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Henry Thomas Rainey

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Title: Henry Thomas Rainey  
Author: World Heritage Encyclopedia
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Subject: Speaker of the United States House of Representatives, Party leaders of the United States House of Representatives, Nancy Pelosi, Thomas Brackett Reed, Joseph Gurney Cannon
Collection: 1860 Births, 1934 Deaths, Amherst College Alumni, Democratic Party Members of the United States House of Representatives, Illinois Democrats, Illinois State Court Judges, Knox College (Illinois) Alumni, Majority Leaders of the United States House of Representatives, Members of the United States House of Representatives from Illinois, Northwestern University School of Law Alumni, Speakers of the United States House of Representatives
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Henry Thomas Rainey

Henry Thomas Rainey
40th Speaker of the United States House of Representatives
In office
March 9, 1933 – August 19, 1934
President Franklin D. Roosevelt
Preceded by John N. Garner
Succeeded by Joseph W. Byrns, Sr.
House Majority Leader
In office
December 7, 1931 – March 3, 1933
Preceded by John Q. Tilson
Succeeded by Joseph W. Byrns
Member of the U.S. House of Representatives
from Illinois's 20th district
In office
March 4, 1903 – March 3, 1921
March 4, 1923 – August 19, 1934
Preceded by James R. Williams
Guy L. Shaw
Succeeded by Guy L. Shaw
Scott W. Lucas
Personal details
Born August 20, 1860
Carrollton, Illinois
Died August 19, 1934 (aged 73)
St. Louis, Missouri
Political party Democratic
Alma mater Knox College
Amherst College
Union College of Law
Profession Law

Henry Thomas Rainey (August 20, 1860 – August 19, 1934) was a prominent U.S. politician during the first third of the 20th century. He served in the United States House of Representatives from 1903 to 1921 and from 1923 to his death as a Democrat from Illinois, and was its Speaker during the famous Hundred days of Franklin D. Roosevelt in 1933, and the last Speaker of the House born before the Civil War.


  • Biography 1
    • Early years 1.1
    • Political career 1.2
    • Leadership 1.3
    • Speaker of the House 1.4


Early years

Rainey attended the public schools and Knox Academy and Knox College, Galesburg, Ill. he transferred to, and graduated from Amherst College in 1883 and then the Union College of Law, in Chicago which he graduated in 1885. He was admitted to the bar in 1885 and commenced practice in Carrollton, Ill.

Political career

Rainey was appointed master in chancery for Greene County, Ill., from 1887 until 1895, when he resigned, and returned to private practice. He then decided to return to politics in 1902 getting elected to Congress and serving for nine terms before losing to Guy L. Shaw in 1920. Two years later, he won back his seat and served until his death.


Due to the Great Depression, the Republican party lost its majority in a landslide, and, with John Nance Garner elevated to the Speakership, Rainey ran for, and defeated John McDuffie for the Majority leadership. McDuffie remained as Whip.

Speaker of the House

statue of Henry T. Rainey, north of Carrollton Illinois
With Speaker Garner having been inaugurated Vice President on March 4, 1933, Rainey, being next in line, was elected Speaker of the House when President Roosevelt called a special session of Congress two days later. Rainey gave
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