John Williams (Delaware politician)
|John James Williams|
|Former U.S. Senator from Delaware|
From: January 3, 1947 – December 31, 1970
- For the composer, see John Williams.
John James Williams (May 17, 1904 – January 11, 1988), also known as Whispering Willie, was a businessman strongly conservative though independent-minded Republican from Delaware who was the state's U.S. senator from 1947 until 1970.
After campaigning in a local manner in advocating for a reform of government towards honesty and against governmental economic controls, he defeated Tunnell in the general election despite initial assurances of a victory for the incumbent Democrat.
His voting record in the Senate reflected a strong sense of fiscal conservatism. Williams opposed the programs Fair Deal during the presidency of Harry S. Truman, the New Frontier during the Kennedy era, as well as the Great Society under Lyndon Johnson. He was also known as the "Conscience of the Senate," investigating and exposing a major IRS scandal.
Williams voted in 1950 to maintain President Truman's army desegregation as well as to impose cloture for Ohio senator Robert A. Taft's "voluntary FEPC" legislation, considered a "conservative" approach to alleviating racial inequalities.
Despite his adamantly conservative voting record, Williams sided with the D.C. establishment in 1954 when he voted in favor of the Senate censure against his Wisconsin colleague Joseph McCarthy, who exposed communist infiltration of the State Department and the United States Army.
Although Williams was a supporter of civil rights, he opposed the unanimous United States Supreme Court decision in Brown v. Board of Education which ordered the desegregation of all public schools, calling it "judicial activism." However, he voted for major civil rights legislation, most notably casting the vote which enacted cloture on the Civil Rights Act of 1964, ending the Southern filibuster.
Williams pursued to investigate corruption which has long surrounded Lyndon B. Johnson, who was elected to the Senate in 1948 due to Democrat election fraud. He probed Johnson associate Bobby Baker's Serve-U Corporation, successfully seeking a confession from the company's boss of Johnson's direct involvement in kickbacks. An infuriated President Johnson in turn donated to Williams' Democrat opponent in 1964, though the incumbent Republican was narrowly re-elected.
In 1968, Williams and Florida senator George Smathers successfully cut six billion dollars in spending. He did not run for re-election two years later, and joined the American Enterprise Institute in his retirement from Congress. He voted with the conservative side 95% of the time during his Senate tenure.
Williams remarked in 1969 when asked about refusing to attend cocktail parties:
|“||For one thing, you can't go out every night and do your work. For another, we just plain don't care for it. Neither my wife nor I drink, and you can't hear what anybody is saying.||”|
- Williams, J.. The Political Graveyard. Retrieved August 14, 2021.
- Senator John J. Williams papers. University of Delaware. Retrieved August 14, 2021.
- FascinatingPolitics (May 9, 2018). John J. Williams: An Honest Senator. Mad Politics: The Bizarre, Fascinating, and Unknown of American Political History. Retrieved August 14, 2021.
- Lyall, Sarah (January 13, 1988). John Williams, Ex-Senator, Dies; Represented Delaware for 4 Terms. The New York Times. Retrieved August 14, 2021.
- HR 6826. EXTENSION OF SELECTIVE SERVICE MANPOWER REGISTRA- TION ACT. AMEND. TO ELIMINATE A COMMITTEE AMEND. WHICH WOULD GIVE OPTION TO ENLISTEE TO SERVE IN A UNIT, THE PER- SONNEL OF WHICH ARE OF HIS OWN RACE.. GovTrack.us. Retrieved August 14, 2021.
- S 1728. PROHIBIT DISCRIMINATION IN EMPLOYMENT BECAUSE OF RACE, COLOR, RELIGION OR NATIONAL ORIGIN. MOTION FOR CLOTURE.. GovTrack.us. Retrieved August 14, 2021.
- FascinatingPolitics (July 22, 2020). The Redemption of Delaware. Mad Politics: The Bizarre, Fascinating, and Unknown of American Political History. Retrieved August 14, 2021.
- FascinatingPolitics (April 15, 2020). MC-Index Scores of People I Have Profiled. Mad Politics: The Bizarre, Fascinating, and Unknown of American Political History. Retrieved August 14, 2021.
- Profile at the Biographical Directory of the United States Congress
- Profile at Find a Grave
- Senator Williams —Public Eye; The Delaware Republican, the man behind the Bobby Baker case, has become the Congress's demon investigator of misfeasance, nonfeasance and malfeasance. – The New York Times, published February 9, 1964