Estes Kefauver

Carey Estes Kefauver ( born July 26, 1903 in Madisonville, Monroe County, Tennessee; † August 10, 1963 in Bethesda, Maryland ) was an American politician of the Democratic Party. He represented the state of Tennessee in both chambers of Congress.

Early years

Estes Kefauver came from a pastor's family. He studied at the University of Tennessee until 1924 Law and received his PhD in 1927 at Yale University. As early as 1926 he had been admitted as an attorney in court. He then worked for several years in Chattanooga as a lawyer. Shortly before the Second World War, he got himself elected to the House of Representatives of the United States, where he served as a representative of the third electoral district of Tennessee from 1939 to 1949.


Kefauver drew 1949 in the Senate of the United States. He made himself known when he opposed private interest groups and their influence denounced the legislation. Among other things, this was the influence of Edward Crump on the policy of Tennessee to the end, who had exerted much influence on the governors of the state in the previous decades. From here Kefauver developed a critique of the relationship between gangsterism and politics. This also meant that the Senate in April 1950 began an inquiry committee and placed it at the top. In the wake of the Kefauver Kefauver hearings, members and legal advisers of the committee traveled through the U.S. for a year with a result that often seemed more sensational in the American public. After a sensational investigation Kefauver put the end of April 1951 in the form of a report of the Senate Committee of the Senate a number of proposals to fight crime before. In 1956 he was one of only three ( Democratic ) senators from the participating eleven states that the so-called Southern Manifesto - a letter of protest against racial integration - not signed, 19 others had signed.

Through his initiative several criminals were arrested that were previously escaped unmolested, such as the famous Frank Costello. This was also the first Senate investigation, which was broadcast on television, and Kefauver became the first political TV star. Through his studies he won arguably one hand, Popularity, but excited the other hand, even within his own party lively opposition, including his radical adjustment in domestic issues, such as racial equality and to support the farmers contributed by the state.

Presidential candidacy

Nevertheless, the Kefauver was defeated in the 1952 Democratic Party until the third ballot in the race for the presidential nomination of Adlai Stevenson. He also hopes to be placed in the next election in 1956 as the Democratic presidential candidate. In fact, he won a surprisingly smooth victory over Adlai Stevenson in the Democratic primary in Minnesota in March 1956. Also in other countries he had good initial success, but was then defeated again in Florida and California from Stevenson. He was then nominated as the Democratic Party candidate for the post of Vice President. The two, however, were not chosen since Dwight D. Eisenhower succeeded in re-election. Kefauver but was again elected to the Senate, where he worked tirelessly for the " Atlantic community " fought until his death. He cared more about the corruption in Hollywood and in the trade unions.

Campaign against Bettie Page

Kefauver led in the 1950s, a year-long campaign against the well-known model Bettie Page. Kefauver eventually forced under the so-called Kefauver Hearings their producers Irving Klaw to destroy all the negatives and film materials of Page. This approach contributed to their careers end.


Kefauver was married to Nancy Pigott and had two sons and two daughters. He is co-author of the book " 20 th. Century Congress ". At the age of 60 years Kefauver died on August 10, 1963 at Bethesda Naval Hospital after a heart attack.


  • In the feature film The Tiger 1951 Kefauver speaks the introduction.
  • 1999: In the film, Meyer Lansky - American Roulette embodies Francis Guinan Senator Estes Kefauver, which tantalizes the Kosher Nostra head Meyer Lansky before his committee.
  • 2005: In the movie, The Notorious Bettie Page, the main character gets in the crosshairs of a Senate committee, which is headed by Estes Kefauver. It is played in the film by David Strathairn.