Arthur V. Watkins, U.S. Senator

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Arthur Vivian Watkins

Birthdate:
Birthplace: Midway, Wasatch, Utah, United States
Death: Died in Orem, Utah, Utah, United States
Place of Burial: Orem, Utah, Utah, United States
Immediate Family:

Son of Arthur Watkins and Emily Adelia Watkins
Husband of Andrea Watkins
Father of Jeanene Scott
Brother of Avis Chisam

Occupation: U. S. Senator
Managed by: Private User
Last Updated:
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Immediate Family

About Arthur V. Watkins, U.S. Senator

Watkins attended Brigham Young University, 1903-1906, and New York University, 1909-1910. He graduated from Columbia University Law School, and was admitted to the bar the same year and commenced practice in Vernal, Utah.

He engaged in newspaper work in 1914 ((The Voice of Sharon, which eventually became the Orem-Geneva Times, a weekly newspaper in Utah County) and became assistant county attorney of Salt Lake County in 1914. He engaged in agricultural pursuits 1919-1925 with a 600-acre ranch near Lehi.

Watkins served as district judge of the Fourth Judicial District of Utah 1928-1933, losing in the Roosevelt landslide in 1932. An unsuccessful candidate for the Republican nomination to the Seventy-fifth Congress in 1936, he was elected as a Republican to the United States Senate in 1946, reelected in 1952 and served from January 3, 1947, to January 3, 1959. An elder in The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints, Watkins was widely respected in Utah.

In 1954, Watkins chaired the committee that investigated the actions of Wisconsin Senator Joseph McCarthy over whether his conduct as Senator merited censure or not. As Chairman, Watkins barred Television cameras from the hearings, and refused to allow outbursts from McCarthy. When in September 1954, McCarthy appeared before the Watkins committee, and started to attack Watkins, Watkins had McCarthy expelled from the room. Watkins's actions led McCarthy to exclaim that "It was the most unheard of thing I've heard of". The committee recommended the censure of Sen. McCarthy. Initially, the committee proposed to censure McCarthy over his attack on General Ralph Zwicker and various Senators, but Watkins had the charge of censure for the attack on General Zwicker dropped. The censure charges related only to McCarthy's attacks on other Senators, and pointedly excluded from criticism McCarthy's attacks on whose outside of the Senate.

McCarthy's anti-communist rhetoric was very popular with Utah's electorate, however. Former Utah Governor J. Bracken Lee took the opportunity to oppose Watkins for the nomination in the 1958 senatorial election. Though Watkins won the Republican primary, Lee ran as an independent in the general election, splitting the Republican vote and allowing Democrat Frank E. Moss to win the seat. Lee went on to a long career as mayor of Salt Lake City; Moss served three terms, losing to Orrin Hatch in 1976.

Watkins also served as chair of the Senate Interior Committee Subcommittee on Indian Affairs. He advocated termination of Indian Tribal Entities in order to integrate tribal members into the rest of American life.

Watkins the strongest proponent for termination called his pet policy the "freeing of the Indian from wardship status" and equated it with the Emancipation Proclamation, which freed slaves during the Civil War. Watkins was the driving force behind termination, and his position as chairman of the Senate Subcommittee on Indian Affairs gave him tremendous leverage in determining the direction of federal Indian policy. His most important achievement came in 1953 with passage of House Concurrent Resolution No. 108, which stated that termination would be the federal government's ongoing policy. Passage of the resolution did not actually terminate any tribes. That had to be accomplished one tribe at a time by specific legislation. The Bureau of Indian Affairs began to assemble a list of tribes believed to have the economic prosperity needed to sustain themselves after termination, and at the top of the list was the Menominee Tribe of Wisconsin. One reason the BIA chose the Menominee was that the tribe had successful forestry and lumbering operations that the BIA believed could support the tribe economically. Congress passed an act in 1954 that officially called for the termination of the Menominee as a federally recognized Indian tribe.

Termination for the Menominee did not happen immediately. Instead, the 1954 act set in motion a process that would lead to termination. The Menominee were not comfortable with the idea, but they had recently won a case against the government for mismanagement of their forestry enterprises, and the $8.5 million award was tied to their proposed termination. Watkins personally visited the Menominee and said they would be terminated whether they liked it or not, and if they wanted to see their $8.5 million, they had to cooperate with the federal government. Given this high-handed and coercive threat, the tribal council reluctantly agreed.

After he left the Senate he served as a member of the U.S. Indian Claims Commission from 1959 to 1967. He retired to Salt Lake City, and in 1973, to Orem.

In 1969 Watkins published a book of his investigation of McCarthy, Enough Rope: The Inside Story of the Censure of Senator Joe McCarthy by his Colleagues: The Controversial Hearings that Signaled the End of a Turbulent Career and a Fearsome Era in American Public Life, (Englewood Cliffs, New Jersey: Prentice-Hall, 1969).

A project of the U.S. Bureau of Reclamation, the Arthur V. Watkins Dam north of Ogden, Utah, creates Willard Bay off of the Great Salt Lake.

His son, Arthur R. Watkins, taught German at Brigham Young University for over 25 years.

Bibliography

American National Biography ; Dictionary of American Biography ; Watkins, Arthur. Enough Rope: The Inside Story of the Censure of Senator Joe McCarthy by his Colleagues . Englewood Cliffs, N.J.: Prentice-Hall, 1969.

Metcalf, R. Warren. “Arthur V. Watkins and the Indians of Utah: A Study of Federal Termination Policy.” Ph.D. dissertation, Arizona State University, 1995.

