George William Norris (July 11, 1861 – September 2, 1944) was a U.S. politician from the state of Nebraska and a leader of progressive and liberal causes in Congress. He served five terms in the United States House of Representatives as a Republican from 1903 until 1913 and five terms in the United States Senate from 1913 until 1943, four terms as a Republican and the final term as an independent. Norris was defeated for reelection in 1942.
Norris is best known for his intense crusades against what he characterized as "wrong and evil", his liberalism, his insurgency against party leaders, his isolationist foreign policy, his support for labor unions, and especially for creating the Tennessee Valley Authority. President Franklin Roosevelt called him "the very perfect, gentle knight of American progressive ideals," and this has been the theme of all of his biographers.
Norris was born in 1861 in York Township, Sandusky County, Ohio and was the eleventh child of poor, uneducated, farmers of Scots-Irish and Pennsylvania Dutch descent. He graduated from Baldwin University and earned his LL.B. degree in 1883 at the law school of Valparaiso University. He moved to Beaver City, Nebraska to practice law. In 1889 he married Pluma Lashley; the couple had three daughters (Gertrude, Hazel, and Marian) before her 1901 death. Norris then married Ellie Leonard in 1903; they had no children...
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