) Eleanor Tydings Ditzen
Religion Episcopalian[1]
Military Service
Allegiance United States
Service/branch United States Army
Service Years 1917–1919
Rank Lieutenant Colonel
Battles/wars World War I

Millard Evelyn Tydings (April 6, 1890 – February 9, 1961) was a Democrat from Maryland who served as the state's U.S. senator from the 1920s to the 1950s. Tydings previously was a U.S. representative, and was a member of the state legislature prior to that. The head of the Tydings Committee, he was an ardent opponent of Wisconsin Republican Joseph McCarthy, who exposed communist infiltration of the State Department and the United States Army.

He was the stepfather of progressive Joseph Tydings.[2]

Political career

U.S. Senate

Tydings was elected to the United States Senate in 1926[3] and re-elected in 1932 by a landslide.[4]

While having backed some New Deal programs,[5] Tydings was a bitter opponent of Franklin D. Roosevelt. He dubbed the Roosevelt Administration as being a dictatorship and personally held a strong distaste for the president.[6] Along with Republicans and several conservative Democrats, Tydings helped write the Conservative Manifesto,[7] which was drafted in response to Roosevelt's liberal policies. He also helped defeat the 1937 court packing scheme.[8]

In July 1935, Tydings accused Secretary of the Interior Harold L. Ickes of lying, asserting:[9]

Tydings in 1939.
I make this statement to you, sir, that we do not need the executive branch of this government, through your department, to tell the United States Senate — The legislative branch elected by the people how to conduct its affairs, and If you will just run your department as it should be run and let us run our department as we think it should be run, it will conduce to orderly business.

In 1938, Tydings was among the Democrats who Roosevelt sought to purge and replace with adamant New Dealers.[6] He faced a 1938 primary challenge by the liberal David J. Lewis, who the president backed.[10][11] However, Tydings emerged victorious in the Democrat primary by a significant margin[12] and proceeded to win the general election.[13]

Tydings voted in 1950 to undermine President Harry S. Truman's army desegregation, though supported cloture for Robert A. Taft's "voluntary FEPC" legislation against a Southern filibuster.[14]

He missed a quarter of all roll call votes throughout his congressional career.[15]

Tydings Committee

When he chaired the Subcommittee on the Investigation of Loyalty of State Department Employees, it was known as the Tydings Committee. Although tasked with investigating and identifying subversion in the U.S. government, the committee instead cleared everyone on a list complied by Joseph McCarthy who allegedly colluded with communists.[16]

Despite historical revisionism by liberals who treat Tydings as an innocent victim of McCarthyism, it was the Maryland Democrat who engaged in deceptive smears against the McCarthy; the latter sought to present his information in a closed session only for Tydings to insist on open sessions; during the first hearing, Tydings then falsely told McCarthy that the information could be presented in an executive session, which the subcommittee refused; McCarthy then announced his intent to proceed with the open session.[16] This situation was exploited to perpetrate the narrative that the public hearings were insisted upon by McCarthy despite the fact that it was Tydings who prevented closed hearings.

Tydings (left) and McCarthy (right).

Tydings was subsequently accused by Indiana conservative Republican William E. Jenner, an ally of the Wisconsin senator, of having conducted:[17]

...the most scandalous and brazen whitewash of treasonable conspiracy in our history.

Two members of the committee, Bourke Hickenlooper (R–IA) and Henry Cabot Lodge, Jr. (R–MA), did not sign the final report.[18] Even McCarthy opponent Margaret Chase Smith, a Moderate Republican from Maine, said that the Tydings Committee:[19]

...made the fatal error of subjectively attempting to discredit McCarthy rather than objectively investigating and evaluating his charges.

Among the names provided by McCarthy was John Stewart Service, who was substantially proven to have had ties with communists, namely having passed classified information to an Amerasia editor;[16][20] the Tydings Committee falsely insisted that Service was supposedly innocent.[16] After being cleared multiple times, Service was ultimately removed from the State Department.

1950 defeat

In the 1950 midterms, McCarthy strongly sought to have Tydings defeated for re-election.[21] The Wisconsin Republican backed John Marshall Butler,[22][23] a staunch conservative who ultimately prevailed in the general election by seven percentage points against the incumbent Democrat;[24] Tydings' apparent alienation of black voters, liberals, and union supporters in Maryland contributed to his defeat.

