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Tuesday, 28 March 2017


In ancient Greek, the word "idiot" meant anyone who wasn't a politician.

In 1870 Hiram Revels was elected by a vote of 81 to 15 in the Mississippi State Senate.  He completed the term of Mississippi Senator Jefferson Davis, who had resigned to become president of the Confederacy. Revels was the first African American elected to the U.S. Senate, and first to serve in the U.S. Congress.

On December 12, 1870, Representative Joseph H. Rainey of South Carolina was sworn in as the first African American congressman to serve in the U.S. House of Representatives.

Jefferson F. Long of Georgia was the second African American elected to the U.S. House of Representatives. He was elected as a Republican to the Forty-first Congress to fill the vacancy caused when the U.S. House declared Samuel F. Gove not entitled to the seat and served from January 16, 1871 to March 3, 1871. The term of less than three months was the shortest  of any African–American Member, but nevertheless became the first black Member to speak on the House Floor.

Jefferson F. Long. Library of Congress description: "Hon. Jefferson Franklin Long of GA."

In 1879 James Shields, who had previously served Illinois and Minnesota, began a term as a U.S. Senator from Missouri. He was the first Senator to serve three states.

Vida Goldstein became the first woman in the British Empire to run for a national office in 1902. She ran for the Australian Senate when women there got the right to vote in all federal elections.

Europe's first women members of parliament were Fins. 19 female candidates won their seats in Finland in 1907 during the first continental election to include women candidates and voters.

Jeannette Pickering Rankin (June 11, 1880 – May 18, 1973) was the first woman to hold federal office in the United States when, in 1916, she was elected to the U.S. House of Representatives by the state of Montana. A lifelong pacifist, she was the only legislator to vote against American involvement in both World War I and World War II.

Rankin's portrait, by Sharon Sprung, in the House of Representatives Collection

John Buchan, the writer of The 39 Steps, was the Conservative MP for Scottish Universities between 1927-1935.

Born in Kansas Territory to a mother of the Kaw Nation, Charles Curtis was elected to the US Senate first by the Kansas Legislature in 1906 and then by popular vote in 1914, 1920 and 1926. He resigned in March of 1929 to become President Herbert Hoover's Vice President. Curtis was the first person with significant Native American ancestry and the first person with acknowledged non-European ancestry to reach either of the highest offices in the United States government's executive branch.

Charles Curtis

Constance Markievicz became the first woman elected to parliament in 1918. She won a Dublin seat but was unable to accept as she was in prison.

Viscountess Nancy Astor (1879-1964) succeeded her husband, the 2nd Viscount Astor as Conservative MP for Plymouth in 1919, becoming the first woman to sit in the House of Commons. She was known for her interest in social problems, especially temperance and women's rights.

Rebecca L. Felton of Georgia was the first woman U.S. senator. Felton was the most prominent woman in Georgia in the Progressive Era, and was honored by appointment to the Senate. She was sworn in November 21, 1922, and served just 24 hours. At 87 years, nine months, and 22 days old, Felton was the oldest freshman senator to enter the Senate.

In 1932 Hattie Caraway, a Democrat from Arkansas, became the first woman elected to the U.S. Senate.

When Frances Perkins became United States Secretary of Labor in 1933, under Franklin Roosevelt, she became the first woman to serve as a cabinet member.

Margaret Chase Smith of Maine became the first woman elected to the US Senate without completing another senator's term, when she defeated Democratic opponent Adrian Scolten in 1948. Smith was also the first woman to serve in both the U.S. House of Representatives and the United States Senate.

On July 21, 1960 Sirimavo Bandaraneike becomes the first woman to be elected the head of state when she became the prime minister of Sri Lanka. She served in office until March 25, 1965.

Sirimavo Ratwatte Dias Bandaranayaka (1916-2000). Anuradha Dullewe Wijeyeratne at en.Wikipedia

Bandaraneike was followed by Indira Gandhi of India in 1966 and Golda Meir of Israel in 1969.

In 1966 Robert C. Weaver became the first African American Cabinet member when he was appointed United States Secretary of Housing and Urban Development.

Former Massachusetts Attorney General Edward Brooke became the first African American elected to the United States Senate since Reconstruction on November 8, 1966.

Edward Brooke, United States Senator from Massachusetts.

Mahathir Mohamad was Malaysia's 4th Prime Minister; his 22 years in office, ending with retirement on October 31, 2003, made him Asia's longest-serving political leader.

Diane Abbot becomes the first black woman member of the House of Commons when elected as MP for Hackney South and Stoke Newington in 1987.

Carol Elizabeth Moseley Braun represented Illinois in the United States Senate from 1993 to 1999. She was the first female African-American Senator, the first African-American U.S. Senator for the Democratic Party and the first woman to defeat an incumbent U.S. Senator in an election.

In 1994 the singer and producer Sonny Bono was elected to the US House of Representatives. Bono became interested in politics rather late in life, when he decided he wanted a bigger sign for the restaurant he'd opened in Palm Springs (California) and ran straight into red tape dealing with the city government. Bono had never voted or registered before, but resolved to change things by running for mayor. He won the election, served a successful four-year term and wound up pursuing a whole new career as a politician.

When Tammy Baldwin defeated her Republican opponent, former Wisconsin governor Tommy Thompson, in the 2012 U.S. Senate election, she became the first openly gay U.S. Senator in history.

Shamma bint Suhail Faris Al Mazrui (born 1993/94) is an Emirati politician. She was appointed by Prime Minister Mohammed bin Rashid Al Maktoum as Minister of State for Youth Affairs in February 2016 at age 22, making her the youngest government minister in the world.

Here is a list of songs about political figures.

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