Hall of Distinguished Alumni
Augustus Owsley Stanley
in Shelbyville, Ky., on May 21, 1867. Governor. U.S. Congressman. Senator. Member
of Joint International Commission. Attended University of Kentucky, 1886-88.
Died, August 12, 1958.
Known as a trust-busting Congressman
before World War I, he served in the U.S. Congress from Kentucky's Second District
from 1902 to 1914. He was elected Governor of Kentucky in 1915, and served one
term in the U.S. Senate from 1918 to 1924.
He had a hand in the shaping of American
history. As a forceful member of a Congressional antitrust investigating committee
that helped break up James B. Duke's tobacco empire and the U.S. Steel Corporation
monopoly early in this century, he also was known as one of the great personalities
engaged in Kentucky politics in this century. His oratory was one of the marvels
of his day and has become part of the legend and folklore of the state.
He earned a bachelor's degree at Centre
College in 1889 and began a career as school teacher, studying law at night.
He was professor of belle lettres, Christian College, and was principal of the
Mackville (Ky.) High School. He received a license to practice law in 1894 in
Henderson. He had begun the practice of law at Flemingsburg, Ky. The University
of Kentucky awarded him the honorary degree of Doctor of Laws, 1916.
Answering a call by the Democrats
to run for Governor in 1915, he won the three-man primary, but faced Republican
Edwin P. Morrow in the fall election, which is recorded as one of the most fabulous
campaigns in the annals of the state. He won the election by 540 votes.
He was elected to the Senate in 1918
but was defeated for re-election in 1924. After his defeat, he opened a law
office in Washington in association with Joseph P. Tumulty, who had been President
Woodrow Wilson's secretary.
In 1930, he was appointed to the Joint
International Commission, a little-known agency that settles U.S.-Canadian disputes
involving water rights. He left the Commission in 1954.
In the years after he left the Senate,
he continued to speak for the Democrats. During a speech for J.C.W. Beckham
in the 1927 Democratic gubernatorial primary campaign, Stanley described his
love for his party: "The Security of America and the hope of the world
still abides in the dominance now of a united, unterrified and victorious democracy".
"Democracy with me is more than
a conviction; it is a sacred and an abiding faith...And now I reverently dedicate
'the bitter little that of life remains' to the service and the success of that
democracy. And when the tale is told and the journey ended, I shall not have
repaid the debt to the People I devoutly love and to the cause I shall maintain
until my arms are palsied and-my tongue is stilled in death."
He supported U.S. participation in
the League of Nations and proposed stricter regulation of railroads and abolition
of the railroad practice of rewarding co-operative public officials with free
He enjoyed hunting and during his
tenure on the Joint International Commission he made annual excursions along
the Canadian border, combining hunting with his official duties.
Augustus Owsley Stanley was named
to the Hall of Distinguished Alumni in February 1965.