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Jouett Shouse

Politician. Democrat. Born: December 10, 1879, Midway, Kentucky. Died: June 2, 1968, Washington, D.C. Served in U.S. House of Representatives, 7th District: March 4, 1915, to March 3, 1919.

Jouett ShouseOne of several Progressive-era Democrats to break into the predominantly Republican Kansas congressional delegation, Jouett Shouse was born in Midway, Woodford County, Kentucky, on December 10, 1879, and removed with his parents to Mexico, Missouri, in 1892. There he attended the public schools and the University of Missouri at Columbia, before moving to Lexington, Kentucky, in 1898 to pursue newspaper work. In 1911 he left Lexington and journalism in Lexington for Kinsley, Kansas, where he farmed and raised livestock. Shouse was also vice president and treasurer of the Mexican lines of the Kansas, Mexico & Orient Railroad and director of the Kinsley Bank. A member of the state senate from 1913-1915, Shouse was elected to the Sixty-fourth Congresses in November 1914 and reelected in 1916 (served, March 4, 1915-March 3, 1919), but was unsuccessful in his bid for a third term-he lost the 1918 election to Jasper Napoleon Tincher of Medicine Lodge. With the Democrats in control of the national executive, however, Shouse was offered and accepted a position as assistant secretary of the treasury and thus remained in Washington in that position from March 5, 1919, to November 15, 1920. Shouse became a nationally prominent Democrat during the 1920s, serving as a delegate to the Democratic National Conventions in 1920, 1924, and 1932, and as chairman, Democratic National Executive Committee from 1929-1932, while engaged in the practice of law in Kansas City, Missouri, and Washington, D.C. He was instrumental in Al Smith's 1928 campaign and remained in the Smith, as opposed to the Roosevelt wing of the Democratic Party. (Harry Woodring and Guy Helvering, on the other hand, led the successful Roosevelt faction to victory in two Kansas elections). "Jouett Shouse, afterwards a member of the Liberty League," explained historian Francis W. Schruben, "was to battle Roosevelt and the New Deal for the next several years." In 1953 he became chairman of the board of Anton Smith and Co., Inc., of New York, retired in 1965, and died in Washington, D.C., on June 2, 1968.

Entry: Shouse, Jouett

Author: Kansas Historical Society

Author information: The Kansas Historical Society is a state agency charged with actively safeguarding and sharing the state's history.

Date Created: June 2011

Date Modified: May 2012

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