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Nicholas Longworth

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Cover of Time Magazine (March 9, 1925)

Nicholas Longworth (November 5, 1869-April 9, 1931) was a prominent American politician in the Republican Party during the first third of the 20th century. He served as the Speaker of the United States House of Representatives from 1925 to 1931.

Longworth was born into an old, prominent, and wealthy Cincinnati, Ohio family. The Longworths dominated Cincinnati life as the Lytle family did before them and the Taft family would after them. After receiving his bachelor's degree from Harvard University and his law degree from the University of Cincinnati, he quickly made his way into politics, and by 1902 he was elected to the United States House of Representatives from a district in Cincinnati.

The new representative, still a bachelor, quickly became a popular bon vivant in Washington, D.C. society. He attracted and successfully wooed Alice Roosevelt, the daughter of then-President Theodore Roosevelt; they married in 1906. Throughout their marriage, however, Longworth was known to have carried on his playboy ways with various women around the nation's capital.

Longworth first came to political prominence in 1910, when he led the successful Republican revolt against the autocratic rule of House Speaker Joseph G. Cannon. After an ensuing decade of political ill-fortune--the Republicans lost the majority in the House from 1911 to 1919, Longworth's father-in-law bolted the Republican Party in the 1912 election, and Longworth lost his seat from 1913 to 1915--Longworth became Majority Leader of the House in 1923.

After an effective term as Majority Leader, Longworth moved up to become Speaker in 1925 after Frederick Gillett took a seat in the United States Senate. Ironically, his first act as speaker was to restore much of the power to the office that had been stripped away during the revolt against Cannon. He served as speaker until the Republicans lost their House majority in the election of 1930.

Longworth died unexpectedly a few months later, while visiting friends in Aiken, South Carolina. Nicholas Longworth is buried in Cincinnati, Ohio; Alice Roosevelt Longworth and the couple's daughter Paulina (whose actual father, by all accounts, was Senator William Edgar Borah) are buried in Rock Creek Cemetery, Washington, D.C.

See also

References

  • Garraty, John A. and Mark C. Carnes. American National Biography, vol. 13, "Longworth, Nicholas". New York : Oxford University Press, 1999.


Preceded by:
Frederick H. Gillett
Speaker of the U.S. House of Representatives
19251931
Succeeded by:
John Nance Garner

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