Charles Curtis served as a U.S. representative and senator from Kansas. He was part Native American, as his mother was Kaw, Osage, and Potawatomi. He lived for many years on the Kaw Reservation. Curtis is the first person with significant Native American ancestry to reach a high level of office in the executive branch of government. Curtis was a strong leader in the Senate and elected as both minority whip and majority whip. In 1923 Charles Curtis proposed the first version of the Equal Rights Amendment to the Constitution; however, the amendment did not go forward. When he resigned from the Senate to assume the vice presidency, he arranged for a Native American jazz band to perform at the inauguration. During the Depression, Curtis endorsed the five-day work week, with no reduction in wages as a work-sharing solution to unemployment.
The United States Senate and House of Representatives comprise the legislative branch of the U.S. government. Each state has two senators regardless of the state’s population. U.S. senators serve staggered terms of six years. Prior to 1913, senators were appointed by their state legislatures. This changed with the 17th Amendment, which mandated senators be elected by popular vote. The Senate has the power to ratify treaties and to confirm cabinet secretaries, federal judges, Supreme Court justices and other federal executive officials.
Charles Curtis was a member of the U.S. Senate prior to his election as vice president. Many of the men who become president and vice president first served in Congress as members of the House of Representatives or in the U.S. Senate. A number of these individuals first served in their state government as governor, state senator or in their state House of Representatives.
The biographical History Mugs were created to teach and inspire individuals to learn about our diverse and interesting history. The biographies were researched and written by history enthusiast, Robert Compton. He colorized most of the historic photos and images used on the mugs, which were originally black and white or sepia tone. The images and biographies are imprinted on mugs at his studio in rural Vermont.
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- To preserve photographic quality we recommend hand washing.
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