Thomas Terry Connally was born August 19, 1877, near Hewitt, Texas. He graduated from Baylor University in Waco, Texas, in 1896. Upon graduation, he entered the University of Texas Law School, but in 1898 he enlisted in the Second Texas Infantry Volunteers upon outbreak of the Spanish-American War. He was granted a law degree by the University of Texas during his absence.
A member of the Democratic Party, Connally was elected to the Texas House of Representatives in 1900, serving until 1904. He acted as a prosecuting attorney in Falls County, Texas, from 1906 to 1910, and in 1916 was elected to the United States House of Representatives. In 1928, Connally unseated the incumbent Texas senator Earle B. Mayfield to win a seat in the U.S. Senate. He served continuously in the Senate until he decided not to run for re-election following the 1953 term. In 1954, he published his autobiography titled My Name is Tom Connally. He resumed the practice of law in Washington, D.C., until his death on October 28, 1963.
Source: Williams, Patrick G. “Connally, Thomas Terry.” In American National Biography, 5:337-339. New York: Oxford University Press, 1999.
The documents in the Thomas T. Connally Papers regard debate in the U.S. Senate concerning the Extension of the European Recovery Program in 1949 (Senate Bill S.1209). On March 28, 1949, Senator William Langer (Republican-North Dakota) criticized the Spanish-American War record of Winston Churchill, former Prime Minister of England. Langer reported that Churchill had fought in Cuba against the U.S. during the war. Thomas Connally was one of the senators who responded to Langer’s speech and claimed that Churchill did not take up arms versus the U.S. and, in fact, was not even in Cuba during the war. Over the objections of Langer, the Extension of European Recovery Program was approved by Congress and signed into law by President Truman on April 14, 1949.
Material in the collection consists of the photocopied entries in the Congressional Record regarding Langer’s original speech of March 28th, Connally’s response on March 30th and Langer’s rebuttal to Connally on March 31st. Also included are photocopies of correspondence received by Connally from Winston Churchill and others refuting Langer’s claims. The correspondence was copied from the Papers of Tom Connally at the Library of Congress in Washington, D.C..