Biography for Estes Kefauver
Carey Estes Kefauver was a senator from Tennessee whose investigative efforts earned the respect of his colleagues and the public. Kefauver was born near Madisonville, Tennessee on July 26, 1903. After graduating from the University of Tennessee in 1924 and Yale Law School in 1927, he became a successful banking and corporate lawyer in Chattanooga. Active in local government reform efforts and an enthusiastic New Dealer, Kefauver won a special election to the U.S. House of Representatives in 1939. After five terms in the House, he was elected to the Senate in 1948 and reelected in 1954 and 1960. In Congress, Kefauver was one of the few Southerners to support labor unions and the protection of civil rights and civil liberties. He established a national political reputation as chairman of the Senate Crime Investigation Committee when the committee's sensational hearings exploring connections between underworld figures and political leaders were televised in 1950 and 1951. Kefauver lost two tries to secure the Democratic Party's presidential nomination in 1952 and 1956 to Adlai Stevenson, but he did manage to defeat Senator John F. Kennedy to win the vice presidential nomination in 1956. However, the Stevenson-Kefauver ticket was buried in the landslide reelection of popular Republican president Dwight D. Eisenhower. As chairman of the Senate Antitrust and Monopoly Subcommittee during its investigations of monopolistic activities of organized professional sports and alleged price fixing by the drug, automobile, and steel industries, Kefauver again attracted national attention. He also helped achieve the ratification of the Twenty-fourth Amendment to the Constitution, which abolished the poll tax, and the passage of the Kefauver-Harris Drug Safety Act of 1962. Kefauver died the following year on August 10, 1963.