Sam Rayburn

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Samuel Taliaferro "Sam" Rayburn

In office
January 3, 1955 – November 16, 1961
Preceded by Joseph William Martin, Jr. of Massachusetts
Succeeded by John William McCormack of Massachusetts
In office
January 3, 1949 – January 3, 1953
Preceded by Joseph William Martin, Jr.
Succeeded by Joseph William Martin, Jr.
In office
September 16, 1940 – January 3, 1947
Preceded by William B. Bankhead of Alabama
Succeeded by Joseph William Martin, Jr.

37th Dean of the United States House of Representatives
In office
January 3, 1953 – November 16, 1961
Preceded by Robert L. Doughton of North Carolina
Succeeded by Carl Vinson of Georgia

Minority Leader of the United States House of Representatives
In office
January 3, 1953 – January 3, 1955
Preceded by Joseph William Martin, Jr.
Succeeded by Joseph William Martin, Jr.
In office
January 3, 1947 – January 3, 1949
Preceded by Joseph William Martin Jr.
Succeeded by Joseph William Martin Jr.

Majority Leader of the United States House of Representatives
In office
January 3, 1937 – September 16, 1940
Preceded by William B. Bankhead
Succeeded by John William McCormack

U.S. Representative for Texas' 4th congressional district
In office
March 4, 1913 – November 16, 1961
Preceded by Choice B. Randell
Succeeded by Ray Roberts

Texas State Representative for
District 34 (Fannin County)
In office
1907–1913
Preceded by Jesse Abram Thomas
Succeeded by John Cunningham (changed to District 37)

Rayburn was the Speaker of the Texas House from 1911 to 1913.


Born January 6, 1882
Kingston, Tennessee
Died November 16, 1961 (aged 79)
Bonham, Texas.
Political party Democrat
Spouse(s) Metze Jones (married and divorced in 1927)
Alma mater East Texas Normal College
University of Texas School of Law
Occupation Educator-turned-lawyer
Religion Baptist

Samuel Taliaferro Rayburn (January 6, 1882 – November 16, 1961) was an American politician who held the longest tenure in history, seventeen years, as the Speaker of the United States House of Representatives. A Democrat from north Texas, he was the 43rd House Speaker and represented Texas' 4th congressional district from 1913 to 1961.

A native of Roane County, Tennessee, Rayburn mowed with his family to Texas in 1887 at the age of five. He briefly taught school until he was elected from District 34 in the Texas House of Representatives. He obtained his legal credentials through the University of Texas at Austin. He was first elected to the U.S. House in 1912, when Woodrow Wilson defeated Theodore Roosevelt and William Howard Taft for the presidency. He continually won reelection through 1960 and died in office a year thereafter. An associate of Vice President John Nance Garner, Rayburn was a mentor to later U.S. President Lyndon B. Johnson, who served with Rayburn in the House from 1937 to 1949.

Rayburn became House Majority Leader in 1937 and was elevated to the position of Speaker of the House after the death of William B. Bankhead of Alabama. He led the House Democrats from 1940 to 1961, and served as Speaker of the House from 1940 to 1947, 1949 to 1953, and 1955 to 1961. He was the Minority Leader from 1947 to 1949 and from 1953 to 1955, when the Republicans under Joseph William Martin, Jr., of Massachusetts, held majorities in two nonconsecutive terms of Congress.

Rayburn refused in the 1950s to sign the Southern Manifesto against school desegregation. He permitted committee chairmen to wield much of the authority in the House. He pushed for completion of the since abandoned U.S. Route 66 from Chicago to Santa Monica, California, which he called uniting the Frost Belt with the Sun Belt. He often said that politics should stop at "the water's edge," meaning partisan wrangling should not extend to matters of foreign policy.