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Claude Kitchin (March 24, 1869 – May 31, 1923) was a U.S. Congressional Representative from North Carolina and floor leader of his party in the House during the 64th, 65th, and 67th Congresses.

Claude Kitchin
Claude Kitchin.jpg
House Majority Leader
In office
Preceded byOscar W. Underwood
Succeeded byFrank W. Mondell
House Minority Leader
In office
Preceded byChamp Clark
Succeeded byFinis Garrett
Member of the U.S. House of Representatives from North Carolina's 2nd district
In office
March 4, 1901 – May 31, 1923
Preceded byGeorge H. White
Succeeded byJohn H. Kerr
Personal details
Born(1869-03-24)March 24, 1869
Scotland Neck, North Carolina
DiedMay 31, 1923(1923-05-31) (aged 54)
Wilson, North Carolina
Political partyDemocratic
Alma materWake Forest College

He was born in Halifax County, North Carolina in 1869. His father was William H. Kitchin and William Walton Kitchin was his brother. First elected in 1900, after his party secured a constitutional amendment excluding blacks from the ballot boxes of the state, a campaign in which he served as a leading orator, he served in Congress as a member of the Democratic Party until his death. In Congress, he served on the House Ways and Means Committee, chairing the Committee from 1915 to 1919. From 1915 to 1919 he was House majority leader; from this position he opposed the Wilson administration's "Preparedness" crusade, seeking unsuccessfully to hold down the growth in size of the army and navy.

He was one of the representatives who voted against declaring war on Germany in April 1917; indeed, his example and speech against American entry probably swelled the number of dissenters to 50. He threw himself into the war effort thereafter but remained a critic of some of the administration's war policies, especially regarding taxation policies. He championed an "excess profits" tax that was steeply progressive over a policy of selling Liberty Bonds that shifted the financial burden of the war onto future generations. After giving an impassioned speech in 1920 he suffered a severe stroke, from which he never recovered.

See alsoEdit

Further readingEdit

  • Arnett, Alex Mathews. "Claude Kitchin Versus the Patrioteers." North Carolina Historical Review 14.1 (1937): 20-30. online
  • Arnett. Alex M. Claude Kitchin and the Wilson War Policies (1937). xii + 341 pp.
  • Herring, George C. "James Hay and the Preparedness Controversy, 1915-1916." Journal of Southern History 30.4 (1964): 383-404.

External linksEdit

  •   Media related to Claude Kitchin at Wikimedia Commons
  • United States Congress. "Claude Kitchin (id: K000250)". Biographical Directory of the United States Congress.
  • House Ways and Means Profile
  • Congress Link

U.S. House of Representatives
Preceded by
George H. White
Member of the U.S. House of Representatives
from North Carolina's 2nd congressional district

Succeeded by
John H. Kerr
Preceded by
Oscar W. Underwood
House Majority Leader
Succeeded by
Frank W. Mondell