Thomas Sterling

Last updated
Thomas Sterling
STERLING, THOMAS. SENATOR LCCN2016858418 (cropped).jpg
United States Senator
from South Dakota
In office
March 4, 1913 March 3, 1925
Preceded by Robert J. Gamble
Succeeded by William H. McMaster
Dean of University of South Dakota
College of Law
In office
July 1, 1901 June 10, 1911
Preceded byposition established
Succeeded byMarshall McKusick
Personal details
Born(1851-02-21)February 21, 1851
Amanda, Ohio
DiedAugust 26, 1930(1930-08-26) (aged 79)
Washington, D.C.
Political party Republican
Relatives John A. Sterling (brother)
ProfessionLawyer
Academic
Politician

Thomas Sterling (February 21, 1851 August 26, 1930) was an American lawyer, U.S. Senator, and the first dean of the University of South Dakota College of Law.

University of South Dakota School of Law

The University of South Dakota School of Law in Vermillion, South Dakota, United States, is a professional school of the University of South Dakota and the only law school in the state of South Dakota. Established in 1901, by U.S. Ambassador Bartlett Tripp and U.S. Senator Thomas Sterling. The law school is home to approximately 168 students and has more than 3,000 alumni. With 168 J.D. candidates, it is currently the second-smallest law school and smallest public law school student population among the American Bar Association accredited law schools.

Contents

A Republican, he served in the United States Senate from 1913 to 1925. He later served as dean and law professor at George Washington University Law School. The University of South Dakota School of Law awards Sterling Honors to their graduating top 10% in honor of their first dean.

Republican Party (United States) Major political party in the United States

The Republican Party, also referred to as the GOP, is one of the two major political parties in the United States; the other is its historic rival, the Democratic Party.

United States Senate Upper house of the United States Congress

The United States Senate is the upper chamber of the United States Congress which, along with the United States House of Representatives—the lower chamber—comprises the legislature of the United States. The Senate chamber is located in the north wing of the Capitol Building, in Washington, D.C.

Early life

Sterling, was born near Amanda, Ohio. He moved with his parents, Charles Sterling (1821-1905) and Anna Kessler (1827-1908) to McLean County, Illinois in 1854, where he attended the public schools and graduated from Illinois Wesleyan University at Bloomington in 1875. He was superintendent of schools of Bement, Illinois from 1875 to 1877. His brother John A. Sterling, became a U.S. Representative from Illinois.

Amanda, Ohio Village in Ohio, United States

Amanda is a village in Fairfield County, Ohio, United States. The population was 737 at the 2010 census. Amanda was the birthplace of Thomas Sterling, a Republican in the United States Senate from 1913 to 1925.

McLean County, Illinois U.S. county in Illinois

McLean County is the largest county by land area in the U.S. state of Illinois. According to the 2010 census, it had a population of 169,572. Its county seat is Bloomington.

Illinois Wesleyan University liberal arts college located in Bloomington, Illinois

Illinois Wesleyan University is an independent, exclusively undergraduate liberal arts college in Bloomington, Illinois. Founded in 1850, the central portion of the present campus was acquired in 1854 with the first building erected in 1856. It offers over 80 majors, minors and programs in the liberal arts, business, the fine arts, nursing, and eight pre-professional areas.

Sterling studied law and was admitted to the bar in 1878, commencing his practice in Springfield, Illinois. He became the city prosecuting attorney in 1880 until 1881. In 1882 he moved to the Territory of Dakota and located in Northville, in then Dakota Territory. He moved to Redfield in 1886 and continued the practice of law, serving as district attorney of Spink County, South Dakota from 1886 to 1888. In 1889 he became a member of the State constitutional convention, and a year later in 1890 a member of the State senate. From 1901 to 1911 he was the first dean of the University of South Dakota College of Law at Vermillion.

