James Allen (Alabama politician)

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James Allen
Official portrait, c. 1963
United States Senator
from Alabama
In office
January 3, 1969 – June 1, 1978
Preceded byJ. Lister Hill
Succeeded byMaryon Pittman Allen
17th and 20th Lieutenant Governor of Alabama
In office
January 15, 1951 – January 17, 1955
GovernorGordon Persons
Preceded byJames C. Inzer
Succeeded byWilliam G. Hardwick
In office
January 14, 1963 – January 16, 1967
GovernorGeorge Wallace
Preceded byAlbert B. Boutwell
Succeeded byAlbert Brewer
Member of the Alabama Senate
In office
Member of the Alabama House of Representatives
In office
Personal details
James Browning Allen

(1912-12-28)December 28, 1912
Gadsden, Etowah County
Alabama, U.S.
DiedJune 1, 1978(1978-06-01) (aged 65)
Gulf Shores, Alabama, U.S.
Resting placeForrest Cemetery in Gadsden, Alabama
Political partyDemocratic
Spouse(s)(1) Marjorie Stephens (her death)
(2) Maryon Pittman
Alma materUniversity of Alabama
University of Alabama School of Law
Military service
Allegiance United States
Branch/service United States Navy
Years of service1943–1946

James Browning Allen (December 28, 1912 – June 1, 1978) was an American Democratic politician serving as U.S. senator representing Alabama. Allen previously served as the Lieutenant Governor of Alabama and also served in the Alabama Senate and the Alabama House of Representatives.

Allen was succeeded in the US Senate by his wife, Maryon Pittman Allen.

Life and career[edit]

The Gadsden native attended the University of Alabama and the University of Alabama School of Law, both located in Tuscaloosa. At the University of Alabama he was a member of Alpha Sigma Phi. He practiced law in Gadsden from 1935 to 1968 and was a member of the Alabama House of Representatives from 1938 to 1942. He resigned from the state legislature to enter active duty in the United States Naval Reserve from 1943 to 1946. He again ran for office after World War II and was a member of the Alabama Senate from 1946 to 1950. He was the 17th and 20th Lieutenant Governor of Alabama from 1951 to 1955 and again from 1963 to 1967.[1] During his first tenure, he asked the Alabama Legislature to reject federal funding and refuse to comply with school integration following the Brown v. Board of Education decision. He ran for Governor in 1954, but lost in the Democratic primary to former Governor Jim Folsom. Constitutionally barred from a second consecutive term, he would later be elected once more in 1962, becoming the first Lieutenant Governor to be elected more than once. During his second term as Lieutenant Governor, Allen developed a strong political partnership with Governor George Wallace. He was an advocate of racial segregation, and opposed the Civil Rights Act of 1964 and the Voting Rights Act of 1965. In 1964, he met Maryon Pittman Mullins, a journalist from the Birmingham News, for an interview. They quickly fell in love and married four months later.[2]

In 1968, James Allen was elected to succeed the retiring Democratic U.S. Senator J. Lister Hill of Montgomery. Allen won 638,774 (76 percent) to 201,227 (24 percent) for his Republican opponent, Perry O. Hooper, Sr.

Allen was known as one of the most conservative Democrats in the chamber. He was considerably more conservative even than many Republicans of the time. He was an active opponent of the Panama Canal Treaty of 1978. James Allen received one vote for the Republican vice-presidential nomination at the 1976 Republican National Convention.[3][4]

In March 1974, Allen stated that Governor George Wallace would run in the 1976 Democratic primary and that he believed the Wallace campaign would seek to prevent a repeat of the previous election cycle where the popular vote was not translated into his support from delegates.[5]

Like his Republican Senate colleague, Jesse Helms of North Carolina, Allen was a master of parliamentary procedure. He was considered to have revived the filibuster rule during his nearly ten years as a senator.[6] Following the 1974 midterm elections, Allen pledged to use filibusters against liberal officeholders in favor of large spending in the upcoming 94th United States Congress, reasoning that some of the newly elected Democrats could favor larger spending than the members they had replaced: "I don't feel the voters have given any mandate toward increased expenditures. The people's wishes as indicated by the vote are for us to curtail unnecessary programs and cut Federal spending." It was thought at this time that James Allen "could emerge as a leader of the Senate's conservative bloc with the retirement of Senator Sam J. Ervin, Democrat of North Carolina, and the aging of other conservatives".[7]

In December 1974, James Allen led a group of senators in an anti-busing filibuster against the removal of an amendment previously passed in the House of Representatives designed to curb Government enforcement of desegregation orders. The filibuster ended with a two–thirds majority voting 56 to 27 to end debate on language revising the amendment, marking only the 19th time a filibuster was ended in such a manner in Senate history. James Allen stated that the closure move would result in a legislative delay, Hugh Scott replying, "The supplemental is being delayed by the opposition of the Senator from Alabama to the Scott-Mansfield amendment."[8]

James Allen served in the Senate until his death of a heart attack on June 1, 1978, at the resort community of Gulf Shores, Alabama. He is interred at Forrest Cemetery in Gadsden. Governor George C. Wallace, under whom James Allen served previously as lieutenant governor, appointed Allen's widow, Maryon Pittman Allen, to succeed him in the Senate.

See also[edit]


  1. ^ "James Allen, Lieutenant Governors of Alabama". Archived from the original on April 4, 2016. Retrieved March 5, 2012.
  2. ^ "Allen, James B." Encyclopedia of Alabama. Retrieved February 7, 2024.
  3. ^ "US Vice President – R Convention". Our Campaigns. Retrieved October 23, 2011.
  4. ^ UPI (August 20, 1976). "...Alabama Delegation". Florence Times – Tri Cities Daily. p. 2. Retrieved October 23, 2011.
  5. ^ "SENATOR SEES RACE BY WALLACE IN 1976". New York Times. March 11, 1974.
  6. ^ "James Allen's Widow is Named to Senate" (PDF), New York Times, June 9, 1978
  7. ^ "Senator Allen Pledges Fight Against Congress Spenders". New York Times. November 10, 1974.
  8. ^ "Senate Cuts Off Filibuster; Voids House Busing Curb". New York Times. December 15, 1974.

External links[edit]

Party political offices
Preceded by Democratic nominee for Lieutenant Governor of Alabama
Succeeded by
Preceded by Democratic nominee for U.S. Senator from Alabama
(Class 3)

1968, 1974
Succeeded by
Political offices
Preceded by Lieutenant Governor of Alabama
January 15, 1951–January 17, 1955
Succeeded by
Preceded by Lieutenant Governor of Alabama
January 14, 1963–January 16, 1967
Succeeded by
U.S. Senate
Preceded by U.S. senator (Class 3) from Alabama
January 3, 1969–June 1, 1978
Served alongside: John J. Sparkman
Succeeded by