James Francis Byrnes

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Byrnes, James Francis,

1879–1972, American public official, Secretary of State (1945–47), governor of South Carolina (1951–55), b. Charleston, S.C. He studied law while working (1900–1908) as a court reporter, owned and edited a newspaper in Aiken, S. C., and represented (1911–25) South Carolina in the House. As Senator (1931–41), Byrnes, a Southern Democrat, became budgetary expert for the New Deal. He served as an associate justice of the Supreme Court (1941–42), but resigned and became director of economic stabilization (1942) and later (1943) director of war mobilization. As Secretary of State he tried to mend postwar differences with the USSR. He later became extremely anti-Soviet. An opponent of racial integration, he was elected governor of South Carolina, and opposed further federal centralization.


See his Speaking Frankly (1947) and All in One Lifetime (1958); K. A. Clements, James F. Byrnes and the Origins of the Cold War (1982).