Springfield, Illinois State capital and city in Illinois, United States

Springfield is the capital of the U.S. state of Illinois and the county seat of Sangamon County. The city's population was 116,250 at the 2010 U.S. Census, which makes it the state's sixth most-populous city and the largest city in central Illinois. As of 2013, the city's population was estimated to have increased to 117,006, with just over 211,700 residents living in the Springfield Metropolitan Statistical Area, which includes Sangamon County and the adjacent Menard County.

Northville, South Dakota Town in South Dakota, United States

Northville is a town in Spink County, South Dakota, United States. The population was 143 at the 2010 census.

Redfield, South Dakota City in South Dakota, United States

Redfield is a city in and the county seat of Spink County, South Dakota, United States. The population was 2,333 at the 2010 census. The city was named for J. B. Redfield, a railroad official.

Political career

He was elected in 1912 as a Republican to the United States Senate, was reelected in 1918, and served from March 4, 1913, to March 3, 1925. During this time, he served on the Overman Committee investigating seditious German and Bolshevik activities. He was an unsuccessful candidate for renomination in 1924. During the Sixty-sixth Congress he was the chairman of the Committee on Civil Service and Retrenchment. In the Sixty-seventh Congress he served on the Committee on Civil Service, and on the Committee on Post Office and Post Roads during the Sixty-eighth Congress. While he served in Congress he served with William Williamson and Royal C. Johnson, two of his first graduates from the College of Law.

Overman Committee

The Overman Committee was a special subcommittee of the United States Senate Committee on the Judiciary chaired by North Carolina Democrat Lee Slater Overman. Between September 1918 and June 1919, it investigated German and Bolshevik elements in the United States. It was an early forerunner of the better known House Un-American Activities Committee, and represented the first congressional committee investigation of communism.

Germany Federal parliamentary republic in central-western Europe

Germany, officially the Federal Republic of Germany, is a country in Central and Western Europe, lying between the Baltic and North Seas to the north and the Alps, Lake Constance and the High Rhine to the south. It borders Denmark to the north, Poland and the Czech Republic to the east, Austria and Switzerland to the south, France to the southwest, and Luxembourg, Belgium and the Netherlands to the west.

William Williamson (politician) U.S. Representative from South Dakota

William Williamson was a teacher, a lawyer, a judge, and a U.S. Representative from South Dakota. He was the last U.S. Representative from the third district of South Dakota.

Later life and death

He practiced law in Washington, D.C., and served on the faculty of National University Law School, now George Washington University School of Law. He was appointed by President Calvin Coolidge in 1925 as field secretary of the Commission for the Celebration of the Two Hundredth Anniversary of the Birth of George Washington.

Washington, D.C. Capital of the United States

Washington, D.C., formally the District of Columbia and commonly referred to as Washington or D.C., is the capital of the United States. Founded after the American Revolution as the seat of government of the newly independent country, Washington was named after George Washington, the first president of the United States and a Founding Father. As the seat of the United States federal government and several international organizations, Washington is an important world political capital. The city, located on the Potomac River bordering Maryland and Virginia, is one of the most visited cities in the world, with more than 20 million tourists annually.

Calvin Coolidge 30th president of the United States

Calvin Coolidge was an American politician and lawyer who served as the 30th president of the United States from 1923 to 1929. A Republican lawyer from New England, born in Vermont, Coolidge worked his way up the ladder of Massachusetts state politics, eventually becoming governor. His response to the Boston Police Strike of 1919 thrust him into the national spotlight and gave him a reputation as a man of decisive action. The next year, he was elected vice president of the United States, and he succeeded to the presidency upon the sudden death of Warren G. Harding in 1923. Elected in his own right in 1924, he gained a reputation as a small government conservative and also as a man who said very little and had a rather dry sense of humor.

Sterling died in Washington, D.C. and was interred in Cedar Hill Cemetery.

Legacy

In honor of their first dean, the University of South Dakota School of Law awards Sterling Honors to students who finish in the top 10% of their class.

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References

U.S. Senate
Preceded by
Robert J. Gamble
U.S. Senator (Class 2) from South Dakota
19131925
Served alongside: Coe I. Crawford, Edwin S. Johnson, Peter Norbeck
Succeeded by
William H. McMaster