William E. Borah

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William Borah
William Edgar Borah portrait.jpg
Former U.S. Senator from Idaho
From: March 4, 1907 – January 19, 1940
Predecessor Fred Dubois
Successor John W. Thomas
Party Republican
Spouse(s) Mary McConnell

William Edgar Borah (June 29, 1865 – January 19, 1940) was a progressive Republican from Idaho who served as the state's U.S. senator from 1907 until his death in office at 1940. He is mostly known for his staunch isolationist viewpoints and his breaks with many conservatives within the GOP.

U.S. Senate

A staunch opponent of the Wilsonian internationalist agenda, Borah was crucial in blocking the U.S. from participating in the World Court and the League of Nations.[1] Despite this position, he broke with conservatives on almost all other issues and refused to endorse several Republican presidential candidates. He was later an early supporter of the New Deal during the presidency of Franklin D. Roosevelt.

During the Wilson Administration, Borah supported the enactment of an income tax.[2]

Anti-lynching legislation

Although a Republican, Borah opposed anti-lynching legislation on the false excuse that it was supposedly unconstitutional[3][4] and helped kill the Dyer Anti-Lynching Bill of 1922 along with racist Southern Democrats from passing the Senate.[5][6] This is sometimes deceptively cited by liberal outlets[7] to attack conservatives and the GOP as a whole, despite Borah being of the insurgent progressive left and not the conservative "Old Guard."


  1. William E. Borah. Britannica. Retrieved August 9, 2021.
  2. William Edgar Borah. Encyclopedia.com. Retrieved August 9, 2021.
  3. Hill, Ray (January 6, 2013). William E. Borah: The Lion of Idaho. The Knoxville Focus. Retrieved August 9, 2021.
  4. Zier, Magdalene; Witt, John Fabian (March 18, 2021). For 100 years, the filibuster has been used to deny Black rights. The Washington Post. Retrieved August 9, 2021.
  5. FascinatingPolitics (November 27, 2019). The State’s Rights Progressive. Mad Politics: The Bizarre, Fascinating, and Unknown of American Political History. Retrieved August 9, 2021.
  6. FascinatingPolitics (September 22, 2019). Henry Cabot Lodge: American Nationalist. Mad Politics: The Bizarre, Fascinating, and Unknown of American Political History. Retrieved August 9, 2021.
  7. Greenberg, David (August 10, 2000). The Party of Lincoln …. Slate. Retrieved August 9, 2021.

External links

  • Profile at Biographical Directory of the United States Congress
  • Profile at Find a Grave
  • Profile at University of Idaho
  • Profile at Social Networks and Archival Context