Morse, Wayne Lyman

Morse, Wayne Lyman, 1900–1974, U.S. Senator (1945–69), b. Madison, Wis. He was a professor of law and later dean at the Univ. of Oregon law school (1931–44) and gained a nationwide reputation as a labor arbitrator. He served as a member of the National War Labor Board from 1942 to 1944. Elected in 1944 to the U.S. Senate as a Republican (and reelected in 1950), Morse was consistently critical of what he termed reactionary elements in the party. In 1952 he refused to support the Republican presidential nominee, Dwight D. Eisenhower, and declared himself an independent. In 1955 he formally announced himself a Democrat and as such twice won reelection (1956, 1962) to the Senate. As a Senator he strongly supported public-power measures and was a severe critic of the filibuster. Yet Morse in 1953 delivered the longest personal filibuster then on record (22 hr 6 min) in opposing the bill giving offshore oil rights to the states. A long-time opponent of the Vietnam War (he voted against the Gulf of Tonkin resolution in 1964), he was defeated for reelection in 1968. He ran for the Senate in 1972 against Senator Mark Hatfield, also a critic of the war, but failed to unseat him. In 1974 he won the Democratic primary for the Senate but died before the election.

See biography by A. R. Smith (1962).

The Columbia Electronic Encyclopedia, 6th ed. Copyright © 2024, Columbia University Press. All rights reserved.

See more Encyclopedia articles on: U.S. History: Biographies