Warren G. Magnuson and the Shaping of Twentieth-Century America

Shelby Scates

  • Published: September 2015
  • Subject Listing: History / Western History; Politics
  • Bibliographic information: 403 pp., 49 bandw photos, 6 x 9 in.
  • Published with: Center for the Study of the Pacific Northwest
  • Series: Emil and Kathleen Sick Book Series in Western History and Biography
  • Contents

Warren G. Magnuson served as U.S. senator from the state of Washington for six terms. The sheer sweep of his accomplishments is astonishing: authoring the Civil Rights Act, protecting Puget Sound, saving Boeing for Seattle, championing consumer protection legislation, reorganizing the railroads, and godfathering the electrification of teh Pacific Northwest by pressing for Columbia and Snake River dams. He pushed federal aid to education, which holding down Pentagon budgets, and established the National Institues of Health (and kept research funds flowing liberally) while arguing throughout the McCarthy era against U.S. isolation from China. He did much more. But he was also a boon whiskey-and-poker companion to Presidents Roosevelt, Truman, Kennedy, and Johnson.

Shelby Scates traces Magnuson's life from his early years in the Fargo/Moorhead region of the upper Midwest to his death in Seattle in 1989 at age eighty-four. During a political career that spanned five decades, he was a member of the Washington State Legislature, a King County prosecutor, a U.S. congressman from 1936 to 1944, and a member of the Senate from 1944 to 1981.

Senator Eugene McCarthy described Magnuson as the "most loved member" of the U.S. Senate, and this book reveals him at work there: a man not seeking the spotlight, not aspiring to be president, but enjoying what he called the "kitchenwork" of legislation done in the committee rooms, workrooms, and corridors of Congress; a man who would say, "Forget the grudge. Forgive," and be the best example of that advice. He avoided pointless confrontations, made friends in both major political parties and kept them, and had near flawless timing about when to make a political move. Magnuson created legislation that helped define twentieth-century America by increasing civil rights, mandating corporate accountability, and funding medical research.
Seattle, May 24, 1989
Seattle, 1925
Mr. Smooth
Young Man in a Hurry
New Deal, New World, the "Soviet of Washington"
Mr. Magnuson Goes to Washington
"Ensign" Magnuson
Adonis from Congress
Horses, Flaxseed, and Dutiful Son
Commander Magnuson
War, Politics, and McGoozle
Senator Magnuson
The "Pol's Pol," the Playboy's Playboy
Cold War, Monkey Business
Maggie, Scoop, and Overdrafts
The Sinner and the Saint
American Prime Time
Camelot and Comeback
Triumph, Cuba, and Trouble
Civil Rights: The Whole Load of Hay Falls on Maggie
The Sixties
"Scoop and Maggie"
The Prime of Public Interest
The Great Dictator
A Time to Go
Coming Home: The Green Light