George William Norris

George Norris belonged to the tradition of Progressive senators characterized by Robert M. La Follette and Robert F. Wagner. From 1903 until 1913 he served as a Nebraska Congressman, and then as a Senator for the next thirty years. He continually defended farm interest with such measures as the Norris-Sinclair Farm Bill of 1925. Norris believed Roosevelt would do much to enact Progressive reforms if elected, and campaigned strongly for him. Roosevelt and Norris shared their expectations for public development of more of the Tennessee River along the same lines as Muscle Shoals. Norris ushered through Congress the bill creating the Tennessee Valley Authority, and Chairman Arthur Morgan later acknowledged his contribution by naming the dam at Cove Creek in his honor. Norris remained devoted to the TVA, and authored the Rural Electrification Act of 1936. Throughout World War II, Norris praised Roosevelt's diplomacy, as well as the Lend Lease Act and revisions to the Neutrality Act. Norris decided to retire after his fifth term, but then changed his mind. He was defeated when he ran in the 1942 election against Democratic and Republican candidates.


Schwarz, Jordan A. The New Dealers: Power Politics in the Age of Roosevelt. NY: Knopf, 1993.