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Chauncey M. Depew: A Featured Biography


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New York’s Chauncey M. Depew, a U.S. senator from 1899 to 1911, is best remembered for his excellent abilities as an orator and raconteur. Despite frequent speaking engagements, Depew never considered public speaking a career, but rather his form of recreation. “Speech-making is a tonic to me,” he is said to have remarked. For most of his life, the railroad business was his primary profession.  Hired as an attorney for the New York Central Railroad, he ultimately became president of the company. Depew’s interest in politics began early in life, and in college he joined the newly formed Republican Party. For many years, however, he resisted a career in politics, rejecting a variety of opportunities to enter public office. While his gift of wit brought him fame and popularity, Depew’s senatorial service was temporarily marred with controversy when he was accused of catering to the interests of insurance and railroad giants.

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