Vance Muse, business executive and lobbyist, son of Henry and Henrietta (Harris) Muse, was born at Moran, Texas, on January 6, 1890. After completing his education in the Cleburne public schools he worked in a variety of jobs in Fort Worth and West Texas, including service as a Fort Worth Chamber of Commerce executive from 1917 to 1919. During this time he also became involved in numerous conservative organizations. His association with Texas lumberman John Henry Kirby resulted in Muse's support for higher tariffs. Muse, with his sister Ida Darden, also worked with Kirby and other businessmen to raise money to fight the Adamson Act of 1916, which gave railroad workers an eight-hour day, and to oppose the business-reform legislation of fellow Democrat Woodrow Wilson. In the 1920s Muse, Kirby, and others lobbied for instituting a national sales tax and for eliminating gift taxes. From 1926 to 1933 Muse served as the leader of a national group that sponsored the Mellon Plan of taxation, an attempt to prohibit Congress from taxing individual incomes in excess of 25 percent. Efforts at raising taxes were highly controversial. In 1934 Muse and Kirby organized the Southern Committee to Uphold the Constitution, financed mostly by the DuPonts and other northern industrial interests, in an effort to prevent Franklin D. Roosevelt's reelection. Two years later Muse was the leading organizer of Christian Americans, a group he formed to combat what he perceived as radicalism and subversive influences throughout the country. He believed that organized labor in the United States was the source of much communistic influence, and thus he led Christian Americans to support the antiunion movement. During and shortly after World War II, when laws to regulate and curb unions were passed in Texas and other southern states, Muse was a leading lobbyist in this effort. The Christian Americans worked for passage of right-to-work laws in sixteen states; the group's lobbying efforts were investigated by the Texas legislature in 1945, but the organization was cleared of all charges of misconduct. Muse died on October 15, 1950, at his Houston home, where his efforts with the Christian Americans had originated. At the time of his death he was working on a right-to-work amendment to the federal Constitution. He is buried in Fort Worth. He was survived by his wife, Marie (Buckingham), whom he married on November 6, 1912, and two sons.
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George N. Green, The Establishment in Texas Politics (Westport, Connecticut: Greenwood, 1979). Houston Post, October 17, 1950. Who's Who in America, 1950–51.
Dallas/Fort Worth Region
The following, adapted from the Chicago Manual of Style, 15th edition, is the preferred citation for this entry.
George N. Green,
Handbook of Texas Online,
accessed May 29, 2022,
Published by the Texas State Historical Association.
Original Publication Date:
May 1, 1995
Most Recent Revision Date:
November 28, 2020
This entry belongs to the following Handbook Special Projects: