RAYBURN: MR. SPEAKER

Sam Rayburn

Sam Rayburn

“It has always been my ambition since childhood to live a life that one day my fellow citizens would call me to membership in this popular branch of the greatest lawmaking body in the world. Out of their confidence and partiality they have done this. It is now my sole purpose here to help enact such wise and just laws that our common country will by virtue of these laws be a happier and a more prosperous country. I have always dreamed of a country which I believe this should be and that is one in which the citizenship is an educated and patriotic people, not swayed by passion and prejudice and a country that shall know no east, no west, no north, no south, but inhabited by a people liberty loving, patriotic, happy, and prosperous, with its lawmakers having no other purpose than to write such just laws that shall in the years to come be of service to humankind yet unborn.”
Samuel Taliferro Rayburn – May 6, 1913 (Maiden Congressional Speech)

 

"During the ten years that I knew him up there he was the most revered man in Washington." HG Dulaney Rayburn Staff Member (1951 - 1961)

“During the ten years that I knew him up there he was the most revered man in Washington.”
HG Dulaney
Rayburn Staff Member (1951 – 1961)

Rayburn: Mr. Speaker is a feature length documentary in production about the life and career of former Speaker of the U.S. House of Representatives Sam Rayburn of Texas (b. 1882 – d. 1961). For nearly fifty years (1913 – 1961) he was the Congressman for the 4th District of Texas, a rural part of Texas just northeast of Dallas.

Sam Rayburn (Circa 1940)

Sam Rayburn
(Circa 1940)

And from 1931 until his death in 1961, Sam Rayburn was the most important American politician who was never President during that time period. He was the chairman of the House Interstate and Foreign Commerce Committee (1931-1936), the House Majority Leader (1937-1940), and was Speaker of the House for just over 17 years, longer than anyone else in U.S. history (1940-1947, 1949-1953, 1955-1961). His fingerprints are on some of the most important legislation of the 20th century. During the New Deal alone he sponsored and ensured the passage of the Securities Act of 1933, the Emergency Railroad Act of 1933, the Securities Exchange Act of 1934, the Federal Communications Act of 1934, the Public Utility Holding Company Act of 1935, and the Rural Electrification Act of 1936.

"All his life in Congress [Rayburn] was the champion of the farmer." - Robert Caro, Lyndon Johnson biographer

“All his life in Congress [Rayburn] was the champion of the farmer.” – Robert Caro, Lyndon Johnson biographer

Though he had a great impact on laws affecting different areas of America’s domestic policy and international relations Rayburn never forgot his roots as a cotton farmer in Northeast Texas. Remembering the hardships of farming at the turn of the century, Rayburn ensured the passage of laws (e.g. farm to market roads, soil conservation, and rural electrification) to benefit the farmers of his district and the rest of the country.

Sam Rayburn, an important American politician almost lost to history, is finally receiving a feature length documentary about his life, career, and impact on the United States and the world from producer/director Reed Penney of One Cent Productions LLC.

Visit the official website of Rayburn: Mr. Speaker for more information.