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James William Fulbright

Fulbright, James William, 1905–95, U.S. Senator from Arkansas (1945–75), b. Sumner, Mo. A Rhodes scholar, he was admitted (1934) to the bar and served (1934–35) in the antitrust division of the U.S. Dept of Justice. He taught law at George Washington Univ. law school (1935–36) and at the Univ. of Arkansas (1936–39), becoming president of the university (1939–41). In 1942 Fulbright was elected as a Democrat to the U.S. House of Representatives and in 1944 to the Senate. He gained international recognition from the Fulbright Act (1946), which provided for the exchange of students and teachers between the United States and many other countries. He was one of the first to criticize Senator Joseph McCarthy's investigations into reputed Communist influence in the United States and was instrumental in bringing about McCarthy's downfall.

Fulbright served as chairman of the Senate banking and currency committee (1955–59) and, as chairman of the Senate foreign relations committee (1959–74), he conducted frequent open hearings to educate the public and to reassert the Senate's influence in long-range policy formulation. An outspoken critic of U.S. military intervention abroad, Fulbright opposed the Bay of Pigs invasion (1961), the landing of marines in the Dominican Republic (1965), and the escalation of the war in Vietnam. However, Fulbright could be conservative as well; he voted against civil-rights legislation in the 1960s and 1970s. In the 1974 Democratic primary in Arkansas, he was defeated for the senatorial nomination by Dale Bumpers. He wrote Old Myths and New Realities (1964), The Arrogance of Power (1966), The Pentagon Propaganda Machine (1970), The Crippled Giant (1972), and The Price of Empire (1989).

The Columbia Electronic Encyclopedia, 6th ed. Copyright © 2012, Columbia University Press. All rights reserved.

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