About Millard Evelyn Tydings
Millard Evelyn Tydings (April 6, 1890 – February 9, 1961) was an attorney, author, soldier, state legislator, and served as a Democratic Representative and Senator in the United States Congress from Maryland, serving in the Senate from 1927 to 1951.
Early life and education
Tydings was born in Havre de Grace, located in Harford County. He attended the public schools of Harford County and graduated from Maryland Agricultural College (now the University of Maryland, College Park) in 1910. He engaged in civil engineering with the Baltimore and Ohio Railroad in West Virginia in 1911. He studied law at the University of Maryland School of Law, in Baltimore, and was admitted to the bar; he started practice in Havre de Grace in 1913.
In 1916 Tydings was elected to the Maryland House of Delegates; he was elected as Speaker of the House by his colleagues from 1920-1922. He served in the Maryland State Senate during 1922-1923.
Tydings served in the U.S. Army during World War I and was promoted to Lieutenant Colonel and Division Machine-gun Officer in 1918. He served in Germany with the Army of Occupation and was discharged from the service in 1919.
House and Senate career
In 1922, Tydings was elected as a Democrat to the 68th session of the US Congress, and was re-elected to the 69th session, representing the second district of Maryland (March 4, 1923-March 3, 1927) in the House of Representatives. He was not a candidate for renomination in 1926, having become a candidate for the United States Senate.
He was elected to the Senate in 1926, 1932, 1938 and 1944, and served from March 4, 1927, to January 3, 1951. With Alabama Representative John McDuffie, he co-sponsored the Philippine Independence Act, commonly known as the Tydings-McDuffie Act, which established an autonomous 10-year Commonwealth status for the Philippines. It was planned to culminate in the withdrawal of American sovereignty and the recognition of Philippine Independence.
In January 1934, Tydings introduced a resolution "condemning Nazi oppression of Jews in Germany, and asking President Roosevelt to inform the Hitler government that this country was profoundly distressed about its antisemitic measures." His resolution was bottled up in the Senate Foreign Relations Committee.
In 1936, Senator Tydings introduced a bill in Congress calling for independence for Puerto Rico, but it was opposed by Luis Munoz Marin, an influential leader of the Liberal Party. All the Puerto Rican parties supported the bill. Tydings did not gain passage of the bill. (The US senator had co-sponsored the Tydings-McDuffie Act , which provided independence to the Philippines after a 10-year transition under a limited autonomy.)
During his time in the Senate, Tydings was well known for taking principled, controversial, often unusual stands on various issues. He opposed the New Deal due to his fiscal conservatism, and proposed a constitutional amendment requiring the federal budget to be balanced at all times. He was a strong critic of Prohibition prior to its repeal in 1933.
Following the end of World War II, when the US dropped two atomic bombs on Japan, Tydings sponsored a bill calling for the U.S. to lead the world in nuclear disarmament.
In 1950, he headed a committee, generally known as the Tydings Committee, to investigate Joseph McCarthy's early claims of Communist penetration of the federal government and military. The hearings revolved around McCarthy's charge that the fall of the Kuomintang regime in China had been caused by the actions of alleged Soviet spies in the State Department, and his allegation that the Sinologist Owen Lattimore was a "top Russian agent." The hearings, held from March to July 1950, were extremely stormy as charge was met with counter-charge; they attracted much media attention, especially after Louis F. Budenz entered the proceedings as a surprise witness supporting McCarthy's charges. The committee published a report denouncing McCarthy and his claims as a hoax.
When Tydings ran for re-election in 1950, McCarthy's staff distributed a composite picture of Tydings with Earl Browder, the former leader of the American Communist Party. Tydings had never met him before Browder testified in July 1950. The composite photo merged a 1938 photo of Tydings listening to the radio and a 1940 photo of Browder delivering a speech; the text under the composite photo stated that when Browder had testified before Tydings's committee, Tydings had said, "Thank you, sir." Although the quote was technically accurate, it was generally held to be misleading, as it implied a degree of amity between Browder and Tydings that did not exist.
Browder had been subpoenaed to appear before the committee and had been most reluctant to answer questions about allegations of Communist infiltration of the US government. As a result, Tydings and Browder had clashed a number of times, and Tydings's courtesy had come after a lengthy exchange in which Browder had initially refused to answer a question about whether two diplomats had been members of the American Communist Party. In the 1950 election, Tydings was defeated by John Marshall Butler. He was nominated in 1956 as the Democratic candidate for his district for the Senate, but withdrew before the election for health reasons.
During his congressional service, Tydings was chairman of the United States Senate Committee on Territories and Insular Affairs (73rd through 79th Congresses), the Subcommittee on the Investigation of Loyalty of State Department Employees ("Tydings Subcommittee") (81st Congress), and the U.S. Senate Committee on Armed Services (81st Congress).
Death and legacy
Millard E. Tydings died at his farm, "Oakington," near Havre de Grace, Maryland. He was buried in Angel Hill Cemetery. His gravestone incorrectly gives his Senate election year (1926) as the start of his Senate service, which began in 1927.
The Millard E. Tydings Memorial Bridge, which carries Interstate 95 across the Susquehanna River, is named in his honor.
Millard E. Tydings Hall at the University of Maryland, College Park, which houses the departments of Government & Politics and Economics, is named for him.
His son, Joe Tydings, was elected to a term as a US Senator from Maryland, serving from 1965-1971.
His granddaughter Alexandra Tydings is an actress.