George Armistead Smathers

George Armistead Smathers

date of birth : 14/11/1913 | date of death : 20/01/2007
Born on 14-Nov-1913, Atlantic City, New Jersey, lawyer, politician, He established a reputation for being a moderate who was resolutely anti-communist.

Birth, Birthplace, Time of birth:

George Smathers was born on 14-Nov-1913 in Atlantic City, New Jersey.

Father's name: Franklin Smathers, Sr.
Mother's name: Laura F. Jones
Brother: Frank Smathers, Jr.
Sister: Virginia Smathers / Laura Howell Smathers
Spouse: Rosemary Townley/ Carolyn Hyder
Children: John Smathers/ Bruce Smathers

Reputation, fame, nickname:

Gorgeous George

Personal Information:

Race or Ethnicity: White
Sexual orientation: Straight
Party Affiliation: Democratic

Life events:

He was born in Atlantic City, N.J., November 14, 1913. He moved to Miami, Fla., in 1919. George attended the public schools of Dade County, Fla. and graduated from the University of Florida at Gainesville in 1936 and from its law school in 1938. At Florida, he was president of his fraternity Sigma Alpha Epsilon (Florida Upsilon chapter), captain of the Gators basketball team, president of the student body, and a member of Florida Blue Key; he was inducted into the University of Florida Athletic Hall of Fame. He was admitted to the bar in 1938. During the Second World War Smathers served in the United States Marine Corps from May 1942 until discharged as a major in October 1945. In 1946, Smathers was elected to the first of two terms in the U.S. House of Representatives, defeating long-standing incumbent Pat Cannon. While in the House, Smathers traveled extensively to Europe and Latin America, developing an interest in Latin American countries that would later become a central focus of his Senatorial career. Smathers also became friends with many people who would become prominent politicians, including John F. Kennedy, Lyndon B. Johnson, Richard M. Nixon, and Gerald Ford. He became particularly close to Kennedy; they had adjacent offices while in the House together, and he served as a groomsman in Kennedy's wedding to Jacqueline Bouvier. In 1950 President Harry Truman called Smathers into a meeting at the White House and reportedly said "I want you to do me a favor. I want you to beat that son-of-a-bitch Claude Pepper." Pepper had been part of an unsuccessful 1948 campaign to "dump Truman" as the Democratic presidential nominee and George Smathers had been his manager and pupil. Smathers challenged the incumbent U.S. Senator Claude Pepper in the Democratic primary, and won by a margin of over 60,000 votes. Smathers was a strong opponent of Civil Rights legislation and in 1956 was one of 19 senators to sign the Southern Manifesto, in which members of Congress resisted rulings by the federal courts to desegregate schools. Smathers was called a racist after he criticized the activities of Martin Luther King. He said "I don't like bigotry and intolerance... But they do exist and I don't think you're going to get them out by passing laws." In the 1958 election year both Smathers and longtime Pittsburgh mayor and soon-to-be Pennsylvania governor David L. Lawrence were implicated in, but eventually exonerated of, an attempt to try to influence the Federal Communications Commission's choice of a grantee for a television license for channel 4 in Pittsburgh. Smathers served as chairman of the Democratic Senatorial Campaign Committee for six years. In 1959 George Smathers became head of the committee in the South to elect John F. Kennedy. Smathers took a close interest in the events in Cuba. He supported Alliance for Progress, a government program that spent billions of dollars in an attempt to get pro-American governments in Latin America. Smathers was one of the first to warn of the dangers posed by Fidel Castro. He once told the New York Times that "we have a moral as well as a legal responsibility to pursue a policy that will lead to Castro's downfall". Smathers was known to friends and opponents as "Gorgeous George," and he was known as much for his ability to make friends and connections as he was for his work on the floor of the Senate. Although he was not a high-ranking member of any of the major Senate committees during this service, Smathers was successful in using his positions on committees such as Foreign Relations, Finance and Taxation, and Commerce to protect and expand Florida interests. He was a powerful advocate for the Florida sugar and citrus industries, particularly pertaining to trade and competition with Latin America. Smathers also served as chair of the Democratic Campaign Committee. In this capacity, he traveled around the country soliciting contributions to be used for various Senatorial campaigns. Smathers retired from politics in 1969, at the end of this his third term in the Senate. Soon after leaving the Senate, Smathers divorced his first wife, heiress Rosemary Townley Smathers. In addition to lobbying, Smathers became a successful businessman, involved in a wide variety of interests, including automobile dealerships and orange groves. He sold his house on Key Biscayne to Richard Nixon, when Nixon was looking for a residence in Florida. In 1991, Smathers gave a $26 million gift to the University of Florida library system. He died on January20, 2007.


He attended Miami High School. He then attended the University of Florida, where he earned his bachelor's degree andlaw degree.

Occupations and Career:

He was an American lawyer and politician. He served as assistantUnited States district attorney in Florida (1940-1942).After the war, Smathers was elected to serve two terms in the United States House of Representatives, representing Florida's Fourth Congressional District from 1947 to 1951. He established a reputation for being a moderate who was resolutely anti-communist. Smathers served as the junior Senator from Florida for three terms until his retirement in 1968. Throughout his Senatorial career, he was recognized for his involvement with Latin American and Cuban issues. Smathers is credited as one of the first to push for U.S. involvement in Latin American countries as a preventative measure for stopping the spread of communism into the Western Hemisphere. He also was one of the first to raise alarms about Fidel Castro's government and Cuba's ties to the Soviet Union. Smathers sought to provide aid for the improvement of the infrastructure and quality of life in Latin American and Caribbean countries, arguing that their well-being and stability was beneficial to the U.S. Although he was more moderate in many respects than other Southern Democrats, and despite his close friendships with Kennedy and other northern Democrats, Smathers did vote faithfully with the Southern bloc on most of the divisive social issues in the 1950s and 1960s. In 1956, Smathers signed the so-called "Southern Manifesto," which denounced the U.S. Supreme Court decision to integrate public schools racially. He voted consistently against meaningful civil rights legislation, and spoke in favor of segregation and states rights.

Death, place of death, Time of death, place of burial:

George Smathers died, aged 93, at Indian Creek Village, an exclusive island community outside Miami, on 20thJanuary, 2007. He was buried at Arlington National Cemetery in Arlington, Virginia, United States.

Quotes and Memoirs:

The people of our state will no longer tolerate advocates of treason.
I don't believe in social equality and theyknow it.
Anyway, so here I was caught between Johnson on the one side, who was my leader, I was his whip, and here was my dear friend, personal friend, Kennedy, and they're going to go into my state and ruin it. What am I going todo?
I liked Nixon fine, but Nixon was nota partier.
Don't look at the downside of everything that comes along. It helps life move along so much smoother and nicer.
Of the fellows least likely to be president, you'd have to voteJack No. 1.
The pilot came back and said he had just heard thatKennedy was shot.
But to make a long story short, I decided that I was going to run, and I announced that I was going to run for president in Florida, I would be the favorite son from Florida, and that would stop Johnson and Kennedy from dividing up thestate.
The outcome can truly determine whether our homes will be destroyed, whether our children will be torn from their mothers, trained as conspirators and turned against their parents, their home and their church.