Albert Gore Sr.

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Albert Arnold Gore Sr. (December 26, 1907 – December 5, 1998), sometimes known as simply Al Gore before the fame of his son, was an American politician who served as a U.S. Representative and a U.S. Senator for the Democratic Party from Tennessee. He was the father of Albert A. Gore Jr., the 45th vice president of the United States (1993–2001).

Albert Gore Sr.
Albert Gore Sr..jpg
United States Senator
from Tennessee
In office
January 3, 1953 – January 3, 1971
Preceded byKenneth McKellar
Succeeded byBill Brock
Member of the U.S. House of Representatives
from Tennessee's 4th district
In office
January 3, 1939 – January 3, 1953
Preceded byJohn R. Mitchell
Succeeded byJoe L. Evins
Personal details
Albert Arnold Gore

(1907-12-26)December 26, 1907
Granville, Tennessee, U.S.
DiedDecember 5, 1998(1998-12-05) (aged 90)
Carthage, Tennessee, U.S.
Political partyDemocratic
(m. 1937)
Children2, including Al
EducationMiddle Tennessee State University (BA)
Nashville School of Law (LLB)
Military service
Allegiance United States
Branch/service United States Army
Years of service1944-1945
Battles/warsWorld War II

Early yearsEdit

Gore was born in Granville, Tennessee, the third of five children of Margie Bettie (née Denny) and Allen Arnold Gore.[1][2] Gore's ancestors include Scots-Irish immigrants who first settled in Virginia in the mid-18th century and moved to Tennessee after the American Revolutionary War.[3][fn 1]

Gore studied at Middle Tennessee State Teachers College and graduated from the Nashville Y.M.C.A. Night Law School, now the Nashville School of Law. He first sought elective public office at age 23, when he ran unsuccessfully for the job of superintendent of schools in Smith County, Tennessee. A year later he was appointed to the position after the man who had defeated him died.[5]

Congressional careerEdit

Plaque honoring Al Gore Sr. at a rest area along Interstate 40 in Tennessee

After serving as Commissioner of the Tennessee Department of Labor from 1936 to 1937, Gore was elected as a Democrat to the 76th Congress in 1938, re-elected to the two succeeding Congresses, and served from January 3, 1939, until he resigned on December 4, 1944, to enter the U.S. Army.[6]

Military serviceEdit

Gore was one of several members of Congress who joined the military incognito for short tours in order to observe training and combat and firsthand reports to the U.S. House and Senate.[7] He completed basic training at Fort Meade, Maryland, after which he was assigned to the Allied Military Government for Occupied Territories in Germany as a prosecutor in one of the military government courts.[8] Gore served as a private and was discharged in March 1945 so he could take the seat in the U.S. House to which he had been reelected in November 1944.[9][10]

Gore was re-elected to the 79th and to the three succeeding Congresses (January 3, 1945, to January 3, 1953). In 1951, Gore proposed in Congress that "something cataclysmic" be done by U.S. forces to end the Korean War: a radiation belt (created by nuclear weapons) dividing the Korean peninsula permanently into two.[11]

U.S. SenateEdit

Gore was not a candidate for House re-election but was elected in 1952 to the U.S. Senate. In his 1952 election, he defeated six-term incumbent Kenneth McKellar. Gore's victory is widely regarded as a major turning point in Tennessee political history and as largely marking the end of statewide influence for E. H. Crump, the Memphis political boss. During this term, Gore was instrumental in sponsoring and enacting the legislation creating the Interstate Highway System. Gore was re-elected in 1958 and again in 1964, and served from January 3, 1953, to January 3, 1971, after he lost reelection in 1970.

