J. William Fulbright

James William Fulbright (April 9, 1905 – February 9, 1995) was a United States Senator representing Arkansas from January 1945 until his resignation in December 1974. Fulbright is the longest serving chairman in the history of the Senate Foreign Relations Committee. A Southern Democrat and a staunch multilateralist who supported the creation of the United Nations, he was also a segregationist who signed the Southern Manifesto. Fulbright opposed McCarthyism and the House Un-American Activities Committee and later became known for his opposition to American involvement in the Vietnam War. His efforts to establish an international exchange program eventually resulted in the creation of a fellowship program which bears his name, the Fulbright Program.

J. William Fulbright
United States Senator
from Arkansas
In office
January 3, 1945 – December 31, 1974
Preceded byHattie Caraway
Succeeded byDale Bumpers
Member of the U.S. House of Representatives
from Arkansas's 3rd district
In office
January 3, 1943 – January 3, 1945
Preceded byClyde T. Ellis
Succeeded byJames William Trimble
Chairman of the Senate Committee on Foreign Relations
In office
January 3, 1959 – December 31, 1974
Preceded byTheodore F. Green
Succeeded byJohn J. Sparkman
Chairman of the Senate Committee on Banking and Currency
In office
January 3, 1955 – January 3, 1959
Preceded byHomer Capehart
Succeeded byA. Willis Robertson
Personal details
James William Fulbright

(1905-04-09)April 9, 1905
Sumner, Missouri, U.S.
DiedFebruary 9, 1995(1995-02-09) (aged 89)
Washington, D.C., U.S.
Political partyDemocratic
Spouse(s)Elizabeth Williams (1932–1985)
Harriet Mayor
Alma materUniversity of Arkansas
Pembroke College, Oxford
George Washington University

Early yearsEdit

An earlier portrait of Senator Fulbright.

Fulbright was born in Sumner, Missouri, the son of Roberta Fulbright (née Waugh) and Jay Fulbright.[1] In 1906 the Fulbright family moved to Fayetteville, Arkansas. His mother was a businesswoman who consolidated her husband's business enterprises, and became an influential newspaper publisher, editor and journalist. Fulbright's parents enrolled him in the University of Arkansas's College of Education's experimental grammar and secondary school.[2]

Fulbright earned a history degree from the University of Arkansas in 1925, where he became a member of the Sigma Chi fraternity. He was elected president of the student body and a star four-year player for the Razorback football team from 1921 to 1924.[3][4]

Fulbright later studied at Oxford University, where he was a Rhodes Scholar at Pembroke College, graduating in 1928. He received his law degree from The George Washington University Law School in 1934, was admitted to the bar in Washington, D.C. and became an attorney in the Antitrust Division of the U.S. Department of Justice.

Fulbright was a lecturer in law at the University of Arkansas from 1936 until 1939. He was appointed president of the school in 1939, making him the youngest university president in the country. He held this post until 1941. The School of Arts and Sciences at the University of Arkansas is named in his honor, and he was elected there into Phi Beta Kappa. He was a member of the Founding Council of the Rothermere American Institute, University of Oxford.[5]

Fulbright's sister, Roberta, married Gilbert C. Swanson, the head of the Swanson frozen-foods conglomerate, and was the maternal grandmother of media figure Tucker Carlson.[6]

Congressional careerEdit

House of RepresentativesEdit

Fulbright was elected to the United States House of Representatives in 1942, where he served one term. During this period, he became a member of the House Foreign Affairs Committee. The House adopted the Fulbright Resolution which supported international peace-keeping initiatives and encouraged the United States to participate in what became the United Nations in September 1943. This brought Fulbright to national attention.

