Scott W. Lucas, U.S. Senator

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Scott Wike Lucas

Birthplace: near Chandlerville, Cass, IL, United States
Death: February 22, 1968 (76)
Rocky Mt, Edgecombe, NC, United States
Immediate Family:

Son of William D. Lucas and Sarah Lucas

Managed by: Private User
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Immediate Family

About Scott W. Lucas, U.S. Senator

Scott Wike Lucas (February 19, 1892 – February 22, 1968) was an American attorney and politician. A member of the Democratic Party, he represented Illinois in the U.S. House of Representatives (1935-1939) and the U.S. Senate (1939-1951). He was the Senate Majority Leader from 1948 to 1950.

Early life and career

Scott Lucas was born on a tenant farm near Chandlerville, in Cass County, Illinois. He was the youngest of six children of William Douglas and Sarah Catherine (née Underbrink) Lucas. His parents named him after Scott Wike, a Democrat who served as a U.S. Representative from Illinois (1875-1877, 1889-1893).[3] After attending public schools, he began his studies at Illinois Wesleyan University. During college, he was active in athletics; he lettered in football, basketball, and baseball, and played semiprofessional baseball in the Three-I League during his summer breaks.

Lucas graduated from Wesleyan with a law degree in 1914, and was admitted to the bar the following year. He served as a schoolteacher before entering private practice in Havana. During World War I, he served in the U.S. Army and rose to become a lieutenant. Lucas returned to his law practice following his military service, and served as a state's attorney for Mason County from 1920 to 1925. He also worked as a commander of the Illinois Department of the American Legion. In 1932, he was defeated by William H. Dieterich for the Democratic nomination to challenge Republican incumbent Otis F. Glenn for a United States Senate seat from Illinois. Lucas was later appointed chairman of State Tax Commission by Governor Henry Horner, serving from 1933 to 1935.

Congressional career


In 1934, following the death of Speaker of the House Henry Thomas Rainey, Lucas was elected to the U.S. House of Representatives from Illinois's 20th congressional district. He established himself as a strong supporter of President Franklin D. Roosevelt's New Deal, working to pass the Soil Conservation Act of 1936 and the Agricultural Adjustment Act of 1938. However, Lucas disagreed with Roosevelt over the president's court-packing plan, which Lucas denounced as "useless, selfish, and futile."


In 1938, after William Dieterich declined to run for re-election, Lucas was elected to the U.S. Senate over Republican Richard J. Lyons, with a 51%-48% victory. He was re-elected in 1944. With support from Harry Truman, he was elected party whip in 1946. Lucas, a moderate, drew support from conservative and liberal wings of the party. He took over the midwest campaign for President Truman and was credited with assisting not only Truman's 1948 reelection but bringing nine Democrats into the Senate. When Alben Barkley became vice-president and resigned his Senate seat, Lucas became majority leader. However, he was unable to build a consensus as Senate majority leader with the onset of the anti-Communist era, and lost re-election in 1950 to Republican Everett Dirksen. Lucas had become a target of Republican wrath with loss of political power in the Senate and the White House. His 1950 reelection campaign featured the active intervention into Illinois politics of Wisconsin Senator Joseph McCarthy who traveled the state with Rep. Dirksen saying that Senator Lucas was "soft on communism". Dirksen would go on to easily defeat Lucas with a 54% to 46% victory.

He was succeeded as Democratic leader by Ernest McFarland, who also lost his reelection bid two years after assuming the leadership. The McCarthy intervention into other Senate campaigns was a factor in alienating his colleagues and his censure in 1954. Thanks to McFarland's successor, Lyndon Johnson, the Senate Democratic leadership became much more consolidated and more powerful.

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Scott W. Lucas, U.S. Senator's Timeline

February 19, 1892
near Chandlerville, Cass, IL, United States
February 22, 1968
Age 76
Rocky Mt, Edgecombe, NC, United States