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James F. Byrnes, 1941-1942

JAMES F. BYRNES was born in Charleston, South Carolina, on May 2, 1882. He left school at the age of fourteen to work as a law clerk in a Charleston law firm. He learned shorthand and became a court reporter in 1900. He then read law and was admitted to the bar in 1903. Byrnes became District Attorney for the Second Circuit of South Carolina in 1908, and in 1910 he was elected to the United States House of Representatives, where he served until 1925. In 1930 he was elected to the United States Senate, and he was re-elected in 1936. On June 12, 1941, President Franklin D. Roosevelt nominated Byrnes to the Supreme Court of the United States, and the Senate confirmed the appointment that same day. After only sixteen months of service Byrnes resigned from the Supreme Court on October 3, 1942, to accept a series of wartime appointments. He served as Director, successively, of the Office of Economic Stabilization and the Office of War Mobilization. In 1945, President Harry S. Truman appointed Byrnes Secretary of State. He resigned from that office in 1947, resumed the practice of law, and was elected Governor of South Carolina for a four-year term in 1950. Byrnes died on April 9, 1972, at the age of ninety-two.

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