About the Author - Alben W. Barkley

Alben William Barkley (; November 24, 1877 – April 30, 1956) was an American lawyer and politician from Kentucky who served as the 35th vice president of the United States from 1949 to 1953 under President Harry S. Truman. In 1905, he was elected to local offices and in 1912 as a U.S. representative. Serving in both houses of Congress, he was a liberal Democrat, supporting President Woodrow Wilson's New Freedom domestic agenda and foreign policy.Endorsing Prohibition and denouncing parimutuel be...

Alben William Barkley (; November 24, 1877 – April 30, 1956) was an American lawyer and politician from Kentucky who served as the 35th vice president of the United States from 1949 to 1953 under President Harry S. Truman. In 1905, he was elected to local offices and in 1912 as a U.S. representative. Serving in both houses of Congress, he was a liberal Democrat, supporting President Woodrow Wilson's New Freedom domestic agenda and foreign policy.Endorsing Prohibition and denouncing parimutuel betting, Barkley narrowly lost the Kentucky Democratic gubernatorial primary in 1923 to fellow representative J. Campbell Cantrill. In 1926, he unseated Republican senator Richard P. Ernst. In the Senate, he supported the New Deal approach to handling the Great Depression in the United States. Democrats chose him to succeed Senate Majority Leader Joseph Taylor Robinson upon Robinson's death in 1937. His 1938 re-election bid was an intense, bitter victory against Governor A. B. "Happy" Chandler. When World War II focused President Franklin D. Roosevelt's attention on foreign affairs, Barkley gained influence over the administration's domestic agenda. He resigned as floor leader after Roosevelt ignored his advice and vetoed the Revenue Act of 1943. The veto was overridden by both houses and the Democratic senators unanimously re-elected Barkley to the position of Majority Leader. Barkley had a good working relationship with Senator Harry S. Truman, who became vice-president and then president in 1945. With Truman's popularity waning entering the 1948 Democratic National Convention, Barkley gave a keynote address that energized the delegates. Truman selected him as his running mate for the upcoming election, and the Democratic ticket scored an upset victory against Thomas Dewey and Earl Warren of the Republican Party. Barkley took an active role in the Truman administration, acting as its primary spokesman, especially after the Korean War required the majority of Truman's attention. When Truman announced that he would not seek re-election in 1952, Barkley began organizing a presidential campaign, but labor leaders refused to endorse his candidacy because of his age, and he withdrew from the race. He is the last vice president from the Democratic Party to never receive the party nomination for president. He retired but was coaxed back into public life, defeating incumbent Republican senator John Sherman Cooper in 1954. Barkley died of a heart attack on April 30, 1956.

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