In 1943 a confidential analysis by Isaiah Berlin of the House and Senate foreign relations committees for the British Foreign Office identified Fulbright as "a distinguished new-comer to the House."[7] It continued:

A young (age 38) wealthy ex-Rhodes scholar, whose major experience so far has been of farming and business. He has already shown versatile competence and ability in business as special attorney in the Anti-Trust Division of the Justice Department and as president of the University of Arkansas. An alert and intelligent member of the committee who recently drew a comparison between the British practice of making grants to her allies and America's World War practice of making loans on fixed financial terms, to show that it was America which had departed from the general international practice in the matter. Fulbright would like to see the United States obtain only non-material benefits from Lend-Lease, namely, political commitments from the countries receiving it, that would enable a system of post-war collective security to be set up. An internationalist.[7]


He was elected to the Senate in 1944, unseating incumbent Hattie Carraway, the first woman ever elected to the U.S. Senate. He served five six-year terms. In his first general election to the Senate, Fulbright defeated the Republican Victor Wade of Batesville, 85.1 to 14.9 percent.

He promoted the passage of legislation establishing the Fulbright Program in 1946, a program of educational grants (Fulbright Fellowships and Fulbright Scholarships), sponsored by the Bureau of Educational and Cultural Affairs of the United States Department of State, governments in other countries, and the private sector. The program was established to increase mutual understanding between the peoples of the United States and other countries through the exchange of persons, knowledge, and skills.[8] It is considered one of the most prestigious award programs and it operates in 155 countries.

Fulbright became a member of the Senate Foreign Relations Committee in 1949, and served as chairman from 1959 to 1974–he was the longest-serving chair in that committee's history.

He was the only senator to vote against an appropriation for the Permanent Subcommittee on Investigations in 1954, which was chaired by Senator Joseph McCarthy.[9]

In 1956, Fulbright campaigned across the country for the unsuccessful Stevenson-Kefauver ticket. He swamped his Republican challenger that year, Ben C. Henley, the state party chairman and a brother of U.S. District Judge Jesse Smith Henley of Harrison.

Fulbright signed the Southern Manifesto in opposition of the Supreme Court's historic 1954 Brown v. Board of Education decision which declared that "separate but equal" in segregating black and white children in schools was illegal and that all schools must be integrated.[10] With other southern Democrats, Fulbright filibustered the Civil Rights Act of 1964, as well as voting against the 1965 Voting Rights Act.[11] However, in 1970, during the Nixon administration, Fulbright voted for a five-year extension of the Voting Rights Act.[12] He also led the charge against confirming Nixon's conservative Supreme Court nominees Clement Haynsworth and Harold Carswell.[13]

According to historian and former Special Assistant to President Kennedy Arthur Schlesinger, Jr., Fulbright was Kennedy's first choice as Secretary of State, but it was felt he was too controversial. Rather the "lowest common denominator", Dean Rusk, was chosen.[14]

Senator Fulbright and the Chicken Tax

U.S. intensive chicken farming led to the 1961–1964 "chicken war" with Europe.

With imports of inexpensive chicken from the U.S., chicken prices fell quickly and sharply across Europe, radically affecting European chicken consumption.[15] U.S. chicken overtook nearly half of the imported European chicken market.[15] Coming on the heels of a "crisis in trade relations between the U.S. and the Common Market",[15] Europe moved ahead with tariffs. [16]

Senator Fulbright, as chairman of the Senate Foreign Relations Committee and Democratic Senator from Arkansas—a chief poultry-producing state—interrupted a NATO debate on nuclear armament to protest trade sanctions on U.S. chicken,[17] going so far as to threaten cutting US troops in NATO.

The U.S. subsequently enacted a 25% tariff on imported light trucks, known as the chicken tax—that remains in effect as of 2010.

Fulbright raised serious objections to President John F. Kennedy about the impending Bay of Pigs Invasion in April 1961, and also to President Lyndon B. Johnson on the 1965 Dominican Civil War in Santo Domingo.[18]

In May 1961, Fulbright denounced the Kennedy administration's system of having diplomats rotate from one position to another as an "idiot policy".[19]

On 30 July 1961, two weeks before the erection of the Berlin Wall, Fulbright said in a television interview, "I don't understand why the East Germans don't just close their border, because I think they have the right to close it."[20][21] Fulbright's statement was reported as a three-column spread on the front page of the East German Communist Party newspaper Neues Deutschland. The West German reception of his statement was extremely negative. A cable from US Embassy Bonn reported that "rarely has a statement by a prominent American official aroused so much consternation, chagrin and anger." Willy Brandt's Press Secretary Egon Bahr is quoted as saying: "We privately called him Fulbricht"[22] (after Walter Ulbricht, who was the East German head of state at that time).

