Sam Rayburn (1882-1961) American politician

Democrat Sam Rayburn was active in the United States House of Representatives for 25 consecutive terms.

He was born Samuel Taliaferro Rayburn on January 6, 1882, in Roane County, Tennessee. His family moved to Texas when he was a kid. After receiving his degree from East Texas Normal College in 1903 and working as a cotton picker, he became a teacher but he aimed for a political career. In 1906 he was elected to the Texas House of Representatives and simultaneously attended law school at the University of Texas in Austin.

During the last two years of his six-year term in Texas, he served as Speaker of the state House. Rayburn won election to the US House of Representatives in 1912, the beginning of a long, continuous career in national politics. His ensuing 25 consecutive terms marked one of the longest tenures (48 years and 8 months) of any representative in American history. In the 1930s he was the man most directly responsible for the passage of New Deal legislation in the House.

The middle-of-the road Democrat first became Speaker of the House in 1940, an office he held until 1947, and later from 1949 to 1953 and from 1955 to his death - in total more than twice as long as any of his predecessors. In addition to being a House member during the period of the 63rd through the 87th Congresses, he was Democratic majority leader of the 75th, 76th, 77th, 80th, and 83rd Congresses; he was elected Democratic minority leader in 1947 and in 1953. In 1948, 1952, and 1956 he acted as chairman at the Democratic National Convention.

Sam Rayburn died in Bonham, Texas, on November 16, 1961.

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