Henry Martin "Scoop" Jackson (May 31, 1912 – September 1, 1983) was a U.S. Congressman (1941–1953) and Senator (1953–1983) from the state of Washington. A Cold War liberal and anti-Communist Democrat, Jackson supported higher military spending and a hard line against the Soviet Union, while also supporting social welfare programs, civil rights, and labor unions.
Born in Everett, Washington to Norwegian immigrants, Jackson practiced law in Everett after graduating from the University of Washington School of Law. He won election to Congress in 1940 and joined the Senate in 1953 after defeating incumbent Republican Senator Harry P. Cain. Jackson supported the major civil rights of the 1960s and authored the National Environmental Policy Act, which helped establish the principle of publicly analyzing environmental impacts. He co-sponsored the Jackson–Vanik amendment, which denied normal trade relations to countries with restrictive emigration policies.
Jackson served as Chairman of the Senate Committee on Energy and Natural Resources from 1963 to 1981. He was twice an unsuccessful candidate for the Democratic presidential nomination, in 1972 and 1976. While still serving in the Senate, Jackson died in 1983.
His political beliefs were characterized by support of civil rights, human rights, and safeguarding the environment, but with an equally strong commitment to oppose totalitarianism in general, and communism in particular. The political philosophies and positions of Scoop Jackson have been cited as an influence on a number of key figures associated with neoconservatism, including Paul Wolfowitz and Richard Perle, both of whom previously served as aides to the Senator. The Henry Jackson Society is named in his honor.
He was born in the home of his parents, Marine (Anderson) and Peter Jackson, in Everett, Washington. Both parents were immigrants from Norway. Peter Jackson was born Peter Gresseth, and changed his name when he immigrated. He met Marine at the Lutheran church in Everett, where they were married in 1897. Henry was the fifth and youngest of the Jackson children. Jackson was nicknamed "Scoop" by his sister in his childhood after a comic strip character that he was said to have resembled.
In 1935, the year of his law school graduation, he was admitted to the bar and began to practice law in Everett. He found immediate success and was elected to become the prosecuting attorney for Snohomish County from 1938 to 1940, where he made a name for himself prosecuting bootleggers and gamblers.
In 1961, Jackson, called by Time the Senate's "most eligible bachelor," married Helen Hardin, a 28-year-old Senate receptionist, but Jackson did not move out of his childhood home, where he lived with his unmarried sisters, for several years. The Jacksons had two children, Anna Marie Laurence and Peter Jackson; Peter was most recently a speechwriter for Governor Christine Gregoire.
Jackson successfully ran for Congress as a Democrat in 1940 and took his seat in the House of Representatives with the 77th Congress on January 3, 1941. From then on, Jackson did not lose any congressional election.
Jackson joined the Army when the United States entered World War II but left when Franklin D. Roosevelt ordered all representatives to return home or resign their seats. He visited the Buchenwald concentration camp a few days after its liberation in 1945. He attended the International Maritime Conference in Copenhagen, Denmark, in 1945 with the American delegation, and he was elected president of the same conference in 1946, when it was held in Seattle, Washington. From 1945 to 1947, Jackson was also the chairman of the Committee on Indian Affairs.
In the 1952 election, Jackson relinquished his seat in the House for a run for one of Washington's Senate seats. Jackson soundly defeated Republican Senator Harry P. Cain and remained a senator for over thirty years. Jackson died in office in 1983 after winning re-election for the fifth time in 1982.
Though Jackson opposed the excesses of Joe McCarthy, who had traveled to Washington State to campaign against him in 195, he also criticized Dwight Eisenhower for not spending enough on national defense. Jackson called for more inter-continental ballistic missiles in the national arsenal, and his support for nuclear weapons resulted in a primary challenge from the left in 1958, when he handily defeated Seattle peace activist Alice Franklin Bryant before winning re-election with 67 percent of the vote, which he topped the next four times he ran for re-election.
Jackson boasted one of the strongest records on civil rights during the civil rights movement. He supported the 1957 and the 1964 Civil Rights Acts.
