FDR’s Third Term Dashes Rayburn’s White House Hopes

His own presidential ambitions thwarted by Franklin D. Roosevelt’s unexpected decision to seek a third term, Texas congressman Sam Rayburn appealed to the Democratic National Convention on July 17, 1940 to make FDR’s nomination unanimous.

Two months later, Rayburn suddenly found himself Speaker of the House following the fatal heart attack of William Bankhead.  Except for two short periods of Republican control (1947-1949 and 1953-1955) he held the powerful post until his death in 1961.

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