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Robert Low Bacon (July 23, 1884 – September 12, 1938) was an American politician, a banker and military officer. He served as a congressman from New York from 1923 until his death in 1938. He is known as one of the authors of the Davis–Bacon Act of 1931, which regulates wages for employees on federal projects.

Robert Low Bacon
Robert L Bacon.jpg
Member of the U.S. House of Representatives
from New York's 1st district
In office
March 4, 1923 – September 12, 1938
Preceded byFrederick C. Hicks
Succeeded byLeonard W. Hall
Personal details
Born(1884-07-23)July 23, 1884
Jamaica Plain, Massachusetts, U.S.
DiedSeptember 12, 1938(1938-09-12) (aged 54)
Lake Success, New York, U.S.
Political partyRepublican
Spouse(s)Virginia Murray Bacon
ParentsRobert Bacon
Alma materHarvard University
Harvard Law School
ProfessionPolitician, banker, lawyer, military officer
Military service
Allegiance United States
Branch/service United States Army
U.S. Officers’ Reserve Corps
RankMajor
Colonel
Battles/warsWorld War I
AwardsU.S. Army Distinguished Service Medal ribbon.svg Distinguished Service Medal

Contents

Early life and educationEdit

Born in Jamaica Plain, Massachusetts, the son of Martha Waldron Cowdin and future Secretary of State Robert Bacon, he received a common school education as a child. He went on to graduate from Harvard University in 1907 and from Harvard Law School in 1910.

CareerEdit

After graduation, Bacon was employed at the United States Treasury Department, where he worked until 1911.[1] He moved to Old Westbury, New York to engage in banking in New York City.

Bacon attended the business men’s training camp at Plattsburg in 1915, and served on the Texas border with the New York National Guard in 1916 at the Texas border.[1] During World War I, he served with the Field Artillery, United States Army from April 24, 1917, to January 2, 1919.[1] He attained the rank of major and was awarded the Distinguished Service Medal. Commissioned in the United States Officers’ Reserve Corps with the rank of lieutenant colonel in 1919, he was promoted to colonel in January 1923 and served until his death.[2]

Bacon was a delegate to the Republican National Convention in Chicago, Illinois in 1920. In 1922, after Frederick C. Hicks declines to seek another term, Bacon stepped into the race. His opponent was fellow Long Islander, S.A. Warner Baltazzi, whom he defeated in the fall. He entered Congress as a “wet”, someone who did not support prohibition[3][4] while still continuing his military career in the Officers' Reserve Corps during his years in the House of Representatives.[5]

He faced no significant opposition over his career with the 1932 election possibly being his greatest challenge. That year, he faced Cornelius Vanderbilt Whitney another wealthy member of Long Island society in a race that pitted Bacon against the landslide victory of Franklin D. Roosevelt. Both men belonged to many of the same private clubs and the race became bitter, with Bacon prevailing.[6]

Bacon’s longest lasting political achievement may be the Davis–Bacon Act of 1931 which remain in force, with amendments. Bacon introduced similar legislation for many years and succeeded in securing passage after workings on depression-era federal spending projects found that jobs were going to cheaper workers from other areas.[7]

Bacon was a supporter of the repeal of prohibition and introduced a proposal to amend the [[Eighteenth Amendment to the United States Constitution|18th amendment to allow states to regulate alcohol.[8] This amendment failed; but prohibition was ultimately repealed in 1933.

Personal lifeEdit

He became engaged to Cecilia May in 1911, but they never married.[9] He married Virginia Murray on April 14, 1913.[10]

Bacon's brother, Gaspar G. Bacon was the President of the Massachusetts Senate from 1929–32 and Lieutenant Governor of Massachusetts from 1933-1935. His nephew was the actor Gaspar G. Bacon, Jr. better known as David Bacon.

Bacon died of a heart attack near the State Police barracks in Lake Success, New York while on his way home from a speaking engagement in New York City on September 12, 1938 at the age of 54.[11]

He is interred at Arlington National Cemetery.[12]

See alsoEdit

ReferencesEdit

  1. ^ a b c Marquis Who's Who, Inc. Who Was Who in American History, the Military. Chicago: Marquis Who's Who, 1975. P. 22 ISBN 0837932017 OCLC 657162692
  2. ^ "Robert L. Bacon". Arlington National Cemetery. Retrieved 29 July 2013.
  3. ^ "Anderson Lashes G.O.P. as Corrupt; Worse Than in Pennsylvania, Says Anti-Saloon Head, Charging Treachery". New York Times. 1922-11-22.
  4. ^ "Robert L. Bacon". Govtrack US Congress. Retrieved 29 July 2013.
  5. ^ "Robert L. Bacon". Biographical Directory of the United States Congress. Retrieved 29 July 2013.
  6. ^ "Whitney Ends Feud on Bacon's Victory; Telegram of Congratulation Closes Contest That Stirred Nassau Society Circles". New York Times. 1932-11-10.
  7. ^ Bernstein, David E. (2001), "Prevailing-Wage Laws", Only One Place of Redress: African Americans, Labor Regulations and the Court from Reconstruction to the New Deal, Duke University Press, ISBN 978-0822325833
  8. ^ "Bacon Says States Need Optional Dry Laws; Representative Explains His Plan to Permit Optional Control of Liquor". New York Times. 1930-06-29.
  9. ^ "Robert L. Bacon, Jr., To Wed. Miss Cecilia May to be Bride of Son of Ambassador to France" (PDF). New York Times. February 25, 1911. Retrieved 2014-01-21.
  10. ^ "Robert L. Bacon To Wed. Ex-Ambassador's Eldest Son to Marry Miss Virginia Murray" (PDF). New York Times. February 21, 1913. Retrieved 2014-01-21.
  11. ^ "Robert Low Bacon Dies in his Auto; Representative Is Victim of Heart Attack on Way Home From Meeting in City". New York Times. 1938-09-13.
  12. ^ "Robert L. Bacon". The Political Graveyard. Retrieved 29 July 2013.

External linksEdit

U.S. House of Representatives
Preceded by
Frederick C. Hicks
Member of the U.S. House of Representatives
from New York's 1st congressional district

March 4, 1923 – September 12, 1938
Succeeded by
Leonard W. Hall