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J. William Fulbright: A Featured Biography

Chairman: 1961-1974

J. William Fulbright (1905-1995) holds the record as the longest-serving chairman of the Senate Foreign Relations Committee, from 1959 to 1974. Elected to the Senate in 1944, he sponsored the Fulbright Scholars Act, creating Fulbright scholarships for Americans to study abroad, and for foreign scholars to study in the United States. In 1964, as chair of the Foreign Relations Committee, Fulbright managed the Gulf of Tonkin Resolution, which gave President Lyndon Johnson sweeping powers to respond to military provocation in South Vietnam. Later, troubled over the gradual escalation of the war in Vietnam, Fulbright held nationally televised "educational" hearings on Vietnam, bringing the Arkansas senator to national attention. He publicly challenged the "old myths and new realities" of American foreign policy, and warned against "the arrogance of power."