McGeorge Bundy sent the press coverage of Fulbright's interview to the President with a comment about "the helpful impact of Senator Fulbright's remarks." Kennedy subsequently refused to distance himself from Fulbright's observation, which suggests that he asked Fulbright to make this statement as a way of signaling to Soviet leader Nikita Khrushchev that the building of a wall would be viewed by the United States as an acceptable way of defusing the Berlin Crisis.[23]

The President (John Kennedy) is hobbled in his task of leading the American people to consensus and concerted action by the restrictions of power imposed on him by a constitutional system designed for an 18th century agrarian society far removed from the centers of world power. He alone, among elected officials can rise above parochialism and private pressures. He alone, in his role as teacher and moral leader, can hope to overcome the excesses and inadequacies of a public opinion that is all too often ignorant of the needs, the dangers, and the opportunities in our foreign relations. It is imperative that we break out of the intellectual confines of cherished and traditional beliefs and open our minds to the possibility that Basic Changes in Our System may be essential to meet the requirements of the 20th century.

— J William Fulbright, Stanford University, 1961

Fulbright met with Kennedy during the latter's visit to Fort Smith, Arkansas in October 1961.[24]

Testimony to the Senate Foreign Relations Committee in 1963, Fulbright claimed five million tax-deductible dollars from philanthropic Americans was sent to Israel and then recycled back to the U.S. for distribution to organizations seeking to influence public opinion in favor of Israel.[25] This statement led to friction with organized pro-Israeli groups in the U.S. Frustration with the ability of the Zionist Organization of America and other Zionist lobby groups to influence Senators with their campaign contributions led Fulbright to retort on Face the Nation on April 15, 1973 that "Israel controls the U.S. Senate"[26] and that "The Senate is subservient to Israel, in my opinion much too much. We should be more concerned about the United States interest rather than doing the bidding of Israel. This is a most unusual development."[27]

Perhaps his most notable case of dissent was his public condemnation of foreign and domestic policies, in particular, his concern that right-wing radicalism, as espoused by the John Birch Society and wealthy oil-man H. L. Hunt, had infected the United States military.[citation needed][28] He was, in turn, denounced by Republican Senators J. Strom Thurmond and Barry M. Goldwater.[citation needed] Goldwater and Texas Senator John Tower announced that they were going to Arkansas to campaign against Fulbright,[29] but Arkansas voters reelected him.

One of Fulbright's local staffers in Arkansas was James McDougal. While working for Fulbright, McDougal met the future Arkansas governor and US President Bill Clinton and the two of them, along with their wives, began investing in various development properties, including the parcel of land along the White River in the Ozarks that would later be the subject of an independent counsel investigation during Clinton's first term in office.[30]

Despite serving in the Senate for 30 years, Fulbright remained Arkansas' junior senator throughout his tenure, serving alongside senior Senator John L. McClellan. He along with Tom Harkin of Iowa who served alongside Chuck Grassley, are both the longest-serving senators in history to never become their state's senior senator.

In terms of legislative power too, Fulbright's career was somewhat stunted, its influence never matching its luminescence. For all his seniority and powerful committee posts, he was not considered a part of the Senate's inner circle of friends and power brokers. He seemed to prefer it this way: the man who Harry Truman called an "overeducated SOB" was, in the words of Clayton Fritchey, "an individualist and a thinker", a man whose "intellectualism alone alienates him from the Club" of the Senate.[31]

McCarthy confrontationEdit

The Republicans gained a majority in the Senate following the 1952 elections, allowing Wisconsin Senator Joseph McCarthy to become chairman of the Senate Committee on Government Operations.[32] A month into McCarthy's tenure, Fulbright received a letter from former Connecticut Senator William Benton with whom he had developed a friendship during the Jessup hearings. Benton had lost his re-election bid the previous November after being targeted by anti-communist supporters of McCarthy. Benton urged Fulbright to assume a leading role in opposition to McCarthy and pledged he would receive support for doing so.[33] Fulbright, though sympathetic toward Benton, wished to follow the guideline set by Senate Minority Leader Lyndon B. Johnson who indicated his unwillingness to have Democrats become involved in condemnation of McCarthy. Fulbright was alarmed by McCarthy's attack on the VOA and the United States Information Agency, the latter agency at the time supervising educational exchange programs.[33] This was followed by the summer 1953 withdrawal by the State Department of a fellowship for a male student whose wife was suspected of communist affiliation and the scheduling by the Senate Appropriations Committee of a hearing on the annual appropriations of the USIA, the inquiry appearing to put the Fulbright Program at stake.[33]

