Barkley, Alben William (1877-1956), a United States political leader. He was 35th Vice President of the United States (1949-53), under President Harry S. Truman.
Barkley, the son of a tobacco farmer, was born in Graves County, Kentucky. He received an A.B. from Marvin College in Clinton, Kentucky, and attended Emory College (Oxford, Georgia) and the University of Virginia law school. He was admitted to the bar in Kentucky in 1901. A Democrat, Barkley was prosecuting attorney in McCracken County, Kentucky, 1905-09, and judge of the county court, 1909-13. He served in the U.S. House of Representatives, 1913-27, and in the U.S. Senate, 1927-49. He was Senate majority leader during 1937-47.
Barkley strongly supported Franklin D. Roosevelt's New Deal and World War II measures. In 1944, however, he objected to the President's language in a veto message of a tax bill and resigned as majority leader. Roosevelt immediately asked him to reconsider his action and Barkley was promptly reelected. In 1945, during the first administration of President Truman, Barkley was chairman of a joint congressional committee to investigate the Pearl Harbor military disaster of 1941.
Barkley was nominated as Truman's running mate by the Democratic convention in Philadelphia in 1948. His campaigning helped bring victory. He was popularly known as the "Veep" while Vice President. Barkley's first wife had died in 1947. He became the first Vice President to marry while in office when he married Jane Rucker Hadley, a widow, in 1949.
Barkley was reelected to the U.S. Senate from Kentucky in 1954. He died suddenly while addressing a students' mock political convention.