Samuel M. Shortridge

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Samuel Morgan Shortridge (August 3, 1861 – January 15, 1952) was a Republican Senator from California.

Samuel M. Shortridge
Samuel M. Shortridge, Cal. LCCN2016822523 (cropped).jpg
United States Senator
from California
In office
March 4, 1921 – March 4, 1933
Preceded byJames D. Phelan
Succeeded byWilliam G. McAdoo
Personal details
Born(1861-08-03)August 3, 1861
Mount Pleasant, Iowa
DiedJanuary 15, 1952(1952-01-15) (aged 90)
Atherton, California
Political partyRepublican
RelativesClara S. Foltz (sister)

Early yearsEdit

He was born in Mount Pleasant, Iowa and moved to California as a child with his family, which settled in San Jose in 1875. He practiced law in San Francisco, California for most of his life.


He lost the 1914 U.S. Senate Republican primary to veteran congressman Joseph R. Knowland, who was defeated in the general election by James D. Phelan. Shortridge was elected to the U.S. Senate in 1920, riding Warren G. Harding's post World War I "Return to Normalcy" campaign. Defeating Phelan and strong candidates from the Prohibition Party and Socialist Party of America, Shortridge won the general election with 49% of the vote. He was reelected in 1926 with 63% of the vote over Democrat John B. Elliott. He served two full terms before being defeated in a primary in 1932.

Shortridge became a prominent voice for racist anti-Japanese forces in California, declaring that a child of Japanese immigrants would regard "himself or herself as a native of Japan. His heart, his affections go out to the native land of the parent."[1]. Shortridge's claims in 1924 were remarkably similar to some of the justifications made for Japanese internment during World War II.[2]. Even some senators who wanted to favor northern and western European immigrants found Shortridge's anti-Japanese position unnecessary.[3]

Shortridge served as a special attorney for the Justice Department in Washington, D.C. from 1939 to 1943.


His sister Clara S. Foltz became the first female lawyer in California in 1878, and first female deputy district attorney in the US in 1910. She helped him campaign for the Senate.


He died in Atherton, California and was buried in Oak Hill[4][circular reference] Cemetery in San Jose.


  1. ^ 65Cong.Rec.5806 1924
  2. ^ Compare, for example, statements quoted in Ronald Takaki, Strangers from a Different Shore, Updated and revised edition (Boston: Little, Brown, 1998), pp. 387–8.
  3. ^ See, for example, comments by a Senate immigration restriction leader, David Reed (R-PA), in 65Cong.Rec.5808–5810 1924
  4. ^ Oak Hill Memorial Park

External linksEdit

  • Works by or about Samuel M. Shortridge at Internet Archive
  • United States Congress. "Samuel M. Shortridge (id: S000380)". Biographical Directory of the United States Congress.
  • Samuel M. Shortridge at Find a Grave
U.S. Senate
Preceded by
James D. Phelan
U.S. Senator (Class 3) from California
Succeeded by
William Gibbs McAdoo