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Joseph L. Bristow

Joseph L. Bristow

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Joseph Little Bristow was an American Republican politician from Kansas
Kansas is a US state located in the Midwestern United States. It is named after the Kansas River which flows through it, which in turn was named after the Kansa Native American tribe, which inhabited the area. The tribe's name is often said to mean "people of the wind" or "people of the south...


Born outside Hazel Green, Kentucky
Hazel Green, Kentucky
Hazel Green is an unincorporated community in Wolfe County, Kentucky, United States. It lies along Routes 191 and 205 northeast of the city of Campton, the county seat of Wolfe County. Its elevation is 922 feet . Although it is unincorporated, it has a post office, with the ZIP code of...

, he moved to Kansas when he was twelve. He graduated from Baker University
Baker University
Baker University is a private, residential university located in Baldwin City, Kansas, United States. Founded in 1858, it is the oldest university in Kansas and is affiliated with the United Methodist Church. Baker University is made up of four schools...

 when he was 25.

He edited several newspapers in Salina, Kansas
Salina, Kansas
Salina is a city in and the county seat of Saline County, Kansas, United States. As of the 2010 census, the city population was 47,707. Located in one of the world's largest wheat-producing areas, Salina is a regional trade center for north-central Kansas...

 before serving as a private secretary to Governor Edmund Morrill
Edmund Needham Morrill
Edmund Needham Morrill was a U.S. Congressman from Kansas and the 13th Governor of Kansas.Edmund Needham Morrill was born in Westbrook, Maine to Rufus and Mary Morrill. He attended the common schools at Westbrook Academy and learned the trade of tanning from his father. At the age of 23, he moved...

. He was President William McKinley
William McKinley
William McKinley, Jr. was the 25th President of the United States . He is best known for winning fiercely fought elections, while supporting the gold standard and high tariffs; he succeeded in forging a Republican coalition that for the most part dominated national politics until the 1930s...

's fourth assistant postmaster general.

Bristow was elected to the U.S. Senate in 1908 and served from 1909 to 1915. Bristow is perhaps best known for provoking a sarcastic comment from Vice President
Vice president
A vice president is an officer in government or business who is below a president in rank. The name comes from the Latin vice meaning 'in place of'. In some countries, the vice president is called the deputy president...

 Thomas R. Marshall
Thomas R. Marshall
Thomas Riley Marshall was an American Democratic politician who served as the 28th Vice President of the United States under Woodrow Wilson...

. One day while Bristow was delivering a speech in the Senate on "what this country needs", Marshall whispered loudly enough for most of the chamber to hear, "What this country really needs is a good five-cent cigar."

Bristow fought fiercely for direct election of Senators, which, until the passage of the Seventeenth Amendment
Seventeenth Amendment to the United States Constitution
The Seventeenth Amendment to the United States Constitution established direct election of United States Senators by popular vote. The amendment supersedes Article I, ยง 3, Clauses 1 and 2 of the Constitution, under which senators were elected by state legislatures...

 in 1912, were elected by (or appointed by processes established by) state legislatures.

Bristow is also known for giving Dwight D. Eisenhower
Dwight D. Eisenhower
Dwight David "Ike" Eisenhower was the 34th President of the United States, from 1953 until 1961. He was a five-star general in the United States Army...

 his recommendation for entrance into the United States Military Academy
United States Military Academy
The United States Military Academy at West Point is a four-year coeducational federal service academy located at West Point, New York. The academy sits on scenic high ground overlooking the Hudson River, north of New York City...


Bristow was defeated in his 1914 re-election bid. He spent the rest of his days farming his Virginia estate, Ossian Hall
Ossian Hall
Ossian Hall was an 18th-century plantation in Annandale, Fairfax County, Virginia. Ossian Hall was one of three large residences, along with Oak Hill , and Ravensworth , owned by the Fitzhugh family in Fairfax County....

. When he died in 1944, his body was returned to Kansas for burial next to his wife Margaret in Salina's Gypsum Hill Cemetery.

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