Ric A. Kabat


Claude D. Pepper was born into economically deprived and socially humble circumstances on September 8, 1900, in Chambers County, Alabama. He grew up acquiring the traditional values of hard work, delayed gratification, Christian moral teachings, and, most importantly, a belief in cooperation and communitarian responsibility. These ethical standards shaped his personal life and propelled him into one of the most longstanding and productive political careers in American history. Together with contemporary liberal politicians from the South, such as Alabama congressman Carl Elliott, Senator and later Supreme Court Justice Hugo Black, Senator John J. Sparkman, Senator J. William Fulbright, and Lyndon B. Johnson, Pepper’s early life experiences pushed him toward supporting an expansive role for the state in areas such as health care, education, women’s rights, and regulation of the economy to solve the country’s political, social, and economic problems.