|31st Vice-President of the United States|
|Term of office|
March 4, 1929 - March 4, 1933
|Preceded by||Charles G. Dawes|
|Succeeded by||John N. Garner|
|Born|| January 25, 1860 |
|Died|| February 8, 1936 |
|Spouse||Annie Elizabeth Baird Curtis|
Charles Curtis (January 25, 1860 – February 8, 1936) was Vice President under Herbert Hoover from 1929 to 1933. He served in both houses of Congress, as a United States Representative from Kansas (1893–1907) and a Senator for that from (1907–1913) and again from (1915–1929), when he was sworn in as Vice President.
He served as Republican Majority Leader in the Senate from (1925–1929). In 1911, after the passing of Senator William P. Frye (R–ME), who had been the President pro tempore at a time when that office was filled by election, the Senate could not agree on a replacement. As such, Curtis was one of five officers designated to fill this position throughout the remainder of the 62nd Congress. In practice, he served only 8 days, from December 4–12, 1911.
In 1923, Curtis and his fellow Republican (as well as fellow Kansan) Rep. Daniel R. Anthony, Jr. introduced the first draft of the Equal Rights Amendment, or ERA. During the ensuing 50 year debate, the measure came to be recognized as counter productive. The ERA was denounced by members of both sides of the aisle, as it came to be recognized as harmful to women by Eleanor Roosevelt, harmful to labor by the American Federation of Labor and as an excuse for increased congressional powers and for a legislative judiciary by leading conservatives. The last point was most notably argued in the 1970s by prominent conservative author and activist, Phyllis Schlafly, founder of the Eagle Forum.
As Vice President at the outset of the Great Depression, Curtis favored a 5-day work week as a work sharing solution to unemployment. However, he also stipulated that this be done without wage reduction, the effect of which would have significantly hindered business by significantly raising labor costs, usually a chief catalyst of mass unemployment. What is interesting to note is that he opposed Herbert Hoover, but became his running mate in the 1928 election.
Notes & References
- Biographical Directory of the United States Congress
- Fandex, Workman Publishing, 2002.