113 Facts About William Borah


William Edgar Borah was an outspoken Republican United States Senator, one of the best-known figures in Idaho's history.

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William Borah was born in rural Illinois to a large farming family.

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William Borah studied at the University of Kansas and became a lawyer in that state before seeking greater opportunities in Idaho.

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William Borah quickly rose in the law and in state politics, and after a failed run for the House of Representatives in 1896 and one for the United States Senate in 1903, was elected to the Senate in 1907.

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William Borah reluctantly voted for war in 1917 and, once it concluded, he fought against the Versailles treaty, and the Senate did not ratify it.

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William Borah campaigned for Herbert Hoover in 1928, something he rarely did for presidential candidates and never did again.

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William Borah ran for the Republican nomination for president in 1936, but party regulars were not inclined to allow a longtime maverick to head the ticket.

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William Borah died in 1940; his statue, presented by the state of Idaho in 1947, stands in the National Statuary Hall Collection.

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William Edgar Borah was born in Jasper Township, Illinois, near Fairfield in Wayne County.

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William Borah's parents were farmers Elizabeth and William Nathan Borah.

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William Borah was distantly related to Katharina von Bora, the Catholic nun who left her convent in the 16th century and married reformer Martin Luther.

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When William Borah exhausted its rudimentary resources, his father sent him in 1881 to Southern Illinois Academy, a Cumberland Presbyterian academy at Enfield, to train for the ministry.

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William Borah ran away from home with an itinerant Shakespearean company, but his father persuaded him to return.

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William Borah initially worked as a teacher, but became so engrossed in historical topics at the town library that he was ill-prepared for class; he and the school parted ways.

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William Borah was working his way through college, but his plans were scuttled when he contracted tuberculosis in early 1887.

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William Borah had to return to Lyons, where his sister nursed him to health, and he began to read law under his brother-in-law Lasley's supervision.

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William Borah passed the bar examination in September 1887, and went into partnership with his brother-in-law.

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William Borah gained an unasked-for dismissal when the judge decided that killing a Chinese male was at worst manslaughter.

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William Borah served as political secretary to Governor William J McConnell.

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William Borah took the jury to the train line and demonstrated how Corcoran could have acted.

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William Borah drew on his skills as a teenage rail rider to ride the top of the train, and jump from it to the platform without injury.

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William Borah was pardoned in 1901, after Steunenberg left office.

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William Borah gained wide acclaim for his dramatic prosecution of the case.

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William Borah ran for the House of Representatives that year, but knew that with the silver vote split between himself and a Democrat-Populist fusion candidate, he had little chance of winning.

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William Borah concentrated on making speeches aimed at gaining a legislature that would re-elect Dubois—until 1913, state legislatures chose senators.

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In 1898, William Borah supported the Spanish–American War and remained loyal to the Silver Republicans.

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The 1902 Idaho state Republican convention showed that William Borah had, likely, the most support among the people, but the choice of senator was generally dictated by the caucus of the majority party in the legislature.

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William Borah decided to seek the seat of Senator Dubois when it was filled by the legislature in early 1907.

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At the state convention at Pocatello in 1904, William Borah made a speech in support of the election of Theodore Roosevelt for a full term as president, which was widely applauded.

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The result was that William Borah attacked Dubois for anti-Mormonism in both 1904 and 1906, which played well in the heavily Mormon counties in southeast Idaho.

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William Borah campaigned to end the caucus's role in selecting the Republican nominee for Senate, arguing that it should be decided by the people, in a convention.

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William Borah drafted a resolution based on the one passed by the 1858 Illinois Republican convention that had endorsed Abraham Lincoln for Senate in his unsuccessful race against Stephen Douglas.

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Dubois was the Democratic choice, and William Borah campaigned in support of President Roosevelt, argued that Republicans had brought the nation prosperity, and urged law and order.

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William Borah, who viewed Steunenberg as a father figure, was among the prominent Idahoans who hurried to Caldwell, and who viewed Steunenberg's shattered body and the bloodstained snow.

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Roosevelt took a wait-and-see attitude, upsetting William Borah, who considered resigning his Senate seat even if exonerated.

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When William Borah went to Washington for the Senate's regular session in December 1907, he was immediately a figure of note, not only for the dramatic events in Idaho but for keeping his Western habits, including wearing a ten-gallon hat.

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William Borah said that their alleged actions were as wrongful as the murder of Steunenberg.

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Republican leaders had heard that William Borah was an attorney for corporations, who had prosecuted labor leaders; they believed him sympathetic to their Old Guard positions and assigned him to important committees.

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William Borah believed in the rights of unions, so long as they did not commit violent acts.