The confrontation between Fulbright and McCarthy took place in the Supreme Court Chamber of Capitol Hill. McCarthy questioned Fulbright over his knowledge of whether the board clearing students for funding from the USIA received a security check, and on a policy that bars communists and communist sympathizers from receiving appointments as lecturers and professors. McCarthy pressed Fulbright to answer the second question while Fulbright recounted members of the board.[33] McCarthy explained that he believed Fulbright had some level of influence on the Fulbright Program since it bore his name, but Fulbright disagreed, stating that his exerting such influence would destroy the board.[33] After McCarthy insisted that he be authorized to release statements of some Fulbright Program students both praising the communist form of government and condemning American values, Fulbright countered that he was willing to submit thousands of names of students who had praised the US and its way of government in their statements. The encounter was the last time McCarthy made a public assault on the program; leading historian and original Fulbright Program board member Walter Johnson credited Fulbright with preventing the program from being ended by McCarthyism.[33]

Early segregation activitiesEdit

In 1950, Fulbright co-sponsored an amendment, which, if enacted, would allow soldiers to choose whether or not to serve in a racially integrated unit.[34] Two years later, Fulbright assisted with blocking an Alaska statehood bill entirely due to his view that legislators from the state would be in favor of civil rights bills.[34]

To express southern disagreement with the 1954 U.S. Supreme Court decision in Brown v. Board of Education, which ruled that public school segregation was unconstitutional,[35] South Carolina Senator Strom Thurmond wrote the initial draft of the Southern Manifesto.[36] Fulbright signed a later version of the document along with eighteen other senators.[10] In a letter to a constituent in Little Rock, Fulbright stated that the South had no way of expressing how wrong its representatives believed the Supreme Court was except to attempt to replicate the seceding of the South from the Union prior to the beginning of the Civil War. Fulbright telephoned Alabama Senators John Sparkman and Lister Hill as well as Price Daniel, all of whom agreed to support a moderate version of the Southern Manifesto. Fulbright told his despondent aides that the new version would be the only way Hill and himself would retain influence within the Dixie delegation. The draft put forth by the four senators took a moderate approach to the Supreme Court decision, pledging the southern senators would reverse the ruling through legal moves and recognizing themselves as the minority in the Senate. Hardliners against civil rights were dismayed by the modifications to the document made by Fulbright because they viewed it as casting them as supplicants rather than victims. According to biographer Randall Bennett Woods, Fulbright believed that the South was not yet ready for integration but that education would eventually eradicate prejudice, allowing blacks to "take their rightful place in American society."[34] Fulbright's signing of the Southern Manifesto did not prevent him from being able to survive politically amid growing numbers of black voters in Arkansas. He delivered an address to the Arkansas Democratic Voters' Association where he insisted his intervention had led to the moderate version of the Southern Manifesto and his claims were generally accepted by Arkansan black leadership.[34]

Vietnam War and U.S. foreign policyEdit

In August 1961, as the Kennedy administration held firm in its commitment to a five-year foreign aid program, Fulbright and Pennsylvania representative Thomas E. Morgan accompanied Democratic congressional leadership to their weekly White House breakfast session with Kennedy.[37] In delivering opening statements on August 4, Fulbright spoke of the program introducing a new concept of foreign aid in the event of its passage.[38]

On March 25, 1964, Fulbright delivered an address calling on the US to adapt itself to a world that was both changing and complex, the address being said by Fulbright to have been meant to explore self-evident truths in the national vocabulary of the US regarding the Soviet Union, Cuba, China, Panama, and Latin America.[39]

In May 1964, Fulbright predicated that time would see a cessation in the misunderstanding within the relationship between France and the United States and that President of France Charles de Gaulle was deeply admired for his achievements in spite of confusion that might arise in others from his rhetoric.[40]