In 1963, Jackson was made chairman of the Committee on Interior and Insular Affairs, which became the Committee on Energy and Natural Resources in 1977, a position he held until 1981. In the 1970s, Jackson joined with fellow senators Ernest Hollings and Edward Kennedy in a press conference to oppose President Gerald Ford's request for Congress to end Richard Nixon's price controls on domestic oil, which had provoked oil companies into withholding gasoline during the 1973 Oil Crisis.
Jackson authored the National Environmental Policy Act, which has been called one of the most influential environmental laws in history. It helped to stimulate similar laws and the principle of publicly analyzed environmental impact in other states and in much of the world. Jackson was also a leader of the fight for statehood for Alaska and Hawaii. In 1974, Jackson sponsored the Jackson-Vanik amendment in the Senate (with Charles Vanik sponsoring it in the House), which denied normal trade relations to certain countries with non-market economies that restricted the freedom of emigration. The amendment was intended to help refugees, particularly minorities, specifically Jews, to emigrate from the Soviet Bloc. Jackson and his assistant, Richard Perle, also lobbied personally for some people who were affected by this law such as Anatoly (now Natan) Sharansky.
Jackson also led the opposition within the Democratic Party against the SALT II treaty and was one of the leading proponents of increased foreign aid to Israel.
For decades, Democrats who support a strong international presence for the United States have been called "Scoop Jackson Democrats," and the term is still used to describe contemporary Democrats such as Joe Lieberman and R. James Woolsey, Jr.
Jackson served for all but the last three years of his Senate tenure with Democratic colleague Warren G. Magnuson. As a result, he spent 28 years as the state's junior Senator, even though he had more seniority than all but a few of his colleagues. "Scoop" and "Maggie," as they affectionately called each other, gave Washington clout in national politics well beyond its population. They were one of the most effective delegations in the history of the Senate in terms of "bringing home the bacon" for their home state. Washington received nearly a sixth of public works appropriations but ranked only 23rd in population.
Jackson was known as a hawkish Democrat. He was often criticized for his support for the Vietnam War and his close ties to the defense industries of his state. His proposal of Fort Lawton as a site for an anti-ballistic missile system was strongly opposed by local residents, and Jackson was forced to modify his position on the location of the site several times, but continued to support ABM development. American Indian rights activists who protested Jackson's plan to give Fort Lawton to Seattle, instead of returning it to local tribes, staged a sit-in. In the eventual compromise, most of Fort Lawton became Discovery Park, with 20 acres (8.1 ha) leased to United Indians of All Tribes, who opened the Daybreak Star Cultural Center there in 1977.
Opponents derided him as "the Senator from Boeing" and a "whore for Boeing" because of his consistent support for additional military spending on weapons systems and accusations of wrongful contributions from the company; in 1965, 80% of Boeing's contracts were military. Jackson and Magnuson's campaigning for an expensive government supersonic transport plane project eventually failed.
After his death, critics pointed to Jackson's support for Japanese American internment camps during World War II as a reason to protest the placement of his bust at the University of Washington. Jackson was both an enthusiastic defender of the evacuation and a staunch proponent of the campaign to keep the Japanese-Americans from returning to the Pacific Coast after the war.
Jackson not only was successful as a politician in Washington State but also found recognition on the national level, rising to the position of chairman of the Democratic National Committee in 1960 after he was considered for the vice presidential ticket spot that eventually went to fellow Senator Lyndon Johnson.
Jackson ran for president twice, and both campaigns were noted for the hostile reception they received from the left wing of the Democratic Party. Jackson's one-on-one campaigning skills, which were so successful in Washington State, did not translate as well on the national stage. Even his supporters admitted that he suffered from a certain lack of charisma.
1972 presidential campaign
Jackson was little known nationally when he first ran in 1972. George McGovern, who eventually won the nomination, even accused Jackson of racism for his opposition to busing despite Jackson's longstanding record on civil rights issues. Jackson's high point in the campaign was a distant third in the early Florida primary, but he failed to stand out of the pack of better-known rivals, and he made real news only later in the campaign, as part of the "Stop McGovern" coalition, which raised what would be known as the "Acid, Amnesty and Abortion" questions about McGovern. Jackson suspended active campaigning in May after a weak showing in the Ohio primary and finishing well behind McGovern, Ed Muskie, George Wallace, and Hubert Humphrey in early primaries.
