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Jacob Javits: A Featured Biography


Image: Senator Jacob Javits

Jacob Javits, Republican senator from New York from 1957 to 1981, was known for his work ethic and unbounded energy. A self-described “Lincolnian,” Javits championed the rights of the average American, often supporting federal spending on health care, education, housing, and the arts and humanities. An ardent proponent of civil rights, Javits played a key role in the Senate’s passage of the Civil Rights Act of 1964 and the Voting Rights Act of 1965. He opposed gender discrimination and became one of the first senators to sponsor a female page in 1971. Javits also held a keen interest in world affairs. His growing disillusionment over the war in Vietnam led him to draft the 1973 War Powers Act. He also helped facilitate the 1976 Camp David Agreement. Seeking a fifth term at the age of 76, Javits was defeated in the 1980 New York Republican primary.