On August 7, 1964, a unanimous House of Representatives and all but two members of the Senate voted to approve the Gulf of Tonkin Resolution, which led to a dramatic escalation of the Vietnam War. Fulbright, who not only voted for but also sponsored the resolution, would later write:

Many Senators who accepted the Gulf of Tonkin resolution without question might well not have done so had they foreseen that it would subsequently be interpreted as a sweeping Congressional endorsement for the conduct of a large-scale war in Asia.[41]

Fulbright (left) with Senator Wayne Morse during a hearing of the Senate Foreign Relations Committee on the Vietnam War in 1966

As chairman of the Foreign Relations Committee, Fulbright held several series of hearings on the Vietnam War. Many of the earlier hearings, in 1966, were televised to the nation in their entirety (a rarity in the pre–C-SPAN era); the 1971 hearings included the notable testimony of Vietnam veteran and future Senator and Secretary of State John Kerry.

In 1966, Fulbright published The Arrogance of Power, in which he attacked the justification of the Vietnam War, Congress's failure to set limits on it, and the impulses which gave rise to it. Fulbright's scathing critique undermined the elite consensus that U.S. military intervention in Indochina was necessitated by Cold War geopolitics.

In his book, Fulbright offered an analysis of American foreign policy:

Throughout our history two strands have coexisted uneasily; a dominant strand of democratic humanism and a lesser but durable strand of intolerant Puritanism. There has been a tendency through the years for reason and moderation to prevail as long as things are going tolerably well or as long as our problems seem clear and finite and manageable. But ... when some event or leader of opinion has aroused the people to a state of high emotion, our puritan spirit has tended to break through, leading us to look at the world through the distorting prism of a harsh and angry moralism.

Fulbright also related his opposition to any American tendencies to intervene in the affairs of other nations:

Power tends to confuse itself with virtue and a great nation is particularly susceptible to the idea that its power is a sign of God's favor, conferring upon it a special responsibility for other nations—to make them richer and happier and wiser, to remake them, that is, in its own shining image. Power confuses itself with virtue and tends also to take itself for omnipotence. Once imbued with the idea of a mission, a great nation easily assumes that it has the means as well as the duty to do God's work.

He was also a strong believer in international law:

Law is the essential foundation of stability and order both within societies and in international relations. As a conservative power, the United States has a vital interest in upholding and expanding the reign of law in international relations. Insofar as international law is observed, it provides us with stability and order and with a means of predicting the behavior of those with whom we have reciprocal legal obligations. When we violate the law ourselves, whatever short-term advantage may be gained, we are obviously encouraging others to violate the law; we thus encourage disorder and instability and thereby do incalculable damage to our own long-term interests.

At the end of October 1968, after President Johnson announced a halt in bombing in North Vietnam in accordance with peace talks,[42] Fulbright stated his hopefulness that the announcement would lead to a general ceasefire.[43]

In March 1969, Secretary of State William P. Rogers testified at a Senate Foreign Relations Committee hearing regarding the Nixon administration's foreign policy, Fulbright telling Rogers that the appearance was both useful and promising.[44] In May 1969, Fulbright delivered a speech at National War College, advocating for the United States to withdraw from Vietnam in spite of possibly having to settle for something lower than a standoff against the Communists and spoke in favor of overhauling foreign policy that concentrates less on the power of the executive branch.[45]


