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Robert Latham Owen

Robert Latham Owen was a United States Senator from Oklahoma.

He was born in Lynchburg, Virginia on February 2, 1856. He attended private schools in Lynchburg and in Baltimore, Maryland, and graduated from Washington and Lee University in 1877. Owen, who was of part-Cherokee descent through his mother, Narcissa Chisholm Owen, moved to Salina, Oklahoma, and taught school among the Cherokee Indians. He studied law and was admitted to the bar in 1880. He was a federal Indian agent for the Five Civilized Tribes 1885-1889, member of the Democratic National Committee 1892-1896, organized the First National Bank of Muskogee in 1890 and was its president for ten years.

Upon the admission of Oklahoma as a State into the Union in 1907, Owen was elected as a Democrat to the United States Senate for the term ending March 3, 1913; reelected in 1912 and 1918 and served from December 11, 1907, to March 3, 1925. Before leaving for Washington, Owen was one of the few people present as Governor of Oklahoma Charles N. Haskell accepted his oath of office in Haskell's hotel room in Oklahoma City.

Robert Latham Owen Park, located behind the Federal Reserve's Eccles Building in Washington, D.C.

Reflecting his position as Chairman of the Senate Committee on Banking and Currency, Owen was the chief sponsor in the Senate of the Federal Reserve Act of 1913, known at the time of its passage as the Glass-Owen Bill, which created the Federal Reserve System. He would later repudiate the Federal Reserve, claiming despite his efforts to ensure it would be controlled by the government that it had come under the control of the larger banks and was responsible for the unnecessary contraction of credit leading to the Great Depression.[1] His role in the creation of the Federal Reserve is nevertheless commemorated by the Robert Latham Owen Park, on the grounds of the Federal Reserve building in Washington DC.

While still a Senator, Owen accompanied his friend Governor Haskell to the 1920 Democratic National Convention in San Francisco. There Governor Haskell labored to have Owen named as the Democratic nominee for President of the United States. But the Democrats selected Governor of Ohio James M. Cox to face Republican Warren G. Harding in the United States presidential election, 1920. Owen declined to be a candidate for renomination in 1924. He was the chairman of the Senate Committees on Indian Depredations, the Mississippi River and Its Tributaries, Pacific Railroads, Banking and Currency, and the Five Civilized Tribes.

Owen resumed the practice of law in Washington, D.C.. He organized and served as chairman of the National Popular Government League from 1913 until his death in Washington, D.C., July 19, 1947. His body was buried in Spring Hill Cemetery, Lynchburg, Virginia.

United States Senate
Preceded by
None
United States Senator (Class 2) from Oklahoma
December 11, 1907 – March 3, 1925
Served alongside: Thomas P. Gore
Succeeded by
William B. Pine
Honorary titles
Preceded by
Fountain Thompson
Oldest living U.S. Senator
February 4, 1942-July 19, 1947
Succeeded by
Joseph Ransdell

Sources

References

  1. ^ Owen, Robert L. "Foreword" to Money Creators
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Robert Latham Owen was a United States Senator from Oklahoma.

He was born in Lynchburg, Virginia on February 2, 1856. He attended private schools in Lynchburg and in Baltimore, Maryland, and graduated from Washington and Lee University in 1877. Owen, who was of part-Cherokee descent through his mother, Narcissa Chisholm Owen, moved to Salina, Oklahoma, and taught school among the Cherokee Indians. He studied law and was admitted to the bar in 1880. He was a federal Indian agent for the Five Civilized Tribes 1885-1889, member of the Democratic National Committee 1892-1896, organized the First National Bank of Muskogee in 1890 and was its president for ten years.

Upon the admission of Oklahoma as a State into the Union in 1907, Owen was elected as a Democrat to the United States Senate for the term ending March 3, 1913; reelected in 1912 and 1918 and served from December 11, 1907, to March 3, 1925. Before leaving for Washington, Owen was one of the few people present as Governor of Oklahoma Charles N. Haskell accepted his oath of office in Haskell's hotel room in Oklahoma City.

Reflecting his position as Chairman of the Senate Committee on Banking and Currency, Owen was the chief sponsor in the Senate of the Federal Reserve Act of 1913, known at the time of its passage as the Glass-Owen Bill, which created the Federal Reserve System. He would later repudiate the Federal Reserve, claiming despite his efforts to ensure it would be controlled by the government that it had come under the control of the larger banks and was responsible for the unnecessary contraction of credit leading to the Great Depression.[1] His role in the creation of the Federal Reserve is nevertheless commemorated by the Robert Latham Owen Park, on the grounds of the Federal Reserve building in Washington DC.

While still a Senator, Owen accompanied his friend Governor Haskell to the 1920 Democratic National Convention in San Francisco. There Governor Haskell labored to have Owen named as the Democratic nominee for President of the United States. But the Democrats selected Governor of Ohio James M. Cox to face Republican Warren G. Harding in the United States presidential election, 1920. Owen declined to be a candidate for renomination in 1924. He was the chairman of the Senate Committees on Indian Depredations, the Mississippi River and Its Tributaries, Pacific Railroads, Banking and Currency, and the Five Civilized Tribes.

Owen resumed the practice of law in Washington, D.C.. He organized and served as chairman of the National Popular Government League from 1913 until his death in Washington, D.C., July 19, 1947. His body was buried in Spring Hill Cemetery, Lynchburg, Virginia.

Template:Start box |- ! colspan="3" style="background: #cccccc" | United States Senate |- style="text-align: center;" |- style="text-align:center;" |width="30%" align="center" rowspan="1"|Preceded by
None |width="40%" style="text-align: center;" rowspan="1"| United States Senator (Class 2) from Oklahoma
December 11, 1907 – March 3, 1925
Served alongside: Thomas P. Gore |width="30%" align="center" rowspan="1"| Succeeded by
William B. Pine |- |- ! colspan="3" style="background: #FFF157;" | Honorary titles

|- style="text-align: center;" |- style="text-align:center;" |width="30%" align="center" rowspan="1"|Preceded by
Fountain Thompson |width="40%" style="text-align: center;" rowspan="1"|Oldest living U.S. Senator
February 4, 1942-July 19, 1947 |width="30%" align="center" rowspan="1"| Succeeded by
Joseph Ransdell |- Template:End box

Sources

  • Dictionary of American Biography
  • Brown, Kenny. “A Progressive From Oklahoma: Senator Robert Latham Owen, Jr.” Chronicles of Oklahoma 62 (Fall 1984): 232-65
  • Keso, Edward. The Senatorial Career of Robert Latham Owen. Gardenvale, Canada: Garden City Press, 1938
  • Robert L. Owen at the Biographical Directory of the United States Congress

References

  1. Owen, Robert L. "Foreword" to Money Creators

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