Thomas J. Walsh
|United States Senator|
March 4, 1913 – March 2, 1933
|Preceded by||Joseph M. Dixon|
|Succeeded by||John E. Erickson|
|Born||June 12, 1859|
Two Rivers, Wisconsin
|Died||March 2, 1933 (aged 73)|
Near Wilson, North Carolina
|Resting place||Resurrection Cemetery,|
|Spouse(s)||Elinor McClements (m. 1889–1917, her death)|
Mina Nieves Perez Chaumont de Truffin (m. February 1933 – March 1933, his death)
|Education||University of Wisconsin Law School|
Thomas James Walsh (June 12, 1859 – March 2, 1933) was an American lawyer and Democratic Party politician from Helena, Montana who represented Montana in the US Senate from 1913 to 1933. He was initially elected by the state legislature, and from 1918 on by popular vote, in keeping with the requirements of the Seventeenth Amendment to the United States Constitution.
Walsh was born in Two Rivers, Wisconsin on June 12, 1859, the son of Irish Catholic immigrants, Bridget (Comer) and Felix Walsh; his father was an active Democrat and was elected as a member of the local school board.
Walsh taught school while attending the University of Wisconsin Law School. He graduated in 1884 and was admitted to the bar. He moved to Redfield, Dakota Territory to practice law. In August 1889, he married Elinor McClements (1859–1917). They had a daughter, Genevieve, born in 1890.
Walsh became a leader in Democratic Party politics in Helena and attended numerous local, county and state conventions as a delegate. He was defeated in a 1906 election for the United States House of Representatives and a 1910 race for the U.S. Senate. Walsh was a delegate to the Democratic National Conventions of 1908, 1912, 1916, 1920, 1924, 1928, and 1932. He was the permanent chairman of the 1928 and 1932 conventions.
In 1912, Walsh won a state legislative election for U.S. Senate. He was repeatedly re-elected, and served from 1913 until his death. He emerged as a spokesman for President Woodrow Wilson in the Senate and supported the graduated income tax, farm loans, and women's suffrage.
Walsh managed Wilson's western campaign against Charles Evans Hughes during the 1916 presidential election, and was credited with helping Wilson win a narrow re-election victory. Unlike many Irish Catholics, who did not want the United States to ally with the United Kingdom, Walsh supported Wilson's foreign policy and voted for war against Germany in 1917. In 1919, he supported Wilson's peace plans and the League of Nations.
Walsh ran for reelection in 1918. In a three-way election that included him, former State Representative Oscar M. Lanstrum as the Republican nominee, and US Representative Jeannette Rankin as the National Party nominee, Walsh narrowly won a second term.
During his tenure in the Senate, Walsh gained fame for his legal ability in the Judiciary Committee and speaking ability on the floor.
In the 1920s, Walsh headed the Senate investigation into the Teapot Dome scandal that involved top officials of the administration of President Warren G. Harding. He was chairman of the Democratic National Convention in New York in 1924 and in Chicago in 1932. Walsh opposed child labor and supported women's suffrage and, unlike most other Catholics, Prohibition. On December 18th, 1927 Senator Walsh introduced a plan to investigate the country's electric industry. The investigation done by the Federal Trade Commission would continue through 1935 and eventually result in four of the most important laws governing the electric industry in the 20th century including the breakup of most of the large holding companies that formed during the 1920s.
In 1933, Walsh was nominated for Attorney General by incoming President Franklin Roosevelt. In late February, he secretly married Mina Nieves Perez Chaumont de Truffin. Less than a week later, he died of a heart attack while en route by train to Washington for Roosevelt's inauguration.
His funeral service was held in the Chamber of the United States Senate, and he was interred at Resurrection Cemetery in Helena.
- Tribune Staff. "125 Montana Newsmakers: Sen. Thomas J. Walsh". Great Falls Tribune. Retrieved August 26, 2011.
- Ruthmansdorfer, Paul. "Thomas J. (James) Walsh". Two Rivers Economic Ddevelopment. City of Two Rivers, Wisconsin. Archived from the original on April 16, 2013.
- Hernon, Joseph Martin (2016). "Chapter 6". Profiles in Character: Hubris and Heroism in the U.S. Senate, 1789–1996. Routledge. ISBN 9781315479514.
- O'Keane, Josephine (1955). Thomas J. Walsh, a Senator from Montana. Francestown, NH: M. Jones Company. p. 22 – via Google Books.
- Cook, Blanche Wiesen (1999). Eleanor Roosevelt, Vol. 2: 1933–1938. Viking. p. 28. ISBN 067080486X. Retrieved November 26, 2012.
- "Walsh Asks Probe of Electric Utilities". Library of Congress. Washington D.C. Evening Star. Retrieved 8 July 2019.
- "FTC Milestones: Making the case for reform of public utility holding company laws 1928-35 Federal Trade Commission Annual Reports document the 7 year investig". Federal Trade Commission. Retrieved 8 July 2019.
- Walsh, Thomas James, (1859 - 1933)
- Bates, J. Leonard (ed.). Tom Walsh in Dakota Territory: Personal Correspondence of Senator Thomas J. Walsh and Elinor C. McClements (1966).
- Bates, J. Leonard. Senator Thomas J. Walsh of Montana: Law and Public Affairs, from TR to FDR. Urbana: University of Illinois Press, 1999.
|Wikimedia Commons has media related to Thomas J. Walsh.|
- United States Congress. "Thomas J. Walsh (id: W000104)". Biographical Directory of the United States Congress.
- "Walsh, Thomas James" at American National Biography Online
|Party political offices|
|First|| Democratic nominee for U.S. Senator from Montana
1913, 1918, 1924, 1930
James E. Murray
Joseph M. Dixon
| U.S. senator from Montana
John E. Erickson