Watkins, Arthur V. Enough Rope: The Inside Story of the Censure of Senator Joe McCarthy by his Colleagues: The Controversial Hearings that Signaled the End of a Turbulent Career and a Fearsome Era in American Public Life . Englewood Cliffs, NJ: Prentice-Hall, 1969.

___. “War by Executive Order.” The Western Political Quarterly . Vol. iv, no. 4 (December 1951): 539-549.

Arthur V. Watkins, Enough Rope (1969). Patricia L. Scott.

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WATKINS, Arthur Vivian, 1886-1973

   --------------------------------------------------------------------------------
   Years of Service: 1947-1959
   Party: Republican
   WATKINS, Arthur Vivian, a Senator from Utah; born in Midway, Wasatch County, Utah, December 18, 1886; attended the public schools, Brigham Young University, Provo, Utah, 1903-1906, and New York University, New York City, 1909-1910; graduated from Columbia University Law School, New York City, in 1912; was admitted to the bar the same year and commenced practice in Vernal, Utah; engaged in newspaper work in 1914; assistant county attorney of Salt Lake County 1914-1915; engaged in agricultural pursuits 1919-1925; district judge of the fourth judicial district of Utah 1928-1933; unsuccessful candidate for the Republican nomination to the Seventy-fifth Congress in 1936; elected as a Republican to the United States Senate in 1946 and reelected in 1952 and served from January 3, 1947, to January 3, 1959; was an unsuccessful candidate for reelection in 1958; chairman, Select Committee on the Censure of Joseph McCarthy (Eighty-third Congress), co-chairman, Joint Committee on Navaho-Hopi Indian Administration (Eighty-third Congress), Joint Committee on Immigration and Naturalization Policy (Eighty-third Congress); member of the Indian Claims Commission, Washington, D.C., from August 1959, until retirement in September 1967; author; was a resident of Salt Lake City until he moved to Orem, Utah, in 1973 where he died September 1, 1973; interment in Eastlawn Memorial Hills.
   Bibliography
   American National Biography; Dictionary of American Biography; Watkins, Arthur. Enough Rope: The inside Story of the Censure of Senator Joe McCarthy by his Colleagues. Englewood Cliffs, N.J.: Prentice-Hall, 1969.

[source: Title: LDS Biographical Encyclopedia

Author: Andrew Jenson

ABBR LDS Biographical Encyclopedia

_MASTER Y

Page: Vol. 4, p.615

Text: Watkins, Arthur Vivian, president of the Sharon Stake, Utah, from 1929 to 1930+, was born Dec. 18, 1886, in Midway, Wasarch Co., Utah, a son of Arthur Watkins and Emily A. Gerber. He was baptized when about eight years old, ordained to the Priesthood, filled a mission to the Eastern States, and was set apart as president Sept. 14, 1929, by Stephen L. Richards.]

In 1959, Arthur sought appointment as a Federal Judge:

Document #990; January 2, 1959

To Arthur Vivian Watkins

Series: EM, WHCF, Official File 102-R

The Papers of Dwight David Eisenhower, Volume XIX - The Presidency: Keeping the Peace

Part VI: Setbacks; November 1958 to February 1959

Chapter 15: "Debate is the breath of life"

Dear Arthur: I am complimented by the kind things you say in your letter of December twenty-third; I am even more gratified that you had the confidence in my own feeling of friendship and respect for your character and capabilities that you could, without embarrassment, request consideration for Federal appointment.1

Frankly, I should very much like to see an individual of your standing on the Court of Claims. The real obstacle to such an appointment is the matter of age. Not only have I observed over the past six years the policy of avoiding the appointment of any individual to the Federal bench after he has attained the age of 62, but we have on the books a law that allows the retirement of judges at the age of 70. It seems quite inconsistent to appoint someone who has already attained that age.2

I cannot tell you how much I regret to have to reply in this fashion. It is possible that there may occur some other type of vacancy in which the matter of age would not be a stumbling block, but which would at the same time be a challenge to your demonstrated qualities. I shall instruct General Persons to watch for such possibilities and if any occur, to contact you promptly.3

I should like to say again that in the next session of the Congress I will miss you and the support that I always counted on from you when any serious question was up for discussion. Needless to say, my best wishes for the health and happiness of yourself and your family are with you always.

With warm regard, Sincerely

   1 Watkins, Republican Senator from Utah since 1947, had been defeated in his bid for reelection in November 1958. In his December 23 letter (same file as document), he wrote of his "great pride in having been a part of the Republican Team" during the Eisenhower Administration, and thanked the President for "the many courtesies" and "the cooperation and great help you have given my state and the region in which it is located." He had asked for an appointment to the U.S. Court of Claims.
   2 Watkins, born on December 18, 1886, had just turned seventy-two. See also nos. 593 and 638.
   3 Eisenhower would appoint Watkins to the Indian Claims Commission on August 15, 1959.

Bibliographic reference to this document:

Eisenhower, Dwight D. To Arthur Vivian Watkins, 2 January 1959. In The Papers of Dwight David Eisenhower, ed. L. Galambos and D. van Ee, doc. 990. World Wide Web facsimile by The Dwight D. Eisenhower Memorial Commission of the print edition; Baltimore, MD: The Johns Hopkins University Press, 1996

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Arthur V. Watkins, U.S. Senator's Timeline

1886
December 18, 1886
Midway, Wasatch, Utah, United States
1929
June 30, 1929
Age 42
Orem, Utah County, UT, USA
1973
September 1, 1973
Age 86
Orem, Utah, Utah, United States
September 3, 1973
Age 86
Orem, Utah, Utah, United States
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