J. William Fulbright

James William Fulbright ( born April 9, 1905 in Sumner, Chariton County, Missouri, † February 9, 1995 in Washington, DC ) was an American politician of the Democratic Party. Fulbright represented the state of Arkansas in both chambers of Congress.


After studying political science at the University of Arkansas, where he graduated in 1925, Fulbright was a Rhodes Scholarship to Oxford University in England, where in 1928 he received his master's degree. He received his doctorate in 1934 at the George Washington University Law School and received his license to practice law in the same year. Initially, he worked in the U.S. Department of Justice, between 1936 and 1939 he lectured at the University of Arkansas, whose president he was elected in 1939. He was then the youngest university president of his country.


In 1942, Fulbright was elected as a deputy of the Democratic Party in the House of Representatives of the United States. From 1944 to 1974 he was then for Arkansas member of the U.S. Senate. He was also a member and from 1959 to 1974 Chairman of the Senate Committee on Foreign Relations. In 1948 he was president of the American Committee for a United Europe.

When Senator Fulbright of Arkansas took part positions against the majority of the Senate. So he voted in 1954 as the only Senator to the establishment of the McCarthy Committee and harbored 1961/62 objections to the proposed by President John F. Kennedy Cuba invasion. He regretted his consent to an escalation of the Vietnam War later. The later U.S. President Bill Clinton, also he was a Rhodes scholar, worked in his student days at the former Senator Fulbright.

On July 30, 1961 two weeks before the erection of the Berlin Wall, Fulbright said in a television interview: "I do not understand why the East Germans have their limit not long since closed; I think they have every right to be. " It is believed that President Kennedy asked Fulbright, the Soviet leader Nikita Khrushchev to signal with this statement that the construction of the wall of the United States considered acceptable way to solve the Berlin crisis would.

Fulbright often took the view that the United States would interfere too much often in the internal affairs of other states. Throughout his political career, Fulbright was a supporter of international law and the United Nations (UN). On the other side was a Fulbright as a deputy from the southern United States has long been a supporter of racial segregation and voted against both the Civil Rights Act of 1964 and against the Voting Rights Act, the zusprach the black population in the United States the full suffrage. He signed the Southern Manifesto.

Fulbright Program

International Fulbright is today mainly through the Fulbright Program Fulbright named during his lifetime according to his knowledge, which was decided in 1944 on his initiative on August 1, 1946 to encourage students, teachers and professors exchange between their home country and the United States and vice versa to enable and so to promote understanding between peoples and cultures. He was referring to his experiences at Oxford. To finance a portion of the proceeds should be used, which was generated by the sale of surplus and returned to the States American war goods ( in Germany the so-called web products). The first exchange began in the academic year 1948/49, with China and then with other allied countries. Austria was followed by 1951/52, Germany 1953/54.


On 5 May 1993 Fulbright received the Medal of Freedom ("The Presidential Medal of Freedom" ), the highest civilian award in the United States and the Order of Merit of the Republic of Poland Commander with Star.