Bronson M. Cutting, U.S. Senator

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Bronson Murray Cutting

Birthdate: (46)
Birthplace: Great River, Suffolk, NY, USA
Death: May 6, 1935 (46)
near Atlanta, Macon, MO, USA (TWA plane crash)
Place of Burial: Brooklyn, Kings, New York, United States
Immediate Family:

Son of William Bayard Cutting, Sr. and Olivia Peyton Peyton Cutting
Brother of William Cutting, Jr.; Justine Bayard Bayard Ward and Olivia M James

Occupation: US Senator for New Mexico.
Managed by: Private User
Last Updated:

About Bronson M. Cutting, U.S. Senator

Bronson Murray Cutting (June 23, 1888 – May 6, 1935) was a United States Senator from New Mexico, publisher, and military attaché.


Bronson Cutting was born in Great River, Long Island, New York, on June 23, 1888 at his family's country seat of Westbrook. He was the third of four children born to William Bayard Cutting (1850–1912) and Olivia Peyton Murray (1855–1949). He attended the common schools and Groton School and graduated from Harvard University in 1910. Shortly after graduation, he became an invalid and moved to Santa Fe at the advice of his doctors to restore his health. He became a newspaper publisher in 1912 and published the Santa Fe New Mexican and El Nuevo Mexicano. From 1912 to 1918 he served as president of the New Mexican Printing Company, and of the Santa Fe New Mexican Publishing Corporation from 1920 until his death.

During World War I, Cutting was commissioned a captain and served as an assistant Military Attaché of the American Embassy in London, England 1917-1918. He was regent of the New Mexico Military Institute in 1920 and served as chairman of the board of commissioners of the New Mexican State Penitentiary in 1925.

U.S. Senator

On December 29, 1927, he was appointed as a Republican to the United States Senate to fill the vacancy caused by the death of Andrieus A. Jones and served from December 29, 1927, until December 6, 1928, when a duly elected successor (Octaviano Ambrosio Larrazolo) qualified. He was not a candidate for election to this vacancy. However, his successor did not seek re-election, and Cutting was elected to the United States Senate as a Republican on November 6, 1928, and won reelection in 1934, winning an extremely close race (Cutting had 76,226 votes to Democrat Dennis Chavez's 74,944) in a failed year for Republicans.

He was a co-sponsor of the Hare-Hawes-Cutting Independence Act which aimed to grant the Philippine Islands a ten year commonwealth status with virtually full autonomy, to be followed by the recognition of Filipino independence. The bill was enacted over President Hoover's veto. However, the law was rejected by the Philippine legislature, and the Tydings-McDuffie Act (authored by Millard Tydings, a Maryland Democrat), was instead passed by Congress and accepted by the Filipino legislature.

Freedom of the press

Cutting raised the debate on the national level about the government's censorship powers. V ia tariff bills dating back to the nineteenth century, the U.S. government, through the Customs Service, had to power to confiscate "obscene" materials arriving to the country.[citation needed] A tariff bill introduced in 1929 sought to expand this power by modifying Section 305 to prohibit printed materials suggesting treason or threatening the life of the President. Senator Cutting, inspired by the complaints of a constituent, opposed the change and attacked Section 305 it its entirety as "irrational, unsound, and un-American." Through several impassioned speeches, Cutting suggested eliminating Section 305. Ultimately, he was forced to compromise and introduced an amendment removing the references to treason. The amendment passed by only two votes and Cutting received widespread public praise from publishers, librarians, booksellers, authors and civil liberties organizations.

As the tariff bill moved toward final confirmation, various Senators, notably Reed Smoot of Utah, attempted to restore Section 305 to its original state, while others proposed further draconian measures. Ultimately, portions of Smoot's amendments were combined with those of other Senators to create a compromise. Cutting's efforts to create a national debate about censorship were successful, but are now forgotten because the 1929 tariff bill became known as the Smoot-Hawley Tariff Act.

Death and legacy

On May 6, 1935, on his way from Albuquerque to Washington D.C., Cutting died in the crash of a TWA Douglas DC-2 in bad weather near Atlanta, Missouri.

Senator Cutting's death was to have national impact in that it would lead Congress to commission the highly controversial Copeland Committee Report on air traffic safety.

Dennis Chavez, who had been Cutting's Democratic opponent in 1934, was appointed by the governor to fill Cutting's seat in the Senate. Subsequent to his early death, his mother Olivia Bayard Cutting was offered the standard $10,000 appropriation as a statesman’s next of kin, which she refused. As an emblematic proud Republican, she believed it was neither proper nor fair for a family of their affluence and stature to take tax-payers' dollars.

Cutting is perhaps best known as a prominent Anglo who sought to bring Hispanic voters into the political mainstream prior to the New Deal, and for maintaining correspondence with the controversial poet Ezra Pound in the 1930s.

Cutting is interred in Green-Wood Cemetery in the borough of Brooklyn.

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Bronson M. Cutting, U.S. Senator's Timeline

June 23, 1888
Great River, Suffolk, NY, USA
May 6, 1935
Age 46
near Atlanta, Macon, MO, USA
Brooklyn, Kings, New York, United States