In February 1970, South Dakota Senator George McGovern accused former Vietcong detainee James N. Rowe of being dispatched by the Pentagon to criticize him, Senator Fulbright, and Senate Majority Leader Mike Mansfield, who had indicated their opposition to continued American involvement in Vietnam.[46] On March 11, Fulbright introduced a resolution regarding the commitment of American troops or air forces for combat in Laos by President Nixon, who under the guidelines of the resolution would not be able to combat forces in or over Laos without congressional affirmative action. In his address introducing the resolution, Fulbright said in part, "The Senate must not remain silent now while the President uses the armed forces of the United States to, fight an undeclared and undisclosed war in Laos."[47] The following month, the Senate Foreign Relations Committee voted to repeal the 1964 Gulf of Tonkin resolution. Fulbright admitted the repeal by that point would have little to no legal impact and described the action as one intended to be part of an ongoing process of clearing out legislation now out of date.[48] On August 22, Fulbright stated his support for a bilateral treaty which would grant the United States authority to use military force for the purpose of guaranteeing both "territory and independence of Israel within the borders of 1967" and that the proposed measure would obligate Israel not to violate these frontiers, which were created prior to the Six-Day War.[49] In October, Defense Department officials disclosed publication of testimony before the Senate Foreign Relations Committee showing the United States entered into a 1960 agreement supporting a 40,000‐man Ethiopian army in addition to beginning the country's opposition to threats against the territorial integrity of Ethiopia. Fulbright responded to the disclosure by saying the wording seemed to go "much further than saying a good word in the United Nations" and suggested the US had agreed to aid the Ethiopian Emperor if the possibility of facing an internal insurrection arose.[50]

On February 28, 1971, Fulbright announced his intent to submit a bill compelling the Secretary of State and other Nixon administration officials to appear before Congress to explain the administration's position on Vietnam, Fulbright saying the measure would be warrant due to the refusal of both William P. Rogers and Henry A. Kissinger as well as other officials to appear before Congress, reasoning that they would not appear because "they know there are a number of people who don't agree with them, and it makes it embarrassing and they don't like it; they especially don't like to have it in front of television."[51] On October 31, Fulbright pledged his support to less controversial aspects of foreign aid such as refugee relief and military aid to Israel while predicting the Nixon administration would be met with defeat or contention in the event of proposed aid for Cambodia, Vietnam, Laos, and Greece. Fulbright said a meeting between the Foreign Relations Committee the following day would see "that some kind of interim program will probably be devised" and concurrently expressing his disdain for "the continuing resolution approach".[52]

In March 1972, Fulbright sent a letter to Acting Attorney General Richard G. Kleindienst requesting the Justice Department not use the U.S.I.A. documentary Czechoslovakia 1968 for use in New York, stating that it appeared to violate the 1948 law that created the agency which he stated "was created for the purpose of the dissemination abroad of information about the United States, its people, and policies."[53] In April, the Senate Foreign Relations Committee announced the end of an inquiry into a drinking incident involving United States Ambassador to France Arthur K. Watson, Fulbright saying that he did not expect the committee to pursue the matter and publicizing a letter on the subject from Secretary of State Rogers.[54] On August 3, the Senate approved the treaty limiting defense missiles for the US and Soviet Union.[55] The following day, Fulbright held a closed meeting with members of the Senate Foreign Relations Committee in order to form a counter-strategy against the Nixon administration's attempts to attach additional reservations to the intercontinental missile agreement signed by Nixon the previous May.[56]

On July 11, 1973, during a speech at an American Bankers Association meeting, Fulbright criticized Capitol Hill attempts to block trade concessions to the Soviet Union until the country allows the emigration of Jews and other groups: "Learning to live together in peace is the most important issue for the Soviet Union and the United States, too important to be compromised by meddling — even idealistic meddling — in each other's affairs."[57] In August, President Nixon announced his choice of Henry Kissinger to replace the retiring Rogers as Secretary of State.[58] Ahead of the hearings, Kissinger was expected to have the advantage of cultivating relationships with members of the Senate Foreign Relations Committee, Vermont Senator George Aiken noting that Kissinger "met with us at Senator Fulbright's house for breakfast at least twice a year".[59] In November 1973, Fulbright endorsed the Middle East policy of Secretary of State Kissinger in a Senate speech, arguing in favor of the central requirement of a peace requirement prior to "another military truce hardens into another untenable and illusory status quo" and added that both sides would need to make concessions. Fulbright stated that Washington, Moscow and the United Nations were responsible for spearheading the peace settlement.[60]

In May 1974, Fulbright disclosed the existence of a weapon stockpile for South Korea, South Vietnam and Thailand, the Defense Department releasing a statement three days later confirming Fulbright's admission.[61] Throughout 1974, Kissinger was investigated for his possible role in initiating wiretaps of 13 Government officials and four newsmen from 1969 to 1971.[62][63] In July, Fulbright stated nothing significant had emerged from the Kissinger testimony during his nomination for Secretary of State the previous fall and indicated his belief that opponents of détente with the Soviet Union were hoping to unseat Kissinger from the investigation into his role in the wiretapping.[64]

