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The Political Career of W. Kerr ScottThe Squire from Haw River$
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Julian M. Pleasants

Print publication date: 2014

Print ISBN-13: 9780813146775

Published to Kentucky Scholarship Online: May 2015

DOI: 10.5810/kentucky/9780813146775.001.0001

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The Senate Years, 1954–1958

The Senate Years, 1954–1958

(p.273) 10 The Senate Years, 1954–1958
The Political Career of W. Kerr Scott

Julian M. Pleasants

University Press of Kentucky

Scott took his oath of office on November 19, 1954, and remained in the Senate until his death in 1958. During his four years in Washington, he concentrated on agriculture, education, the harnessing of rivers for public water power, and issues relating to his home state, such as federal relief for hurricane damage in 1954–1955. He proposed a world food bank to help feed poor countries and gain their friendship in the fight against Communist expansion. While in the Senate, he dealt with some difficult and controversial decisions—he voted to censure Joe McCarthy, voted to make the Federal Republic of Germany a NATO member, voted against the admission of China to the United Nations, and voted yes on the Federal Housing Act of 1955, which provided new housing for the poor. He voted overwhelmingly with the Democratic Party on most issues. He frequently criticized President Dwight Eisenhower’s farm policy, and, while supporting most of the president’s foreign policy decisions during the Cold War, he accused Eisenhower of being overly militaristic when he threatened the use of atomic weapons against China over the Quemoy-Matsu crisis. The most pressing and divisive issue for Scott was civil rights. He disliked the Brown v. Board of Education decision and reluctantly signed on to the Southern Manifesto, advocating resistance to the court decision. His moderate racial views changed with his vehement criticism of the Civil Rights Act of 1957 and his rebuke of President Eisenhower for sending federal troops into Little. Kerr Scott died of a heart attack on April 16, 1958.

Keywords:   Civil Rights Act of 1957, World food bank, NATO, Little Rock, Cold War, Joe McCarthy, Southern Manifesto

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