Wright Patman

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John William Wright Patman
John William Wright Patman bioguide.jpg
Former U.S. Representative from Texas's 1st Congressional District
From: March 4, 1929 – March 7, 1976
Predecessor Eugene Black
Successor Sam B. Hall
Former State Representative from Texas's 2nd District
From: January 11, 1921 – January 13, 1925
Predecessor J. D. Newton
Successor George W. Coody
Information
Party Democrat
Spouse(s) Merle Connor (died 1967)
Pauline Tucker
Religion Baptist[1]
Military Service
Allegiance United States
Service/branch United States Army
Service Years 1917–1919
Rank Private
Officer
First Lieutenant
Battles/wars World War I

John William Wright Patman (August 6, 1893 – March 7, 1976), known as Wright Patman, was a populist Democrat and liberal[2] segregationist from Texas who represented the state's 1st congressional district in Congress for over five decades. A supporter of the New Deal and similar federal initiatives, Patman consistently maintained left-wing stances on economics throughout his career.

Patman was previously a state representative from District 2 in the Texas Legislature. Wright Patman Lake, located in northeast Texas, was named for him.

Background

He was born in Hughes Springs, Texas (located in Cass County) to John Newton Patman and the former Susan Emma Spurlin. After graduating from a local high school, he attended Cumberland University in Tennessee. During World War I, Patman served in the army a private.

U.S. House of Representatives

Patman first ran for the House in 1928, facing incumbent Democrat Eugene Black in the Democrat primary. After campaigning on a populist platform attacking Black as being too pro-business, he won the party nomination and easily emerged victorious in the general election.[3][4]

During the Herbert Hoover's second term, Patman backed a resolution by Pennsylvania Republican Louis T. McFadden to impeach the president.[3] He also advocated legislation to provide more benefits to veterans.

In the FDR era, Patman consistently supported New Deal programs even after Roosevelt's second term, a stance not common among many Southern Democrats.[3] His ideology and voting patterns were rooted in the Democratic Party's Jacksonian traditions in fiercely attacking large businesses and banks.

Patman generally opposed civil rights measures,[3] voting against the Gavagan–Wagner Act of 1937[5] the Gavagan–Fish Act in 1940,[6] in addition to an anti–poll tax bill in 1942.[7] He opposed civil rights legislation between 1957 and 1968, with the exceptions of supporting the weakened Civil Rights Act of 1957[8] and the Voting Rights Act of 1965.[9]

Tax-exempt foundations and Patman Committee

Patman voted for the resolutions in 1952[10] and 1953[11] which established and re-established the Select Committee to Investigate Tax-Exempt Foundations and Comparable Organizations.[3] They were known as the Cox Committee and Reece Committee in the 82nd and 83rd Congress respectively, named after their chairmen Eugene E. Cox of Georgia and B. Carroll Reece of Tennessee.

Although the Cox Committee's investigation was not very in-depth and the final report whitewashed subversive activities by tax-exempt major foundations, it quietly recommended a new probe to determine whether foundations used their privileges for the purpose of tax evasion.[12]

Although Reece ignored this aspect and only focused on subversion, Patman took the initiative to investigate further. As the chair of the Select Committee on Small Business (known as the Patman Committee), the published 1963 report attacked foundations amidst new monopolies were subsidized at taxpayer expense.[3] It also unearthed the CIA funneling money to groups with no government connections.

Attacking Nixon administration figures

An ardent opponent of President Richard Nixon and his administration, Patman once asked Federal Reserve chair Arthur Burns in 1970:[3]

Can you give me any reason why you should not be in the penitentiary?

References

  1. Pat to Pattersen. The Political Graveyard. Retrieved September 23, 2021.
  2. Grant, Jr., Philip A. Patman, John William Wright (1893–1976). Texas State Historical Association. Retrieved September 23, 2021.
  3. 3.0 3.1 3.2 3.3 3.4 3.5 3.6 FascinatingPolitics (July 3, 2021). Texas Legends #7: Wright Patman. Mad Politics: The Bizarre, Fascinating, and Unknown of American Political History. Retrieved September 23, 2021.
  4. TX District 01 Race - Nov 06, 1928. Our Campaigns. Retrieved September 23, 2021.
  5. TO PASS H. R. 1507, AN ANTI-LYNCHING BILL.. GovTrack.us. Retrieved September 23, 2021.
  6. TO PASS H.R. 801, A BILL TO MAKE LYNCHING A FEDERAL CRIME.. GovTrack.us. Retrieved September 23, 2021.
  7. TO PASS H.R. 1024 WHICH DECLARES ILLEGAL THE REQUIREMENT OF A POLL TAX AS A PREREQUISITE FOR VOTING OR REGISTERING TO VOTE FOR PRESIDENT, VICE-PRESIDENT, OR U.S. REPRESENTATIVE.. GovTrack.us. Retrieved September 23, 2021.
  8. H RES 410. TAKE HR 6127 (CIVIL RIGHTS ACT OF 1957) FROM SPEAKER'S DESK AND CONCUR IN SENATE JURY TRIAL AMENDMENT WITH HOUSE-SENATE LEADERSHIP COMPROMISE AMENDMENT.. GovTrack.us. Retrieved September 23, 2021.
  9. TO AGREE TO CONFERENCE REPORT ON S. 1564, THE VOTING RIGHTS ACT.. GovTrack.us. Retrieved September 23, 2021.
  10. H RES 561. RESOLUTION CREATING A SELECT COMMITTEE TO CON- DUCT AN INVESTIGATION AND STUDY OF FOUNDATIONS AND OTHER COMPARABLE ORGANIZATIONS.. GovTrack.us. Retrieved September 23, 2021.
  11. H RES 217. RESOLUTION CREATING A SPECIAL COMMITTEE TO CON- DUCT A FULL AND COMPLETE INVESTIGATION AND STUDY OF EDUCA- TIONAL AND PHILANTHROPIC FOUNDATIONS AND OTHER COMPARABLE ORGANIZATIONS WHICH ARE EXEMPT FROM FED. INCOME TAXATION.. GovTrack.us. Retrieved September 23, 2021.
  12. Samson, Steven Alan. Charity For All: B. Carroll Reece and the Tax-Exempt Foundations. Liberty University. Retrieved September 23, 2021.

External links

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