Final election and later lifeEdit

Fulbright left the Senate in 1974, after being defeated in the Democratic primary by then-Governor Dale Bumpers. His well-documented stances on Vietnam, the Middle East, and Watergate were out of step with the Arkansan majority, and the senator's campaign powers had atrophied. Bumpers won by a landslide.[65] President Nixon mocked Fulbright's primary defeat while speaking to congressmen in the weeks following the loss.[66]

At the time that he left the Senate, Fulbright had spent his entire 30 years in the Senate as the junior senator from Arkansas, behind John Little McClellan who entered the Senate two years before him. After his retirement, Fulbright practiced international law at the Washington, D.C. office of the law firm Hogan & Hartson from 1975–1993.[67]

On May 5, 1993, President Bill Clinton presented the Presidential Medal of Freedom to Fulbright at his eighty-eighth birthday celebration from the Fulbright Association.[68]

Death and legacyEdit

Fulbright died of a stroke in 1995 at the age of 89 in Washington, D.C. A year later, on the occasion of the 50th anniversary dinner of the Fulbright Program held June 5, 1996 at the White House, President Bill Clinton said, "Hillary and I have looked forward for some time to celebrating this 50th anniversary of the Fulbright Program, to honor the dream and legacy of a great American, a citizen of the world, a native of my home state and my mentor and friend, Senator Fulbright."[69]

Fulbright's ashes were interred at the Fulbright family plot in Evergreen Cemetery in Fayetteville, Arkansas.

In 1996, The George Washington University renamed a residence hall in his honor. The J. William Fulbright Hall is located 2223 H Street, N.W., at the corner of 23rd and H Streets. The Hall received historic designations as a District of Columbia historic site on January 28, 2010, and was listed on the National Register of Historic Places on June 18, 2010.[70][71][72]

On October 21, 2002, in a speech at the dedication of the Fulbright Sculpture at the University of Arkansas, Bill Clinton said,

I admired him. I liked him. On the occasions when we disagreed, I loved arguing with him. I never loved getting in an argument with anybody as much in my entire life as I loved fighting with Bill Fulbright. I'm quite sure I always lost, and yet he managed to make me think I might have won.[73]

Fulbright ProgramEdit

The Fulbright Program was established in 1946 under legislation introduced by then-Senator J. William Fulbright of Arkansas. The Fulbright Program is sponsored by the Bureau of Educational and Cultural Affairs of the United States Department of State.

Approximately 294,000 "Fulbrighters", 111,000 from the United States and 183,000 from other countries, have participated in the Program since its inception over sixty years ago. The Fulbright Program awards approximately 6,000 new grants annually.

Currently, the Fulbright Program operates in over 155 countries worldwide.

The Thank You Fulbright project was created in April 2012 to provide an annual opportunity for alumni and friends of the Fulbright program to celebrate Fulbright's legacy.



  • Fulbright, J. William (1947). Heywood, Robert B. (ed.). The Works of the Mind: The Legislater. Chicago: University of Chicago Press. OCLC 752682744.
  • The Arrogance of Power, New York: Random House, 1966, ISBN 0-8129-9262-8
  • The Pentagon Propaganda Machine. New York: Vintage Books. 1971.
  • Prospects for the West, William L. Clayton Lectures on International Economic Affairs and Foreign Policy. 1962/1963. Harvard University Press. 1963.
  • Old Myths and New Realities and Other Commentaries. Random House. 1964.
  • The Crippled Giant;:American foreign policy and its domestic consequences. Harvard University Press. 1972.
  • Fulbright, J. William; Tillman, Seth P. (1989). The Price of Empire. Pantheon.