Jackson re-emerged at the August Democratic convention after the runner-up, Humphrey, dropped out of the race. Jackson's name was placed in nomination by Georgia Governor Jimmy Carter, and he finished second in the delegate roll call, well behind nominee McGovern.
1976 presidential campaign
Jackson raised his national profile by speaking out on Soviet-U.S. relations and Middle East policy regularly, and he was considered a front-runner for the nomination when he announced the start of his campaign in February 1975. Jackson received substantial financial support from Jewish-Americans who admired his pro-Israel views, but his support of the Vietnam War resulted in hostility from the left wing of the Democratic Party.
Jackson chose to run on social issues, emphasizing law and order and his opposition to busing. He was hoping for support from labor, but the possibility that Hubert Humphrey might enter the race caused unions to offer only lukewarm support.
Jackson made the fateful decision not to compete in the early Iowa caucus and New Hampshire primary, which Jimmy Carter won after liberals split their votes among four other candidates. Though Jackson won the Massachusetts and New York primaries, he dropped out on May 1 after losing the critical Pennsylvania primary to Carter by 12% and running out of money.
Jackson died suddenly at the age of 71 in Everett of an aortic aneurysm, shortly after giving a news conference condemning the Soviet attack on Korean Air Lines Flight 007. News reports showed video of Jackson in which he was seen reflexively massaging the left side of his chest while talking and speculated that it was his reaction to an early symptom of the fatal attack.
He was greatly mourned; Senator Daniel Patrick Moynihan stated, "Henry Jackson is proof of the old belief in the Judaic tradition that at any moment in history goodness in the world is preserved by the deeds of 36 just men who do not know that this is the role the Lord has given them. Henry Jackson was one of those men." Jackson is buried in Evergreen Cemetery in Everett.
- Jackson was awarded the Presidential Medal of Freedom posthumously in 1984; Ronald Reagan called him "one of the greatest lawmakers of our century," and stated:
Scoop Jackson was convinced that there's no place for partisanship in foreign and defense policy. He used to say, 'In matters of national security, the best politics is no politics.' His sense of bipartisanship was not only natural and complete; it was courageous. He wanted to be President, but I think he must have known that his outspoken ideas on the security of the Nation would deprive him of the chance to be his party's nominee in 1972 and '76. Still, he would not cut his convictions to fit the prevailing style.
I'm deeply proud, as he would have been, to have Jackson Democrats serve in my administration. I'm proud that some of them have found a home here.
- In 1983, he was awarded Delta Chi of the Year.
- With his death in office, the Seattle–Tacoma International Airport was initially renamed Henry M. Jackson International Airport, but resistance to the change led to this being reversed to its original name, which stands today. The resistance was led by city leaders in Tacoma, who feared that the new name would lead to the airport being referred to as Seattle's airport. When first built, the smaller city of Tacoma had negotiated the inclusion of its city name, and saw the change to Jackson International as a violation of that agreement, as well as a threat to convention business. The airport lies between the two cities in the municipality of SeaTac.
- One of Jackson's last acts as Senator was to sponsor legislation creating what became the Henry M. Jackson Foundation for the Advancement of Military Medicine, which was named after him after his death.
- The Jackson family created the Henry M. Jackson Foundation to give grants to nonprofits and educational institutions. Board members have included Richard Perle, Tom Foley, and Jeane Kirkpatrick.
- On March 28, 1981 he gave the principal address at the christening of the USS Bremerton (SSN 698). The Bremerton was the second ship to have the name, preceded by the USS Bremerton (CA 130). It was christened by Mrs. Henry M. Jackson on July 22, 1978. The USS Bremerton (SSN 698) was mentioned in the classic Tom Clancy novel, The Hunt for Red October.
- The University of Washington has named the Jackson School of International Studies in his honor. However, students objecting to Jackson's hawkish views on the Cold War in the mid-1980s caused the university to move a bust of the senator to the end of an abandoned corridor until it was restored to a more prominent place outside the Jackson School in 2006.
- The US Navy Ohio-class ballistic missile submarine Henry M. Jackson was also named after him, in recognition of his longtime support of the nation's military. It is the only Ohio-class submarine not named after a U.S. state.
