James Francis Byrnes (US: ; May 2, 1882 – April 9, 1972) was an American judge and politician from the state of South Carolina. A member of the Democratic Party, Byrnes served in Congress, the executive branch, and on the United States Supreme Court. He was also the 104th Governor of South Carolina, making him one of the very few politicians to serve in all three branches of the American federal government while also being active in state government.

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  • James Francis Byrnes (US: ; May 2, 1882 – April 9, 1972) was an American judge and politician from the state of South Carolina. A member of the Democratic Party, Byrnes served in Congress, the executive branch, and on the United States Supreme Court. He was also the 104th Governor of South Carolina, making him one of the very few politicians to serve in all three branches of the American federal government while also being active in state government. Born and raised in Charleston, South Carolina, Byrnes pursued a legal career with the help of his cousin, Governor Miles Benjamin McSweeney. Byrnes won election to the United States House of Representatives, serving from 1911 to 1925. He became a close ally of President Woodrow Wilson and a protégé of Senator Benjamin Tillman. He sought election to the United States Senate in 1924, but narrowly lost a run-off election to Coleman Livingston Blease, who had the backing of the Ku Klux Klan. After the loss, Byrnes moved his law practice to Spartanburg, South Carolina and prepared for a political comeback. He narrowly defeated Blease in the 1930 Democratic primary and joined the Senate in 1931. Historian George E. Mowry called Byrnes "the most influential Southern member of Congress between John Calhoun and Lyndon Johnson." In the Senate, Byrnes supported the policies of his long-time friend, President Franklin D. Roosevelt. Byrnes championed the New Deal and sought federal investment in South Carolina water projects. He also supported Roosevelt's foreign policy, calling for a hard line against Japan and Nazi Germany. On the other hand, Byrnes opposed anti-lynching legislation and some of the labor laws proposed by Roosevelt, such as the Fair Labor Standards Act. Roosevelt appointed Byrnes to the Supreme Court in 1941, but asked him to join the executive branch after the start of World War II. During the war, Byrnes led the Office of Economic Stabilization and the Office of War Mobilization. He was a candidate to replace Henry A. Wallace as Roosevelt's running mate in the 1944 election, but Harry S. Truman was instead nominated by the 1944 Democratic National Convention. After Roosevelt's death, Byrnes served as a close adviser to Truman, becoming United States Secretary of State in July 1945. In this capacity, Byrnes attended the Potsdam Conference and the Paris Peace Conference. However, relations between Byrnes and Truman soured, and Byrnes resigned from the Cabinet in January 1947. He returned to elective politics in 1950, winning election as the Governor of South Carolina. As governor, he opposed the Supreme Court decision in Brown v. Board of Education and sought to establish "separate but equal" as a realistic alternative to the desegregation of schools. He endorsed most Republican presidential nominees after 1948 and supported Strom Thurmond's switch to the Republican Party in 1964. (en)
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  • James Francis Byrnes (US: ; May 2, 1882 – April 9, 1972) was an American judge and politician from the state of South Carolina. A member of the Democratic Party, Byrnes served in Congress, the executive branch, and on the United States Supreme Court. He was also the 104th Governor of South Carolina, making him one of the very few politicians to serve in all three branches of the American federal government while also being active in state government. (en)
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  • James F. Byrnes (en)
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