Clark, Champ

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Clark, Champ,

1850–1921, American legislator, b. near Lawrenceburg, Ky. His full name was James Beauchamp Clark. After a career as lawyer, newspaper editor, and politician in Missouri, he was (1893–95, 1897–1921) a member of the U.S. House of Representatives, becoming (1907) Democratic leader. He organized (1910) the successful fight against Speaker Joseph Cannon and his arbitrary control of legislative procedure. Clark served as speaker from 1911 to 1919. At the Democratic convention in 1912 he was the leading candidate for the Democratic nomination for President until William Jennings Bryan shifted his support to Woodrow Wilson.


See his autobiographical My Quarter Century of American Politics (1920, repr. 1969).

Clark, (James Beauchamp) Champ

(1850–1921) U.S. representative; born in Lawrenceburg, Ky. A graduate of Bethany College in West Virginia and of Cincinnati Law School, he moved to Missouri in 1876 where he was a newspaper editor and city attorney in Louisiana and Bowling Green, Ohio, before serving as prosecutor for Pike County (1885–89) and member of the Missouri legislature (1889–91). Elected to Congress (Dem., Mo.; 1893–1921) he served on the powerful Foreign Affairs and Ways and Means Committees, supporting the Spanish-American War, yet opposing annexation of Hawaii. A forcible orator and minority leader, he led the fight to wrest arbitrary control of legislative procedures from the Republican Speaker, Joseph Cannon. Elected Speaker of the House in 1911, he was an enormously popular candidate for president in 1912 who led Woodrow Wilson through 14 ballots at the Democratic Convention.