- Borah, William Edgar
- (1865-1940)After a limited education in Kansas, William Borah passed the bar examinations in law in 1887 and practiced for three years before moving to Idaho. Having stood unsuccessfully for the U.S. House of Representatives as a Democrat in 1896, Borah turned to the Republicans as a candidate for the Senate in 1902. Unsuccessful again, he was eventually elected in 1906. Borah served six successive terms and was known for his oratory and political independence. In domestic matters, he had progressive tendencies, supporting antitrust legislation, the income tax, popular election of senators, and prohibition. On issues of foreign policy, he was one of the leading opponents of the Versailles Treaty and League of Nations, but he supported the Washington Conference from 1921-1922. As chairman of the Foreign Relations Committee from 1924 to 1933, he helped secure ratification of the Kellogg-Briand Pact in 1928.During the 1930s, Borah departed from his own party line to support such New Deal measures as the Social Security Act and the National Labor Relations Act, but he also disapproved of other New Deal measures, like the National Industrial Recovery Act. In 1936, he attempted to win the Republican presidential nomination but was unsuccessful. He was, however, able to use his position on the Senate Judiciary Committee to help block President Franklin D. Roosevelt’s attempt at “court packing.” As a leading isolationist, Borah supported the Neutrality Acts but was unable to prevent Roosevelt’s revision of them.
Historical Dictionary of the Roosevelt–Truman Era . Neil A. Wynn . 2015.