Gore was one of only three Democratic senators from the former Confederate states who did not sign the 1956 Southern Manifesto opposing integration, the others being Senate Majority Leader Lyndon B. Johnson of Texas (who was not asked to sign), and Tennessee's other Senator, Estes Kefauver. South Carolina Senator J. Strom Thurmond tried to get Gore to sign the Southern Manifesto, but Gore refused. Gore voted in favor of the Civil Rights Acts of 1957,[12] 1960,[13] and 1968,[14] as well as the Voting Rights Act of 1965 and the confirmation of Thurgood Marshall to the U.S. Supreme Court,[15][16] but voted against the Civil Rights Act of 1964 and did not vote on the 24th Amendment to the U.S. Constitution.[17][18]

Gore easily won renomination in 1958 over former governor Jim Nance McCord. In those days, Democratic nomination was still tantamount to election in Tennessee since the Republican Party was largely nonexistent in most of the state. In 1964, he faced an energetic Republican challenge from Dan Kuykendall, chairman of the Shelby County (Memphis) GOP, who ran a surprisingly strong race against him. While Gore won, Kuykendall held him to only 53 percent of the vote, in spite of Johnson's massive landslide victory in that year's presidential election.[citation needed]

1970 campaign and defeatEdit

By 1970, Gore was considered to be fairly vulnerable for a three-term incumbent Senator, as a result of his liberal positions on many issues such as the Vietnam War (which he opposed)[19] and civil rights. This was especially risky, electorally, as at the time Tennessee was moving more and more toward the Republican Party. He faced a spirited primary challenge, predominantly from former Nashville news anchor Hudley Crockett, who used his broadcasting skills to considerable advantage and generally attempted to run to Gore's right. Gore fended off this primary challenge, but he was ultimately unseated in the 1970 general election by Republican Congressman Bill Brock. Gore was one of the key targets in the Nixon/Agnew "Southern strategy." He had earned Nixon's ire the year before when he criticized the administration's "do-nothing" policy toward inflation. In a memo[20] to senior advisor Bryce Harlow, Nixon aide Alexander Butterfield relayed the President's desire that Gore be "blistered" for his comment.[21] Spiro T. Agnew traveled to Tennessee in 1970 to mock Gore as the "Southern regional chairman of the Eastern Liberal Establishment". Other prominent issues in this race included Gore's opposition to the Vietnam War, his vote against Everett Dirksen's amendment on prayer in public schools, and his opposition to appointing Clement Haynsworth and G. Harrold Carswell to the U.S. Supreme Court. Brock won the election by a 51% to 47% margin.[citation needed]

Political legacyEdit

In 1956, he gained national attention after his disapproval of the Southern Manifesto. Gore voted against the Civil Rights Act of 1964, in fact filibustering against it, although he supported the Voting Rights Act of 1965. Gore was a vocal champion of the Federal Aid Highway Act of 1956, which secured creation of interstate highways. Later, he backed the Great Society array of programs initiated by President Johnson's administration, and introduced a bill with a Medicare blueprint. In international politics, he moved from proposing in the House to employ nuclear weapons for establishing a radioactive demilitarized zone during the Korean War, to voting for the Partial Nuclear Test Ban Treaty and speaking against the Vietnam War, which cost him his Senate seat in 1970.[22]

Personal lifeEdit

On April 17, 1937, Gore married lawyer Pauline LaFon (1912–2004), the daughter of Maude (née Gatlin) and Walter L. LaFon.[citation needed] Together, they had two children: Nancy LaFon Gore (1938–1984)[citation needed] and Albert Gore Jr. (born 1948), who followed in his father's political footsteps by representing Tennessee as a U.S. Representative and as a Senator, and later served as Vice President of the United States under Bill Clinton.