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When William Borah staked out progressive positions after his swearing-in, Rhode Island Senator Nelson Aldrich, the powerful chairman of the Senate Finance Committee, hoped to put pressure on him through the Westerner's corporate clients, only to find that he had given up those representations before coming to Washington.

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William Borah became one of a growing number of progressive Republicans in the Senate.

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Yet, William Borah often opposed liberal legislation, finding fault with it or fearing it would increase the power of the federal government.

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William Borah had a hand in the other constitutional amendment to be ratified in 1913, the Seventeenth Amendment, providing for the direct election of senators by the people.

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William Borah promoted the amendment in the Senate in 1911 and 1912 until it passed Congress and, after a year, it was ratified by the states.

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William Borah opposed Taft over a number of issues and in March 1912 announced his support of the candidacy of Roosevelt over Taft for the Republican presidential nomination.

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William Borah was Idaho's Republican National Committeeman and was one of those designated by the Roosevelt campaign to fight for it on the RNC.

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William Borah was among those who tried to find a compromise candidate, and was spoken of for that role, but all such efforts failed.

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William Borah generally approved of many of Wilson's proposals, but found reasons to vote against them.

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William Borah voted against the Federal Reserve Act of 1913, after gaining a concession that no banker would initially be appointed to the Federal Reserve Board.

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William Borah believed monopolies, public and private, should be broken up, and believed the new Federal Trade Commission would prove a means for trusts to control their regulators; he voted against the bill and stated he would not support confirmation of the first commissioners.

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The Clayton Antitrust Act, William Borah opined, was merely a means by which Congress could appear to be dealing with the trusts without actually doing so.

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In 1913 and early 1914, William Borah clashed with Wilson and his Secretary of State, Bryan, over Latin American policy.

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William Borah was disquieted when Wilson permitted credits to Great Britain and France after refusing them loans, as the credits served the same purpose, furthering the war.

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William Borah was vigilant in support of the neutral rights of the United States, and was outraged both by the 1915 sinking of the Lusitania by the Germans and by infringements against Americans by British forces.

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William Borah was spoken of as a possible candidate for president in 1916, but gained little support: the Old Guard disliked him almost as much as they did Roosevelt, while others questioned whether a man so free from the discipline of the party could lead its ranks.

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William Borah did work behind the scenes to find a candidate that would reunite the Republicans and holdout Progressives: a member of a joint committee of the two parties' conventions to seek re-unification, Borah achieved a friendly reception when he addressed the Progressive convention.

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William Borah campaigned for the Republican presidential candidate, but Wilson narrowly won re-election.

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William Borah made it clear that in his view, the U S was going in to defend its own rights and had no common interest with the Allies beyond the defeat of the Central Powers.

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William Borah repeated this often through the war: the United States sought no territory, and had no interest in French and British desires for territory and colonies.

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William Borah's term was to expire in 1919; never a wealthy person and hard-hit by the high cost of living in wartime Washington, he considered leaving the Senate and practicing law in a major New York firm.

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William Borah received two-thirds of the vote in his bid for a third term, while former governor Gooding narrowly won Brady's seat.

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William Borah decided to oppose Wilson's plan despite his personal admiration for the president.

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William Borah took pains, throughout the battle, to stress that he had opposed the principle of a league before it became a partisan issue; according to McKenna, in William Borah's League fight, "of partisanship, jealousy, or personal hostility there is no trace".

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Week after Wilson presented the treaty, William Borah declined an invitation to the White House extended to him and other Senate and House members on the foreign relations committees, alleging there was no chance of common ground, though he wrote to Wilson's private secretary that no insult was intended.

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The Irreconcilables argued that this would commit the U S to war without its consent; Borah stated that the U S might be forced to send thousands of men if there was conflict in Armenia.

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William Borah helped write the majority report for the committee, recommending 45 amendments and 4 reservations.

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William Borah, delighted, proclaimed the day the greatest since the end of the Civil War.

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William Borah, threatening party schism, met with Lodge behind closed doors, and Lodge withdrew his plan.

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Idaho had given women the right to vote in 1896, and William Borah was a firm supporter of woman's suffrage.

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William Borah voted against the proposed amendment when it came up for a vote in 1914, and it did not pass.

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William Borah was determined to see that the Republican presidential candidate in 1920 was not pro-League.

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William Borah supported his fellow Irreconcilable, California Senator Hiram Johnson, who had been Roosevelt's running mate in 1912.

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William Borah alleged bribery on the part of the leading candidate for the Republican nomination, General Leonard Wood, and was snubbed when he demanded to know the League views of Wood's main rival, Illinois Governor Frank Lowden.

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Nevertheless, William Borah strongly endorsed Harding and his running mate, Massachusetts Governor Calvin Coolidge, who were victorious.

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William Borah later stated he would have left the Senate had Harding lost.

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William Borah proved as idiosyncratic as ever in his views with Harding as president.