Tydings challenged the election results on the grounds that campaign tactics employed by McCarthy gave Butler an unfair advantage; the latter ultimately kept the Senate seat.[22] The Maryland Democrat would run for the same Senate seat again in 1956, though narrowly lost in the primary to George P. Mahoney.[25]


  1. Tutton to Tylee. The Political Graveyard. Retrieved August 12, 2021.
  2. Barnes, Bart (October 9, 2018). Joseph Tydings, progressive one-term Maryland senator, dies at 90. Washington Post. Retrieved June 6, 2021.
  3. MD US Senate Race - Nov 02, 1926. Our Campaigns. Retrieved June 6, 2021.
  4. MD US Senate Race - Nov 08, 1932. Our Campaigns. Retrieved June 6, 2021.
  5. Jay, Peter A. (May 3, 1992). Millard Tydings is Remebered in His Home Town. The Baltimore Sun. Retrieved June 6, 2021.
  6. 6.0 6.1 The Purge – FDR Edition. Mad Politics: The Bizarre, Fascinating, and Unknown of American Political History. Retrieved June 6, 2021.
  7. The Other Senate Manifesto. Mad Politics: The Bizarre, Fascinating, and Unknown of American Political History. Retrieved June 6, 2021.
  8. Tucker, Garland S. (October 27, 2020). TUCKER: The 1937 court-packing failure. The North State Journal. Retrieved June 6, 2021.
  9. Urbana Daily Courier, 11 July 1935. Illinois Digital Newspapers Collections. Retrieved June 6, 2021.
  10. TYDINGS RULED OUT; Fought New Deal, Lewis Aided It President Tells Marylanders DEFENDS RIGHT TO SPEAK But Executive Says Choice of Voters Between Reaction and Progress Is Free Assertion of Right to Come Appeal for National Unity PRESIDENT PLEDGES A LIBERAL PARTY Lewis Commended to Country Contestants Defined by Symbol Tydings Silent on Address. The New York Times. Retrieved June 6, 2021.
  11. The Fathers of Social Security: Robert F. Wagner and David J. Lewis. Mad Politics: The Bizarre, Fascinating, and Unknown of American Political History. Retrieved June 6, 2021.
  12. MD US Senate Race - D Primary Race - Sep 12, 1938. Our Campaigns. Retrieved June 6, 2021.
  13. MD US Senate Race - Nov 08, 1938. Our Campaigns. Retrieved June 6, 2021.
  14. FascinatingPolitics (January 6, 2019). Ideology and Civil Rights, 1950 Edition. Mad Politics: The Bizarre, Fascinating, and Unknown of American Political History. Retrieved August 12, 2021.
  15. Sen. Millard Tydings. Retrieved June 6, 2021.
  16. 16.0 16.1 16.2 16.3 Drummey, James J. (September 2, 1996). The Real McCarthy Record. The New American. Retrieved June 6, 2021.
  17. 'HIDEOUS' COVER-UP IS LAID TO TYDINGS IN REPLY BY JENNER; Committee Attack on McCarthy a 'Blasphemous Perversion,' Indiana Republican Says IVES ALSO HITS MAJORITY Lodge Renews Plea in Senate for Full Bipartisan Inquiry Into the State Department. The New York Times. Retrieved June 6, 2021.
  18. Kilburg, Diann M. Hickenlooper, Bourke Blakemore. The Biographical Dictionary of Iowa. Retrieved August 12, 2021.
  19. Schapsmeier, Edward L.; Schapsmeier, Frederick H. A Strong Voice for Keeping America Strong. State Historical Society of Iowa. Retrieved August 12, 2021.
  20. Irvine, Reed; Kincaid, Cliff (February 22, 2000). Joe McCarthy Was Right. Accuracy in Media. Retrieved June 6, 2021.
  21. Tye, Larry (September 16, 2020). Joe McCarthy’s long, familiar shadow | Column. Tampa Bay Times. Retrieved June 6, 2021.
  22. 22.0 22.1 The Election Case of Millard Tydings v. John M. Butler of Maryland (1951). United States Senate. Retrieved June 6, 2021.
  23. Tye, Larry (October 30, 2020). When Sen. McCarthy took on Millard Tydings and won | COMMENTARY. The Baltimore Sun. Retrieved June 6, 2021.
  24. MD US Senate Race - Nov 07, 1950. Our Campaigns. Retrieved June 6, 2021.
  25. MD US Senate - D Primary Race - May 07, 1956. Our Campaigns. Retrieved June 6, 2021.

External links

  • Profile at the Biographical Directory of the United States Congress
  • Profile at United States Senate
  • Profile at Find a Grave