Clare E. Hoffman Papers
 


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Clare E. Hoffman papers

The materials in this online repository form part of a larger Clare E. Hoffman papers collection held by the Bentley Historical Library. For a more complete index to the materials, please consult the collection's online finding aid.

For questions or more information, please contact the Bentley Historical Library's Division of Reference and Access Services

Abstract:
Republican congressman from Michigan's 4th Congressional District, 1934-1962, served on the Education and Labor Committee and the Government Operations Committee, known for his fiscal conservatism and opposition to much of the New Deal legislation, he was particularly concerned with the growing power of labor unions and worked to amend the Wagner Act, eventually becoming a key player in passage of the Taft-Hartley Act. As chair of special subcommittees, Hoffman conducted several investigations into labor racketeering, particularly by the Teamsters Union. Collection includes committee files, some constituent correspondence, topical files, investigation files, press releases, scrapbooks and a limited number of sound recordings and photographs.

Biography:
Clare E. Hoffman was born at Vicksburg, Pennsylvania, on September 10, 1875. He was educated in Constantine, Michigan, where his parents had moved when he was one year old. He graduated from Northwestern University Law School in 1895, and then attended Valparaiso University. He was admitted to the Michigan bar in 1896 and immediately took up the practice of law in Allegan, Michigan.

After thirty years of local legal practice, punctuated by two terms as prosecuting attorney for Allegan County, Hoffman decided to run for Congress as a Republican from the Fourth Congressional District (the six-county western Michigan district). He was elected in 1934 (defeating the Democratic incumbent), and reelected for the next thirteen terms, serving through 1962 (from the 74th to the 87th Congresses).

Elected during Franklin Roosevelt's first term, Hoffman developed a reputation as an outspoken, even caustic, critic of the New Deal, and of those programs which appeared to Hoffman to represent an encroachment on the prerogatives of the states and the rights of the individual. Hoffman was especially concerned about the growing power of trade unions resulting from the National Labor Relations Act of 1935 (often called the Wagner Act). He worked tirelessly to amend this legislation and to incorporated his views into all subsequent labor-related legislation. With his growing seniority, and his membership on the House Committee on Education and Labor, Hoffman's became a potent voice in the debate over the passage of the Taft-Hartley Law after the war.

Hoffman also served for a time on the House Committee on Merchant Marine and Fisheries and the House Committee on Agriculture, but it was primarily because of his position on the Education and Labor Committee and the Government Operations Committee that he wielded his greatest influence.

The House Committee on Government Operations was formerly the Committee on Expenditures in the Executive Department. As ranking Republican member, Hoffman for two terms was committee chairman, and became noted for his fiscal conservatism and his efforts to bring efficiency and order to the bureaucracy of the federal executive. He perhaps made his greatest contributions in the passage into law of the Reorganization Plan that authorized the creation and activities of the so-called Hoover Commission. He also played an important part in the passage of the Armed Forces Unification Act.

Hoffman retired from Congress in 1963. He died November 3, 1967.

Please note:

Copyright has been transferred to the Regents of the University of Michigan.


Access to digitized sound recordings may be limited to the reading room of the Bentley Historical Library, located on the Ann Arbor campus of the University of Michigan.

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