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James A. Reed

James Alexander Reed (November 9, 1861 – September 9, 1944) was an American Democratic Party politician from Missouri.

Reed was born on a farm in Richland County, Ohio. He moved with his family to Cedar Rapids, Iowa at the age of 3. He went to public schools and attended Coe College. He became a lawyer and moved to Kansas City, Missouri in 1887.

Reed served as a city councilor of Kansas City from 1897 to 1898, as prosecutor of Jackson County from 1898 to 1900, and as Kansas City mayor from 1900 to 1904.

As mayor, Reed rocketed to national fame after overseeing the "Kansas City Spirit" construction of Convention Hall in 90 days in order to host the 1900 Democratic National Convention. The original Convention Hall had opened in 1899. It burned down on April 4, 1900. The Convention was scheduled to be held on July 4. Reed marshaled resources and it opened in time for the convention.

In 1910, he was elected to the United States Senate from Missouri as a Democrat. He served in the Senate for three terms, from 1911 until 1929, when he decided to retire. In the Senate, Reed distinguished himself as an opponent of corruption and government programs that he felt would not work. Unlike many members of his party, he opposed the League of Nations. He sought and failed to receive the Democratic nomination for President. He served as chairman of the Committee on Weights and Measures from 1917 to 1921.

One of his biggest contributions to the State of Missouri came in 1913 when he as a member of the Senate Banking Committee changed his vote to break a deadlock to pass the Federal Reserve Act which resulted in Missouri getting two of the 12 Federal Reserve Banks (in St. Louis and Kansas City).[1] Missouri is the only state with multiple headquarters of the Federal Reserve.

In 1929, as Reed was leading the Senate, H.L. Mencken wrote a tribute to him, praising Reed for his opposition to what Mencken called "demagogues" and "charlatans" from both political parties. Reed then retired from politics and moved back to Missouri where he continued to practice law. He was also an active Civitan during this time.[2] He died at his summer home in Oscoda County, Michigan.


  1. ^ A Foregone Conclusion: The Founding of the Federal Reserve Bank of St. Louis by James Neal Primm - - Retrieved January 1, 2007
  2. ^ Leonhart, James Chancellor (1962). The Fabulous Octogenarian. Baltimore Maryland: Redwood House, Inc.. p. 277.  

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Political offices
Preceded by
James M. Jones
Mayor of Kansas City, Missouri
Succeeded by
Jay H. Neff
United States Senate
Preceded by
William Warner
United States Senator (Class 1) from Missouri
1911 - 1929
Served alongside: William J. Stone, Xenophon P. Wilfley, Selden P. Spencer, George H. Williams, Harry B. Hawes
Succeeded by
Roscoe C. Patterson


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