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William Borah stated that Taft, at 63, was too old and as a politician had been absent for decades from the practice of law.

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In 1922 and 1923, William Borah spoke against passage of the Dyer Anti-Lynching Bill, which had passed the House.

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William Borah met with Coolidge multiple times in late 1923, and found the new president interested in his ideas on policies foreign and domestic.

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William Borah was encouraged when Coolidge included in his annual message to Congress a suggestion that he might open talks with the Soviet Union on trade—the Bolshevik government had not been recognized since the 1917 October Revolution and William Borah had long urged relations.

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William Borah could have become Judiciary Committee chairman instead, as the death of Frank Brandegee of Connecticut made Borah senior Republican on that committee as well.

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William Borah continued to oppose American interventions in Latin America, often splitting from the Republican majority over the matter.

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William Borah was an avid horseback rider, and Coolidge is supposed to have commented after viewing him exercising in Rock Creek Park that it "must bother the Senator to be going in the same direction as his horse".

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William Borah was involved through the 1920s in efforts for the outlawry of war.

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Maddox suggested that Borah was most enthusiastic about this plan when he needed it as a constructive alternative to defeat actions such as entry into the World Court, that he deemed entangling the U S abroad.

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In December 1927, William Borah introduced a resolution calling for a multilateral version of Briand's proposal, and once the Kellogg–Briand Pact was negotiated and signed by various nations, secured ratification for that treaty by the Senate.

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William Borah hoped to be elected president in 1928, but his only chance was a deadlocked Republican convention.

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William Borah was a strong backer of Prohibition, and the fact that Hoover was another "dry" influenced William Borah in his support; the senator disliked the Democratic candidate, New York Governor Al Smith, an opponent of Prohibition, considering him a creature of Tammany Hall.

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William Borah offered to make Borah Secretary of State, though deploring the loss to the Senate, but Borah declined.

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William Borah was not personally harmed by the stock market crash of October 1929, having sold any stocks and invested in government bonds.

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William Borah considered their presence intimidating to Congress, but was angered when they were forcibly dispersed.

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William Borah considered challenging Hoover for renomination in 1932, but concluded the president's control over the party machinery, especially in the South, could not be overcome.

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William Borah disagreed with the platform of the 1932 Republican National Convention over Prohibition; after the party passed a vague compromise plank and renominated Hoover, William Borah made a major address on June 20, gaining nationwide attention by attacking his party's platform for forty minutes.

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William Borah made speeches discussing issues, not candidates, and did nothing to aid Hoover's doomed campaign against Franklin D Roosevelt.

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When some Idahoans demanded that he support Hoover on pain of being opposed for renomination for Senate in 1936, William Borah responded that he regretted if his quarter century in the Senate had left them with the impression he might be moved by such an ultimatum.

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William Borah opposed Roosevelt's calling in of gold, alleging that the government had no power to tell individuals what to do with their money.

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William Borah opposed the National Recovery Act and was gratified when it was struck down by the Supreme Court in 1935.

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William Borah's fifteen-year fight for the recognition of the USSR ended in 1933 when Roosevelt opened diplomatic relations.

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William Borah ran for the Republican nomination for president in 1936, the first from Idaho to do so.

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William Borah's candidacy was opposed by the conservative Republican leadership.

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William Borah praised Roosevelt for some of his policies, and deeply criticized the Republican Party.

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William Borah was opposed by the Republican organization, which sought to dilute his strength in the primaries by running state favorite son candidates in order to ensure a brokered convention.

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William Borah refused to endorse the eventual candidate, Kansas Governor Alf Landon, leading some to believe William Borah might cross party lines and support Roosevelt.

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William Borah was on the ballot that fall in Idaho, seeking a sixth term in the Senate.

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Only sixteen Republicans remained in the Senate, most progressives, when Congress met in January 1937, but William Borah retained much influence as he was liked and respected by Democrats.

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William Borah opposed large-scale immigration by Jews from Germany, feeling that was "impractical with millions of Americans unemployed".

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William Borah sought to visit Germany and see Hitler, hoping to settle the troubled international situation.

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William Borah approached the German Embassy in Washington through intermediaries, and the Germans approved the trip, and even offered to pay, something Borah was unwilling to accept.

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William Borah had an affair with his close friend Alice Roosevelt Longworth, the eldest child of Theodore Roosevelt.

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William Borah was the biological father of her daughter, Paulina Longworth Sturm .

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William Borah was the subject of a 1963 episode, "The Lion of Idaho", of the syndicated television anthology series Death Valley Days.

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William Borah was the archetype of absolute insistence on unfettered national will that has been loosely described as isolationism.

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Criticism of William Borah meant little to the people of Idaho, who sent him to the Senate six times over thirty years in a rapidly changing America.

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