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Cactus Jack becomes vice president

March
04
1933

On this day in 1933, John Nance Garner of Texas left his position as speaker of the House to become vice president of the United States. Garner was born in 1868 in a log cabin near Detroit, Texas. He was admitted to the bar in 1890 and moved to Uvalde, where he joined the law firm of Clark and Fuller. Garner served as a county judge and as a state senator before heading for Washington as a congressman in 1903. During his early years in Congress he adhered to his number-one rule for success: get elected, stay there, and gain influence through seniority. By 1909 Garner had become party whip, and he became speaker of the House in 1931. He campaigned for president in 1932 and, after throwing his support to Franklin D. Roosevelt, became FDR's running mate. Garner was a master of congressional politics and helped get much of the early New Deal legislation enacted, but he ultimately split with Roosevelt and the liberals over the court-packing plan and the direction of the Democratic party. Garner became a leader of the conservative Democrats, and, though he was reelected vice president in 1936, he worked against further New Deal legislation. After retiring from public life in 1940, Garner spent the rest of his years in Uvalde in relative seclusion. He died in 1967, a few days before his ninety-ninth birthday.

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