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John Nance Garner: A Featured Biography

John Nance Garner by Howard Chandler Christy

John Nance Garner (1868-1967), a Texas Democrat popularly known as “Cactus Jack,” presided over the House of Representatives and the Senate. After becoming Speaker of the House in 1931, he ran for president in 1932, but instead accepted the vice presidency alongside Franklin Roosevelt. Although he gave up the powerful Speaker’s gavel for the neutral presiding officer’s role in the Senate, Garner brought with him a savvy sense of legislative leadership and procedural knowledge that he used to promote Roosevelt’s New Deal. By the late 1930s, however, Garner increasingly disagreed with FDR's policies and left the ticket when Roosevelt ran for an unprecedented third term in 1940.

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