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Claude A. Swanson

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Title: Claude A. Swanson  
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Subject: Harry F. Byrd, Charles Edison, Andrew Jackson Montague, John W. Daniel, Charles Francis Adams III
Collection: 1862 Births, 1939 Deaths, American People of Swedish Descent, Democratic Party Members of the United States House of Representatives, Democratic Party State Governors of the United States, Democratic Party United States Senators, Franklin D. Roosevelt Administration Cabinet Members, Governors of Virginia, Members of the United States House of Representatives from Virginia, People from Pittsylvania County, Virginia, United States Secretaries of the Navy, United States Senators from Virginia, University of Virginia Alumni, Virginia Democrats, Virginia Lawyers
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Claude A. Swanson

Claude Augustus Swanson
45th United States Secretary of the Navy
In office
March 5, 1933 – July 7, 1939
President Franklin D. Roosevelt
Preceded by Charles F. Adams III
Succeeded by Charles Edison
United States Senator
from Virginia
In office
August 1, 1910 – March 4, 1933
Preceded by John W. Daniel
Succeeded by Harry F. Byrd
45th Governor of Virginia
In office
February 1, 1906 – February 10, 1910
Lieutenant James Taylor Ellyson
Preceded by Andrew J. Montague
Succeeded by William H. Mann
Member of the U.S. House of Representatives
from Virginia's 5th district
In office
March 4, 1893 – January 30, 1906
Preceded by Posey G. Lester
Succeeded by Edward W. Saunders
Personal details
Born (1862-03-31)March 31, 1862
Swansonville, Virginia, U.S.
Died July 7, 1939(1939-07-07) (aged 77)
Rapidan Camp, Virginia, U.S.
Political party Democratic
Spouse(s) Elizabeth Deane Lyons
Alma mater Virginia Agricultural and Mechanical College
Randolph-Macon College
University of Virginia
Profession Politician, Lawyer, Teacher

Claude Augustus Swanson (March 31, 1862 – July 7, 1939) was an American lawyer and Democratic politician from Virginia.

He served seven terms in the U.S. House of Representatives, from 1893 until 1906, was the 45th Governor of Virginia from 1906 until 1910, and represented Virginia as a United States Senator from 1910 until 1933. Swanson lived most of his life at his estate Eldon in Pittsylvania County, Virginia, built by the Whittle family for whom Chatham's Whittle Street is named.[1]

He was Secretary of the Navy under Franklin D. Roosevelt from 1933 until his death in 1939, at Herbert Hoover's Rapidan Camp (which was then available for use by the Roosevelt Administration) at age 77.


  • Electoral history 1
  • Memorials 2
  • References 3
  • Further reading 4
  • External links 5

Electoral history

  • 1892; Swanson was elected to the U.S. House of Representatives with 53.91% of the vote, defeating Populist Benjamin T. Jones.
  • 1894; Swanson was re-elected with 52.34% of the vote, defeating Republican G.W.Cornett, Independent G.W. Hale, and Populist W.T. Shelton.
  • 1896; Swanson was re-elected with 50.98% of the vote, defeating Republican John Robert Brown.
  • 1898; Swanson was re-elected with 57.02% of the vote, defeating Republican Edmund Parr, Populist R.A. Bennett, Independent Republican R.O. Martin, and Independent C.T. Seay
  • 1900; Swanson was re-elected with 58.14% of the vote, defeating Republican John R. Whitehead.
  • 1902; Swanson was re-elected with 60.8% of the vote, defeating Republican Beverly A. Davis and Populist Dan Dickerson.
  • 1904; Swanson was re-elected with 64.98% of the vote, defeating Republican J.B. Stovall.
  • 1905; Swanson was elected Governor of Virginia with 64.51% of the vote, defeating Republican Lewis L. Lunsford and Socialist Labor B.D. Downey.


The Swanson Middle School in Arlington, Virginia is named for him.

Short-lived Swanson County, Oklahoma, was also named for him, while he was still alive.


  1. ^ Governor Swanson's Retreat,

Further reading

  • Claude A. Swanson of Virginia: A Political Biography, Henry C. Ferrell Jr., The University Press of Kentucky, 1985

External links

  • Media related to at Wikimedia Commons
  • Claude A. Swanson at the Biographical Directory of the United States Congress Retrieved on 2009-05-16
  • "Claude A. Swanson".  
  • A Guide to the Executive Papers of Governor Claude A. Swanson, 1902-1913 (bulk 1906-1909) at The Library of Virginia
United States House of Representatives
Preceded by
Posey G. Lester
Member of the U.S. House of Representatives
from Virginia's 5th congressional district

March 4, 1893 – January 30, 1906
Succeeded by
Edward W. Saunders
Political offices
Preceded by
Andrew J. Montague
Governor of Virginia
February 1, 1906 – February 10, 1910
Succeeded by
William H. Mann
United States Senate
Preceded by
John W. Daniel
U.S. Senator (Class 1) from Virginia
August 1, 1910 – March 4, 1933
Served alongside: Thomas S. Martin, E. Carter Glass
Succeeded by
Harry F. Byrd
Government offices
Preceded by
Charles F. Adams III
United States Secretary of the Navy
March 6, 1933 – July 7, 1939
Succeeded by
Frank Knox
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