Eagleton, Thomas F. 1929-2007 (Thomas Francis Eagleton)

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Eagleton, Thomas F. 1929-2007 (Thomas Francis Eagleton)


See index for CA sketch: Born September 4, 1929, in St. Louis, MO; died March 4, 2007, in Richmond Heights, MO. Politician, attorney, and author. A U.S. senator from Missouri, Eagleton is often remembered for his brief candidacy for U.S. vice president in 1972. After graduating from Amherst College in 1950, he completed his law degree at Harvard in 1953 and went into private practice. Eagleton was assistant general counsel to the Anheuser-Busch company and then was elected circuit attorney in St. Louis in 1956. Elected attorney general of Missouri in 1961, he then served as lieutenant governor of his state from 1965 to 1968. Eagleton won the U.S. Senate race in 1968 on the Democratic ticket and was serving in Washington when presidential hopeful George McGovern asked him to be his running mate. Eagleton was not actually McGovern's first choice, but Senator Edward Kennedy had turned down the invitation. The honor would be short-lived for Eagleton, however, who came under media scrutiny. It was discovered that he had undergone psychological treatment for clinical depression on more than one occasion. McGovern initially stood behind his choice of running mate, but only eighteen days after tapping Eagleton he asked the senator to step aside and replaced him with R. Sargent Shriver. In spite of that decision, Eagleton was easily reelected to office in 1974 and remained in the Senate until he decided to retire from office in 1986. During these years, he worked to pass legislation against racial discrimination and in support of abortion rights. His proudest achievement, he would later say, was getting legislation passed in 1973 that stopped the U.S. bombing in Cambodia. After leaving office, Eagleton was on the board of the Chicago Mercantile Exchange for two years and then returned to a private law practice in St. Louis. He taught law at Washington University from 1987 to 1999 and was on the president's foreign intelligence advisory board from 1993 to 1998. One of his happiest achievements in later years was his involvement in convincing the Los Angeles Rams football team to relocate to St. Louis. Eagleton was the author of War and Presidential Power: A Chronicle of Congressional Surrender (1974) and, more recently, Issues in Business and Government (1991). He was writing a memoir about his years in the Senate at the time of his death.



Chicago Tribune, March 5, 2007.

Los Angeles Times, March 5, 2007, p. B9.

New York Times, March 5, 2007, p. A21; March 6, 2007, p. A2.

Times (London, England), March 15, 2007, p. 66.