John Little McClellan


John Little McClellan

Infobox Senator
name=John Little McClellan
nationality=American


jr/sr=United States Senator
state=Arkansas
party=Democrat
term_start=January 3, 1943
term_end=November 28, 1977
preceded=G. Lloyd Spencer
succeeded=Kaneaster Hodges, Jr.
date of birth=February 25, 1896
place of birth=Sheridan, Arkansas
dead=yes
date of death=death date and age|1977|11|28|1896|02|25
place of death=Little Rock, Arkansas
spouse=
religion=

John Little McClellan (25 February 1896 – 28 November 1977) was a Democratic Party politician from Arkansas. He represented Arkansas in the United States Senate from 1943 until 1977. He also earlier represented Arkansas in the United States House of Representatives.

Early life

McClellan was born in Sheridan, Grant County, Arkansas. He came from a Democratic family who named him after Democratic Governor and Representative John Sebastian Little. McClellan studied law and was admitted to the bar in 1913 at the age of 17, becoming the youngest lawyer in the United States. He started private law practice in Sheridan.

McClellan served in the United States Army from 1917 to 1919 during World War I as a First Lieutenant in the aviation section of the US Signal Corps.

Early political career

After returning from the Army in 1919, he moved to Malvern, Arkansas where he served as prosecuting attorney in the 7th judicial district from 1927 to 1930.

In 1934, McClellan was elected as a Representative of the Democratic Party from the 6th District of Arkansas to the 74th Congress. He was re-elected to the 75th Congress in 1936. He did not run for re-election to the House in 1938. Instead, he pursued an unsuccessful candidacy for the Senate against the sitting incumbent and the first elected female senator in US History, Hattie Caraway. In 1940, 1944, and 1948, McClellan was a delegate to the Democratic National Convention from Arkansas. During this period, he moved to Camden, Arkansas to practice law.

US Senate service

McClellan served as Senator from Arkansas from 1943 to 1977, when he died in office. During his tenure, he served as chairman of the Appropriations Committee and served 22 years as chairman of the Committee on Government Operations. McClellan was the longest serving United States Senator in Arkansas history. During the later part of his Senate service Arkansas had, perhaps, the most powerful Congressional delegations with McClellan as chairman of the Senate Appropriations Committee, Wilbur Mills as chairman of the House Ways and Means Committee, Oren Harris as chairman of the House Commerce Committee, Senator J. William Fulbright as chairman of the Senate foreign relations Committee, Took Gathings as chairman of the House Agriculture Committee, and James William Trimble as a member of the powerful House Rules Committee.

McClellan also served for eighteen years as chairman of the Senate Permanent Subcommittee on Investigations (1955 – 1973) and continued the hearings into subversive activities at U.S. Army Signal Corps Fort Monmouth, New Jersey, where Soviet spies Julius Rosenberg, Al Sarant and Joel Barr all worked in the 1940s.

He was a participant of the famous Army-McCarthy Hearings and led a Democratic walkout of that subcommittee in protest of Senator Joseph McCarthy's conduct in those hearings. McClellan appeared in the 2005 movie "Good Night, and Good Luck.", in footage from the actual hearings. Under his leadership, the committee conducted the famous McClellan Hearings, more commonly known as the Valachi Hearings which investigated organized crime activities across America and centered on Teamsters head and mafia associate, Jimmy Hoffa in 1957 and other leading mafia figures of the era such as Sam Giancana of Chicago. The first American mafia informant, Joseph Valachi appeared before the McClellan Committee in 1963 and gave the American public a firsthand account of mafia activities in the United States and Canada. McClellan continued his efforts against organized crime, supplying the political influence for the anti-organized crime laws called RICO which were conceived by G. Robert Blakey until 1973 when he switched to investigating political subversion.During this period, he hired Robert F. Kennedy as chief counsel and vaulted him into the national spotlight. McClellan investigated numerous cases of government corruption including numerous defense contractors and Texas financier Billie Sol Estes.

In his last Senate election in 1972, McClellan defeated fellow Democrat David Hampton Pryor, then a U.S. representative, by a narrow 52-48 margin in the party runoff. He then defeated the only Republican who ever ran against him, Wayne H. Babbitt, then a North Little Rock veterinarian, by a margin of 61-39 percent.

Personal life

In 1955, McClellan appeared as the "mystery guest" on the popular CBS TV game show "What's My Line?", where the blindfolded celebrity panelists had to guess his identity.

McClellan experienced many personal tragedies in his life. His second wife died of spinal meningitis in 1935 and his son Max died of the same disease while serving in Africa during World War II in 1943. His son John L. Jr. died in 1949 in an automobile accident. His son James H. died in a plane crash in 1958.

McClellan died in Little Rock, Arkansas in 1977 and was buried at Roselawn Memorial Park in Little Rock.The McClellan-Kerr Navigation System (maintained by the Army Corps of Engineers) on the Arkansas River is named in his honor. Ouachita Baptist University is the repository for his official papers.

External links

*imdb name|id=0565748|name=John Little McClellan
* [http://bioguide.congress.gov/scripts/biodisplay.pl?index=M000332 Congressional Biographical Directory.]
* [http://aolsvc.timeforkids.kol.aol.com/time/magazine/article/0,9171,824864,00.html The Man Behind The Frown TIME Magazine Story Of Senator John McClellan, May 27, 1957]
* [http://www.tv.com/whats-my-line/episode-245/episode/95202/summary.html TV.com's Episode Guide for "What's my Line" - Episode 245 with Senator John McCellan as myster guest.]


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