William E. Jenner

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William E. Jenner
United States Senator
from Indiana
In office
January 3, 1947 – January 3, 1959
Preceded by Raymond E. Willis
Succeeded by Vance Hartke
In office
November 14, 1944 – January 3, 1945
Preceded by Samuel D. Jackson
Succeeded by Homer E. Capehart
Indiana State Senator
In office
Personal details
Born July 21, 1908
Marengo, Indiana
Died March 9, 1985(1985-03-09) (aged 76)
Bedford, Indiana
Political party Republican
Alma mater Indiana University School of Law - Bloomington
Profession Lawyer

William Ezra Jenner (July 21, 1908 – March 9, 1985) was a U.S. Republican Indiana State and U.S. Senator.

Jenner was born in Marengo, Crawford County, Indiana. He graduated with a Law degree from Indiana University School of Law - Bloomington in 1930, and set up practice in Paoli, Indiana. He was elected to the Indiana State Senate in 1934, serving as Minority Leader 1937 – 1939, and Majority Leader and President Pro Tempore 1939 – 1941. To serve in the military upon U.S. entry to World War II, he resigned his seat in 1942. He returned from overseas action to fill a vacancy in the U.S. Senate caused by the death of Frederick Van Nuys and served from November 14, 1944, to January 3, 1945; however, he was not a candidate for election to the full term. He did run for Indiana's Class I seat in the Senate in 1946; he won and was re-elected in 1952. His friendship with fellow Indiana University classmate Harold W. Handley meant he was able to help Handley secure the Republican nomination for and election to the offices of Lieutenant Governor and Governor of Indiana.

Political career

Indiana Senate

Jenner entered politics in 1934, when he was first elected to the Indiana State Senate in 1934. He was minority leader from 1937 to 1939, and then majority leader and president pro tempore from 1939 to 1941.

In 1940, Jenner ran for Governor of Indiana, finishing second at the Republican state convention.

In 1942, during World War II, Jenner resigned his seat to become a first lieutenant in the U.S. Army Air Corps. Jenner was discharged in 1944 at the rank of captain.[1]

U.S. Senate

One month after his discharge from the Army Air Corps, Jenner was elected to the U.S. Senate seat that had been vacated by the death of Frederick Van Nuys.[1] He served the last few months of Van Nuys's term from November 14, 1944, to January 3, 1945; he was not a candidate for the full six-year term that began in 1945.[2][3] Jenner was the first veteran of World War II elected to the Senate and the youngest member of the Senate.[1]

He ran for the Senate in 1946 defeating Congressman Charles M. La Follette 1,994 to 105 at the Republican state convention. He then won the general election by over 150,000 votes.

He ran for governor of Indiana for a second time in 1948, winning a plurality on the first ballot at the Republican state convention. Jenner lost the nomination on the second ballot to Holbart Creighton 885 to 931.

Jenner was re-elected to the Senate in 1952.[1]

In Congress, he was a follower of Joseph McCarthy. He stated in 1954:

Today the path to total dictatorship in the U.S. can be laid by strictly legal means, unseen and unheard by Congress, the President, or the people. Outwardly we have a Constitutional government. We have operating within our government and political system, another body representing another form of government – a bureaucratic elite.[4] We have a well-organized political-action group in this country, determined to destroy our Constitution and establish a one-party state... The important point to remember about this group is not its ideology but its organization. It is a dynamic, aggressive, elite corps, forcing its way through every opening, to make a breach for a collectivist one-party state. It operates secretly, silently, continuously to transform our Government without suspecting that change is under way... If I seem to be extremist, the reason is that this revolutionary clique cannot be understood, unless we accept the fact that they are extremist. It is difficult for people governed by reasonableness and morality to imagine the existence of a movement which ignores reasonableness and boasts of its determination to destroy; which ignores morality, and boasts of its cleverness in outwitting its opponents by abandoning all scruples. This ruthless power-seeking elite is a disease of our century... This group ... is answerable neither to the President, the Congress, nor the courts. It is practically irremovable.

In the Senate, Jenner opposed foreign aid[5] and supported isolationist positions.[5][6][7]

Jenner alleged that the United Nations had infiltrated the American educational system in 1952. In 1958, he was not a candidate for re-nomination. He resumed legal practice in Bedford, Indiana in 1959, where he died on March 9, 1985, at seventy six years of age.


  1. 1.0 1.1 1.2 1.3 Cite error: Invalid <ref> tag; no text was provided for refs named Wilkerson
  2. James H. Madison, Indiana through Tradition and Change: A History of the Hoosier State and Its People 1920–1945 (Indiana Historical Society Press, 2016), p. 403.
  3. JENNER, William Ezra, (1908-1985), Biographical Directory of the United States Congress.
  4. http://www.thedailysheeple.com/22-quotes-that-lay-out-the-elites-agenda_072013
  5. 5.0 5.1 "Anti-Communist Ex-Sen. William E. Jenner Dies". Los Angeles Times. March 13, 1985.
  6. "Who Were the Senate Isolationists?". Richard F. Grimmett. The Pacific Historical Review, Vol. 42, No. 4 (November 1973), p. 479.
  7. "The Literature of Isolationism, 1972–1983". Justus D. Doenecke. The Journal of Libertarian Studies, Vol. 7, No. 1 (Spring 1983), p. 174.
  • William, Youngs, American Realities, Sixth Edition Volume 2, Eastern Washington University, 2006.

External links

United States Senate
Preceded by
Samuel D. Jackson
U.S. Senator (Class 3) from Indiana
Served alongside: Raymond E. Willis
Succeeded by
Homer E. Capehart
Preceded by
Raymond E. Willis
U.S. Senator (Class 1) from Indiana
Served alongside: Homer E. Capehart
Succeeded by
Vance Hartke