Interview with John C. McCormack, May 26, 1976

Project: Fred M. Vinson Oral History Project

Interview Summary

First elected to Congress in 1928, John W. McCormack has held the positions of majority leader, minority whip, and speaker. McCormack served on the Ways and Means Committee of the House of Representatives with Fred Vinson. In this interview, he tells of first meeting Vinson in Congress after Vinson was re-elected in 1930. He gives his opinions of Vinson's qualities as a member of Ways and Means and talks about Vinson's election to that committee as a young congressman, including John Nance Garner's influence. He gives his opinion of Vinson as a congressman, his personality, his abilities, and his effectiveness. McCormack talks about Vinson's dislike of "bigots" in Congress. He reminisces on Vinson's abilities when it came to tax legislation. He relates how Vinson considered himself "a progressive". McCormack discusses how he and Vinson opposed Franklin D. Roosevelt on the Economy Act of 1933 which dealt with veterans' benefit payments and the reduction of salary for federal employees. There is some discussion of the Social Security Act of 1935. McCormack talks about Vinson's relationship with Sam Rayburn. Vinson's appointment to the U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals for the District of Columbia is mentioned. McCormack talks about his relationship with Vinson, even after Vinson left Congress and gives his opinion of Vinson in his executive branch posts. There is some discussion about reasons Vinson may have taken different philosophical positions as the director of Office of Economic Stabilization and in Congress. McCormack talks about the Democratic convention of 1944 and how people wanted Alben Barkley to run that year, which leads to a discussion of Vinson's relationship with Barkley. McCormack gives his opinion of Harry Truman's appointment of Vinson as secretary of treasury, leading into recollections of Vinson's relationship with Truman. He tells an anecdote of Vinson and himself playing poker with Truman. McCormack goes into a discussion of the Lend Lease Bill. He relates Congress' view of Truman's appointment of Vinson as chief justice of the Supreme Court, which leads to his opinion of Vinson as chief justice and what Vinson's positions on issues might have been. He discusses whether he feels Truman had any influence on Vinson's Court decisions. McCormack gives his view of Vinson's potential ability as president. McCormack talks about running for the presidential candidacy against Adlai Stevenson and gives his views of Stevenson and Dwight D. Eisenhower as presidential candidates. He finishes by going over what he feels were Vinson's best qualities.

Interview Accession

1976oh054_vin019

Interviewee Name

John C. McCormack

Interviewer Name

William Cooper

Interview Date

1976-05-26

Interview LC Subject

Law and legislation

Interview Rights

All rights to the interviews, including but not restricted to legal title, copyrights and literary property rights, have been transferred to the University of Kentucky Libraries.

Interview Usage

Interviews may be reproduced with permission from Louie B. Nunn Center for Oral History, Special Collections, University of Kentucky Libraries.

Restriction

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Interviews may be reproduced with permission from Louie B. Nunn Center for Oral History, Special Collections, University of Kentucky Libraries.

All rights to the interviews, including but not restricted to legal title, copyrights and literary property rights, have been transferred to the University of Kentucky Libraries.

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McCormack, John C. Interview by William Cooper. 26 May. 1976. Lexington, KY: Louie B. Nunn Center for Oral History, University of Kentucky Libraries.

McCormack, J.C. (1976, May 26). Interview by W. Cooper. Fred M. Vinson Oral History Project. Louie B. Nunn Center for Oral History, University of Kentucky Libraries, Lexington.

McCormack, John C., interview by William Cooper. May 26, 1976, Fred M. Vinson Oral History Project, Louie B. Nunn Center for Oral History, University of Kentucky Libraries.





Persistent Link for this Record: https://kentuckyoralhistory.org/ark:/16417/xt7mgq6r215j