Senator Gore and World War I

Portrait of Thomas P. Gore

Portrait of Thomas P. Gore

Thomas Pryor Gore (1870-1949) got his first taste of politics at the age of twelve, while serving as a page in the Mississippi state senate. Although blinded by two childhood accidents, Gore remained actively engaged in politics, receiving his law degree and becoming a popular stump speaker on the behalf of the People's (or Populist) Party.

With the demise of the Populists, Gore rejoined the Democratic Party but continued to support many of the Populist's principles. Gore came to Oklahoma Territory in 1901 where he practiced law and served in the territorial legislature. When Oklahoma was admitted to the Union in 1907, Gore was elected one of the new state's first United States Senators.

When war broke out in Europe in June 1914, Gore, a staunch isolationist, deeply opposed the prospect of the United States breaking its policy of neutrality. His fervent opposition to American entrance into World War I garnered some support from his fellow Oklahomans, but it also outraged those citizens who wanted the country to intervene in the war. The petitions that flooded his office reflected the support and the intense disdain Gore’s position inspired in Oklahomans. Despite Gore’s full support of the war effort after the country entered the war in 1917, his early opposition to the war and continued isolationism after its conclusion cost him his seat in the Senate in 1920.