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Charles W. Sawyer

Charles W. Sawyer (February 10, 1887 – April 7, 1979) was United States Secretary of Commerce from May 6, 1948 to January 20, 1953 in the administration of Harry Truman.

Sawyer was born in Cincinnati, Ohio. He served as a member of Cincinnati City Council from 1912-1916. Prior to his political career, he worked at the Cincinnati law firm of Dinsmore & Shohl.[1] Between the world wars, he was a prominent Democratic politician in Ohio. In the 1930s, a faction led by Sawyer vied with a faction led by Martin L. Davey for control of the state Democratic party.[2] He was Lieutenant Governor of Ohio from 1933-1935. In 1938, Sawyer was the unsuccessful Democratic candidate for Ohio governor.

He was also appointed as United States Ambassador to Belgium by Franklin Delano Roosevelt during the difficult period 1944-1945 in this country, the beginning of the Belgian royal question concerning King Leopold III of Belgium. [3]

While Secretary of Commerce, Sawyer was ordered by Truman to seize and operate the steel mills in 1952. This seizure was executed to prevent a labor strike which Truman believed would hamper the ability of the United States to proceed in the war in Korea.

When he returned to Cincinnati after serving for President Truman, he joined the law firm Taft, Stettinius, and Hollister, which had been founded by another prominent Cincinnati politician, Robert Taft, and became its managing partner.

In 1968, he authored Concerns of a Conservative Democrat (Southern Illinois University Press).

Sawyer died in Palm Beach, Florida.

Political offices
Preceded by
W. Averell Harriman
United States Secretary of Commerce
Served under: Harry S. Truman

May 6, 1948–January 20, 1953
Succeeded by
Sinclair Weeks

References

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