- In 1994, the Everett School District completed construction of Henry M. Jackson High School in Mill Creek, Washington.
- The Henry M. Jackson Wilderness Area was created in his honor by the 1984 Washington Wilderness Act.
- The Jewish Institute for National Security Affairs, with the cooperation of the Jackson family, awards a Henry M. "Scoop" Jackson Distinguished Service Award to individuals for their career dedication to U.S. national security. Jackson won the first award in 1982, and it was named after him after his death. Winners include Max Cleland, Joe Lieberman, Dick Cheney, Jane Harman, and Paul Wolfowitz.
Influence on neoconservatism
Jackson believed that evil should be confronted with power. His support for civil rights and equality at home, married to his opposition to détente, his support for human rights and democratic allies, and his firm belief that the United States could be a force for good in the world inspired a legion of loyal aides who went on to propound Jackson's philosophy as part of neoconservatism. In addition to Richard Perle, neoconservatives Paul Wolfowitz, Elliott Abrams, Charles Horner, and Douglas Feith were former Democratic aides to Jackson who, disillusioned with the Carter administration, supported Ronald Reagan and joined his administration in 1981, later becoming prominent foreign policy makers in the 21st-century Bush administration. Neoconservative Ben Wattenberg was a prominent political aide to Jackson's 1972 and 1976 presidential campaigns. Wolfowitz has called himself a "Scoop Jackson Republican" on multiple occasions. Many journalists and scholars across the political spectrum have noted links between Senator Jackson and modern neoconservatism.
Jackson's influence on foreign policy has been cited as foundational to the George W. Bush administration's foreign policy, and the Iraq War. Jackson biographer Robert Kaufman says "There is no question in my mind that the people who supported Iraq are supporting Henry Jackson's instincts."
Peter Beinart, author of The Good Fight: Why Liberals — and Only Liberals — Can Win the War on Terror and Make America Great Again, argues that the Democratic Party should return to Jackson's values in its foreign policy, criticizing current-day neoconservatives for failing to adopt Jackson's domestic policy views along with his foreign policy views.
The Henry Jackson Society
In 2005, the Henry Jackson Society was formed at the University of Cambridge, England. The non-partisan British group is dedicated to "pursuit of a robust foreign policy ... based on clear universal principles such as the global promotion of the rule of law, liberal democracy, civil rights, environmental responsibility and the market economy" as part of "Henry Jackson's legacy." The organisation is now based in London and hosts high-profile speaker events in the House of Commons.
Jackson Papers controversy
In 2005, twenty-two years after his death, US government officials, including three members of the Central Intelligence Agency, seized and removed several of Senator Jackson's archived documents housed at the University of Washington. Though a team of the university's staff in 1983 removed all information considered classified at the time, the officials were verifying anything still considered classified, or reclassified since then, had been removed. The documents are pending declassification at the University as of March 2005.
|Year||Democrat||Votes||Pct||Republican||Votes||Pct||3rd party||Party||Votes||Pct||3rd party||Party||Votes||Pct|
|1952||Henry M. Jackson||595,288||56.23%||Harry P. Cain||460,884||43.53%||Thomas C. Rabbitt||Progressive||1,912||0.18%||Henry Killman||Socialist Labor||651||0.06%|
|1958||Henry M. Jackson||597,040||67.32%||William B. Bantz||278,271||31.38%||Henry Killman||Socialist Labor||7,592||0.86%||Archie G. Idso||Constitution||2,257||0.26%|
|1964||Henry M. Jackson||875,950||72.21%||Lloyd J. Andrews||337,138||27.79%|
|1970||Henry M. Jackson||879,385||82.43%||Charles W. Elicker||170,790||16.01%||William Massey||Socialist Workers||9,255||0.87%||Edison Fisk||Buffalo||7,377||0.69%|
|1976||Henry M. Jackson||1,071,219||71.84%||George M. Brown||361,546||24.25%||Dave Smith||American Independent||28,182||1.89%||Richard K. Kenney||Libertarian||19,373||1.30%|
|1982||Henry M. Jackson||943,665||68.96%||Douglas Jewett||332,273||24.28%||King Lysen||Independent||72,297||5.28%||Jesse Chiang||Independent||20,251||1.48%|