[Newspaper Clipping: Rayburn Became An Institution] Part: 1 of 6
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Charted Own Destiny .. ..
Rayburn Became An Institution
WASHINGTON (UPI)— Sam
Rayburn probably came as close
as a man ever can to charting
his own destiny. In following the
chosen course, he became an
Speaker Sam Rayburn: Never
in the history of the job has a
name more closely affixed itself
to, and identified itself with, the
In what Mr. Sam gave to the
job, and what it did for him in
return, was forged one of the
strongest political forces in the
land. But this power was tem-
pered always with fairness and
“The greatest ambition a man
can have,” he said once, “is to
be known as a just man-”
The fact that he was known as
such a man helped him realize
his childhood ambition to run the
House of Representatives — and
to do so more than twice as long
as any predecessor.
Along the way, Rayburn gained
another title: “Mr. Democrat.”
His devotion to his party was sec-
ond only to his dedication to of-
He could say: “Democrats just
naturally seem to know better
than Republicans how to keep the
country runnin’ right.” But he
could also say: “Fve never asked
anyone to cast a vote that would
destroy him politically.”
Fell In Love With Politics
Sam Rayburn was a Texas farm
lad when first he fell in love —
That year he walked the few
miles to the town of Bonham to
hear the rolling oratory of Jo-
seph Weldon Bailey, the local dis-
trict’s congressman. It was then,
he was to say later, that he aimed
his sights at the speakership.
Education came first. His pa-
rents were poor, but Sam worked
his way through a small Texas
school, won a degree and became
He took the political dive when
he was 24, and promptly won a
seat in the Texas legislature. Five
years later, at 29, he became the
youngest speaker in the history of
that state’s house of representa-
tives. Meanwhile he had studied
law at the University of Texas.
At age 30 he was elected to
Congress, taking his seat when
Woodrow Wilson was inaugurated,
and won every election there-
He gained experience, and im-
pressed colleagues with his tal-
ents. When Speaker William E.
Bankhead of Alabama died in
1940, he was the obvious choice
iHe was where he had wanted
to be. Now he set about doing
what he wanted to do with that
job. Except when the Republicans
gained brief control of the House,
this work went on until illness
struck him down during the ses-
sion just past.
On Jan. 3, 1947, he was forced
to hand the gavel to GOP Rep.
Joe Martin, an old friend. His
remark on the occasion:
“Today I have the high privi-
lege and the great pleasure—if it
had to come—of presenting to
Led To Illusion
Rayburn built the Speaker’s
post into what now is commonly
regarded as second in power only
to the presidency.
This led to the widespread il-
lusion that when Mr. Sam tookj
the floor on some issue, that
(See RAYBURN, Page 5)
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[Newspaper Clipping: Rayburn Became An Institution], clipping, Date Unknown; (texashistory.unt.edu/ark:/67531/metapth787755/m1/1/: accessed November 18, 2018), University of North Texas Libraries, The Portal to Texas History, texashistory.unt.edu; crediting Sam Rayburn House Museum.