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James Allen
United States Senator
from Alabama

In office
January 3, 1969 – June 1, 1978
Preceded by J. Lister Hill
Succeeded by Maryon Pittman Allen
17th and 20th Lieutenant Governor of Alabama

In office
January 15, 1951 – January 17, 1955
Governor Gordon Persons
Preceded by James C. Inzer
Succeeded by William G. Hardwick

In office
January 14, 1963 – January 16, 1967
Governor George Wallace
Preceded by Albert B. Boutwell
Succeeded by Albert Brewer
Member of the Alabama Senate

In office
Member of the Alabama House of Representatives

In office
Personal details
Born James Browning Allen
(1912-12-28)December 28, 1912
Gadsden, Etowah County
Alabama, U.S.
Died June 1, 1978(1978-06-01) (aged 65)
Gulf Shores, Alabama, U.S.
Resting place Forrest Cemetery in Gadsden, Alabama
Nationality American
Political party Democratic
Spouse(s) (1) Marjorie Stephens (her death)

(2) Maryon Pittman

Alma mater University of Alabama

University of Alabama School of Law

Military service
Allegiance  United States
Service/branch  United States Navy
Years of service 1943–1946
Unit Reserves

James Browning Allen (December 28, 1912 – June 1, 1978) was a Democratic U.S. senator from Gadsden, Alabama.

Life and career[edit | edit source]

The Gadsden native attended the University of Alabama and the University of Alabama School of Law, both located in Tuscaloosa. At the University of Alabama he was a member of Alpha Sigma Phi. He practiced law in Gadsden from 1935 to 1968 and was a member of the Alabama House of Representatives from 1938 to 1942. He resigned from the state legislature to enter active duty in the United States Naval Reserve from 1943 to 1946. He again ran for office after World War II and was a member of the Alabama Senate from 1946 to 1950. He was the 17th and 20th Lieutenant Governor of Alabama from 1951 to 1955 and again from 1963 to 1967.[1]

In 1968, James Allen was elected to succeed the retiring Democratic U.S. Senator J. Lister Hill of Montgomery. Allen won 638,774 (76 percent) to 201,227 (24 percent) for his Republican opponent, Perry O. Hooper, Sr.[2]

Like his Republican Senate colleague, Jesse Helms of North Carolina, James Allen was a master of parliamentary procedure. He was considered to have revived the filibuster rule during his nearly nine years as a senator.[3] James Allen was known as one of the most conservative Democrats in the chamber, more conservative even than many Republicans at that time. He was an active opponent of the Panama Canal Treaty of 1978. James Allen received one vote for the Republican vice-presidential nomination at the 1976 Republican National Convention.[4][5]

In March 1974, James Allen stated that Governor of Alabama George Wallace would run in the 1976 Democratic primary and that he believed the Wallace campaign would seek to prevent a repeat of the previous election cycle where the popular vote was not translated into his support from delegates.[6]

Following the 1974 midterm elections, James Allen pledged to use filibusters against liberal officeholders in favor of large spending in the upcoming 94th United States Congress, reasoning that some of the newly elected Democrats could favor larger spending than the members they had replaced: "I don't feel the voters have given any mandate toward increased expenditures. The people's wishes as indicated by the vote are for us to curtail unnecessary programs and cut Federal spending." It was thought at this time that James Allen "could emerge as a leader of the Senate's conservative bloc with the retirement of Senator Sam J. Ervin, Democrat of North Carolina, and the aging of other conservatives".[7]

In December 1974, James Allen led a group of senators in a filibuster against an amendment previously passed in the House of Representatives designed to curb Government enforcement of desegregation orders. The filibuster ended with a two–thirds majority voting 56 to 27 to end debate on language revising the amendment, marking only the 19th time a filibuster was ended in such a manner in Senate history. James Allen stated that the closure move would result in a legislative delay, Hugh Scott replying, "The supplemental is being delayed by the opposition of the Senator from Alabama to the Scott-Mansfield amendment."[8]

James Allen served in the Senate until his death of a heart attack on June 1, 1978, at the resort community of Gulf Shores, Alabama. He is interred at Forrest Cemetery in Gadsden. Governor George C. Wallace, under whom James Allen served previously as lieutenant governor, appointed Allen's widow, Maryon Pittman Allen, to succeed him in the Senate. However, Mrs. Allen lost the special Democratic primary to fill the remaining two years of her husband's term to Donald W. Stewart of Anniston. Stewart then defeated James D. Martin of Gadsden, who became the Republican nominee after a primary had already been held between George W. Nichols and Elvin McCary, also of Anniston, and a longtime friend of Senator James Allen's. For the change in nominees to occur, Nichols, who defeated McCary in the special Republican primary, had to agree to step down from the race.[9]

References[edit | edit source]

External links[edit | edit source]

Party political offices
Preceded by
J. Lister Hill
Democratic nominee for U.S. Senator from Alabama
(Class 3)

1968, 1974
Succeeded by
Donald Stewart
Political offices
Preceded by
James C. Inzer
Lieutenant Governor of Alabama
January 15, 1951–January 17, 1955
Succeeded by
William G. Hardwick
Preceded by
Albert Boutwell
Lieutenant Governor of Alabama
January 14, 1963–January 16, 1967
Succeeded by
Albert Brewer
United States Senate
Preceded by
J. Lister Hill
U.S. Senator (Class 3) from Alabama
January 3, 1969–June 1, 1978
Served alongside: John J. Sparkman
Succeeded by
Maryon Pittman Allen

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