Interview with Alben W. Barkley, July 23, 1953

Project: Alben W. Barkley Oral History Project

Interview Summary

Alben W. Barkley discusses his early Congressional career and his associations with President Wilson. He provides stories about the Senate's attempt to increase their salaries and the reluctance of some Senators to do so. Barkley remembers the election of 1912 and joining the Committee on Interstate and Foreign Commerce and the Committee on Rivers and Harbors upon his first session in Congress. He also recalls the split of the Republican Party in 1912.

Barkley explains how Woodrow Wilson received the Democratic nomination in 1912. He discusses the tariff commission that Wilson appointed, the Ragweed Amendment supported by those who wanted to turn agricultural crops into currency, and the Federal Reserve Systems. Barkley describes his own attempts to abolish the short session of Congress, the role of a freshman member of Congress, and his "maiden" speech which addressed the Underwood Tariff. He recalls William Jennings Bryan and Bryan's views on both evolution and law. He discusses his role in the creation of the Federal Trade Commission, the passage of the Good Roads Act, and his views on agricultural reform and the Farm Credit Administration.

Barkley recalls his election to Congress in 1912 and states that even as a freshman Congressman he had no trouble getting an audience with Wilson. He describes appointing postmasters and allowing Wilson to appoint a friend as a postmaster in his district. He remembers that causes of World War One and the involvement of the United States in the war. He describes the women's suffrage movement, and the World War One draft law. He recalls noticing a "physical breakdown" in Wilson after the end of the war. Barkley discusses congressional opposition to the League of Nations. He also tells a story about Abraham Lincoln, William H. Seward, and a ladder, explains his nickname "the VEEP", and describes hearing about atomic energy indirectly from Secretary Henry Stimson during World War Two.

Interview Accession

2006oh043_bark009

Interviewee Name

Alben W. Barkley

Interviewer Name

Sidney Shalett

Interview Date

1953-07-23

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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Barkley, Alben W. Interview by Sidney Shalett. 23 Jul. 1953. Lexington, KY: Louie B. Nunn Center for Oral History, University of Kentucky Libraries.

Barkley, A.W. (1953, July 23). Interview by S. Shalett. Alben W. Barkley Oral History Project. Louie B. Nunn Center for Oral History, University of Kentucky Libraries, Lexington.

Barkley, Alben W., interview by Sidney Shalett. July 23, 1953, Alben W. Barkley Oral History Project, Louie B. Nunn Center for Oral History, University of Kentucky Libraries.





Persistent Link for this Record: https://kentuckyoralhistory.org/ark:/16417/xt7p2n4zkk38