Henry Martin Jackson was born in Everett, Washington, on May 31, 1912. He graduated from the University of Washington, where he also received his law degree in 1935. “Scoop” Jackson, as he became known, was admitted to the Washington Bar and began practice with an Everett law firm. The lure of public life was strong, however, and in the fall of 1938 he was elected to the prosecutor’s office at the age of 26.
Political Offices and Accomplishments
As prosecuting attorney, Jackson won a reputation as a foe of gambling and bootlegging, setting the stage for his election to the U.S. Congress in 1940 from Washington’s Second District.
In the U.S. House of Representatives, Jackson became a specialist in military affairs and nuclear energy. He served in the U.S. Army as an enlisted man during WWII until recalled to his congressional duties by President Franklin Roosevelt. In 1945, Congressman Jackson visited Buchenwald a few days after the death camp was liberated, an event that deeply affected his views on freedom and human rights. While serving in the House he also played an influential role on issues of particular interest to the West like public lands, reclamation, and hydroelectric power development. Jackson was reelected five times to the House of Representatives.
In 1952, Jackson successfully challenged incumbent Harry P. Cain for his seat in the U.S. Senate. For more than 30 years, Senator Jackson was deeply involved in the major issues of American political life, from the drama of the Army-McCarthy hearings in 1954 to the liberation of Soviet Jewry in the 1970s. He became an acknowledged authority on national security, energy, and environmental issues.
You can read about Senator Jackson’s legislative accomplishments here.