After leaving Congress, Gore Sr. resumed the practice of law and also taught law at Vanderbilt University.[citation needed] He continued to represent the Occidental Petroleum where he became vice president and member of the board of directors.[citation needed] Gore became chairman of Island Creek Coal Co., Lexington, Kentucky, an Occidental subsidiary, in 1972, and in his last years operated an antiques store in Carthage—Gore Antique Mall.[23] He lived to see his son Albert Gore Jr. become Vice President of the United States. Gore Sr. died three weeks shy of his 91st birthday and is buried in Smith County Memorial Gardens in Carthage.[citation needed] The stretch of Interstate 65 in Tennessee has been named The Albert Arnold Gore Sr. Memorial Highway in his honor.[5]


  1. ^ During a December 1987 interview with Playboy, Gore Vidal, a maternal grandson of Thomas Gore suggested that Albert Gore was of Anglo-Irish descent, rather than Scots-Irish. Vidal believed that Albert Gore was his sixth or seventh-generation cousin.[4]


  1. ^ Turque, Bill. "Inventing Al Gore". The New York Times. Retrieved September 26, 2015.
  2. ^ Partial Genealogy of the Gores, CLP Research
  3. ^ Turque (2000), p. 5
  4. ^ Turque (2000), p. 378
  5. ^ a b Molotsky, Irvin (7 December 1998). "Albert Gore Sr., Veteran Politician, Dies at 90". The New York Times. Retrieved 21 November 2017.
  6. ^ "GORE, Albert Arnold, (1907 - 1998)". Biographical Directory of the United States Congress. Retrieved September 26, 2015.
  7. ^ "House Assignments O. K.'d by Caucus of Democrats". The Cincinnati Enquirer. Cincinnati, OH. Associated Press. January 16, 1945. p. 3 – via
  8. ^ "Tennessee Congressman Served Army Incognito". The Courier-Journal. Louisville, KY. Associated Press. March 5, 1945. p. 3 – via
  9. ^ "Pvt. Gore Loses Weight on Mission to Europe". Knoxville Journal. Knoxville, TN. Associated Press. March 8, 1945. p. 3 – via
  10. ^ "Gore Will Give Report on War Area Trip Soon". The Tennessean. Nashville, TN. March 8, 1945. p. 1 – via
  11. ^ George Mason University's History News Network. Retrieved 29 December 2009.
  12. ^ "HR. 6127. CIVIL RIGHTS ACT OF 1957".
  13. ^ "HR. 8601. PASSAGE OF AMENDED BILL. -- Senate Vote #284 -- Apr 8, 1960".
  14. ^ "TO PASS H.R. 2516, A BILL TO PROHIBIT DISCRIMINATION IN ... -- Senate Vote #346 -- Mar 11, 1968".
  15. ^ "TO PASS S. 1564, THE VOTING RIGHTS ACT OF 1965. -- Senate Vote #78 -- May 26, 1965".
  18. ^ "HR. 7152. PASSAGE. -- Senate Vote #409 -- Jun 19, 1964".
  19. ^ "Albert Gore, Sr. | Anthony J. Badger". Retrieved 2019-06-24.
  20. ^ Memo from Alexander Butterfield to Bryce Harlow, July 10, 1969 Archived December 17, 2010, at the Wayback Machine, Nixon Library
  21. ^ Radnofsky, Louise (2010-12-10) Documents Show Nixon Ordered Jews Excluded From Israel Policy, The Wall Street Journal
  22. ^ Edward L. Lach Jr. Gore, Albert Sr. American National Biography Online. September 2000. retrieved December 26, 2015.
  23. ^ Gore opens antique mall, Times Daily, January 3, 1994.

  This article incorporates public domain material from the Biographical Directory of the United States Congress website


External linksEdit

U.S. House of Representatives
Preceded by
John R. Mitchell
Member of the U.S. House of Representatives
from Tennessee's 4th congressional district

Succeeded by
Joe L. Evins
Party political offices
Preceded by
Kenneth McKellar
Democratic nominee for U.S. Senator from Tennessee
(Class 1)

1952, 1958, 1964, 1970
Succeeded by
Jim Sasser
U.S. Senate
Preceded by
Kenneth McKellar
U.S. Senator (Class 1) from Tennessee
Served alongside: Estes Kefauver, Herbert S. Walters, Ross Bass, Howard Baker
Succeeded by
Bill Brock
New office Chair of the Senate Attempts to Influence Senators Committee
Position abolished