  1. ^ "Roberta Waugh Fulbright". Encyclopedia of Arkansas.
  2. ^ Woods 1998, p. 1.
  3. ^ Apple, R. W., Jr. (February 10, 1995). "J. William Fulbright, Senate Giant, Is Dead at 89". The New York Times. Retrieved May 5, 2010.
  4. ^ "1964 Arkansas Razorbacks National Championship" (PDF). Archived from the original (PDF) on 2012-07-28. Retrieved 2012-06-11.
  5. ^ "Founding Council | The Rothermere American Institute". Rothermere American Institute. Archived from the original on 2012-11-17. Retrieved 2012-11-22.
  6. ^ Harris, David (Sep 9, 1979). "Swanson Saga: End of a Dream". New York Times. p. SM111.
  7. ^ a b Hachey, Thomas E. (Winter 1973–1974). "American Profiles on Capitol Hill: A Confidential Study for the British Foreign Office in 1943" (PDF). Wisconsin Magazine of History. 57 (2): 141–153. JSTOR 4634869. Archived from the original (PDF) on 2013-10-21.
  8. ^ On Fulbright's goal of promoting peace, and the influence of the Rhodes Scholarships on this, seeDonald Markwell, (2013). "Instincts to Lead": on Leadership, Peace, and Education, Connor Court: Australia.
  9. ^ Woods, Randall. "Bill Fulbright (1905–1995)". The Central Arkansas Library System. Retrieved 17 July 2014.
  10. ^ a b Woods, Randall Bennett (1998). J. William Fulbright, Vietnam, and the Search for a Cold War Foreign Policy. Cambridge University Press. p. 13. ISBN 0-521-58800-6.
  11. ^ Woods 1995, pp. 330-331.
  12. ^ Woods 1995, p. 555.
  13. ^ Woods 1995, pp. 555-557.
  14. ^ Schlesinger, Arthur M., Jr. (2008). Journals 1952–2000. Penguin Books. p. 98. ISBN 978-0-14-311435-2. Elizabeth Farmer told me this evening that, at five this afternoon, it looked as if it would be Rusk in State, with Bowles and Bundy as Undersecretaries. (Ken, by the way, told me that Jack had called him on the 7th and talked seriously about Mac as Secretary.) I asked why Rusk had finally emerged. Elizabeth said, 'He was the lowest common denominator.' Apparently Harris Wofford succeeded in stirring the Negroes and Jews up so effectively that the uproar killed Fulbright, who was apparently Jack's first choice.
  15. ^ a b c "Western Europe: Nobody But Their Chickens". Time. November 30, 1962. Retrieved May 5, 2010.
  16. ^ "Common Market: Ruffled Feathers". Time. August 16, 1963. Retrieved May 5, 2010.
  17. ^ "Common Market: The Chicken War". Time. June 14, 1963. Retrieved May 5, 2010.
  18. ^ "Verdict on Santo Domingo". Time.com. 1966-11-11. Retrieved 2012-06-11.
  19. ^ "Fulbright Protests Rotation of Envoys". Toledo Blade. May 10, 1961.
  20. ^ "DER SPIEGEL 52/1993 - Gerechtigkeit unerreichbar". Spiegel.de. 1993-12-27. Retrieved 2012-06-11.
  21. ^ Congressional Record — Senate, August 1, 1961, pp. 14222-14224.
  22. ^ Berlin in Early Berlin-Wall Era CIA, State Department, and Army Booklets, T.H.E. Hill (compiler), 2014, pp. xviii, xix, 279, 283.
  23. ^ W. R. Smyser, Kennedy and the Berlin Wall, Rowman & Littlefield Publishers, 2009, p. 90.
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Further readingEdit

  • Brown, Eugene (1985). J. William Fulbright: Advice and Dissent. Iowa City: University of Iowa Press. ISBN 0-87745-130-3.
  • Clinton, Bill (2005). My Life. Vintage. ISBN 1-4000-3003-X.
  • Finley, Keith M. (2008). Delaying the Dream: Southern Senators and the Fight Against Civil Rights, 1938–1965. Baton Rouge: LSU Press.
  • Johnson, Haynes and Gwertzmann, Bernard (1968). Fulbright: The Dissenter. Doubleday.
  • Powell, Lee Riley (1996). J. William Fulbright and His Time: A Political Biography. Guild Bindery Press. ISBN 1-55793-060-0.
  • Woods, Randall B. (1995). Fulbright: A Biography. Cambridge University Press. ISBN 0-521-48262-3.

External linksEdit