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Walter F. George: A Featured Biography

Photo of Walter F. George

Walter F. George resigned his position as an associate justice of Georgia's supreme court in 1922 to run in a special election to fill a Senate vacancy. Victorious, George served in the Senate from 1922 to 1957. During his long tenure, he chaired the Foreign Relations Committee and the Finance Committee. Although he seldom spoke in the Senate Chamber, George was a skilled orator. “When Walter spoke,” recalled Senate staff member Carl Marcy, “senators listened. They came to the floor to hear what he had to say." Throughout his Senate career, the Georgia senator remained a staunch segregationist, signing the Southern Manifesto in 1956, which called for resistance to desegregation in public schools in the wake of the Supreme Court’s Brown v. Board of Education of Topeka decisions. He consistently opposed all civil rights measures, including anti-lynching bills. George also opposed U.S. involvement in World War II, but his stance changed following the attack on Pearl Harbor. He chaired the Finance Committee throughout the war years, working closely with President Franklin Roosevelt to fund war efforts, and became a strong internationalist. He supported the creation of the United Nations in 1945, funding of the Marshall Plan in 1948, and approval of SEATO in 1954. In 1955 he became the Senate president pro tempore. When George retired from the Senate in 1957, President Dwight D. Eisenhower appointed him as ambassador to NATO. Upon his death that year, the U.S. Postal Service honored him with a commemorative 4¢ stamp.

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