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Sam Ervin: A Featured Biography

Photo of Sam Ervin

During his 20 years in the Senate, Sam Ervin of North Carolina was considered by his colleagues to be one of the Senate's foremost experts on the Constitution. Well liked by his constituents for his folksy manner, Ervin frequently quoted Shakespeare and the Bible, and often referred to himself as "just an ol' country lawyer,” but Ervin’s colleagues knew that the Harvard-trained statesman was much more. When news of the Watergate scandal broke in 1973, Senate majority leader Mike Mansfield chose Ervin to chair the Select Committee on Presidential Campaign Activities, which became known as the Watergate Committee. As television coverage of the hearings enthralled a vast viewing audience, Sam Ervin became a well-known figure who played a pivotal role in events that led to the resignation of President Richard Nixon.