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Died when: 89 years 144 days
Star Sign: Libra
Ralph Edward Flanders (September 28, 1880 – February 19, 1970) was an American mechanical engineer, industrialist and politician who served as a Republican U.S. Senator from the state of Vermont. He grew up on subsistence farms in Vermont and Rhode Island and was an apprentice machinist and draftsman before training as a mechanical engineer. He spent five years in New York City as an editor for a machine tool magazine. After moving back to Vermont, he managed and then became president of a successful machine tool company. Flanders used his experience as an industrialist to advise state and national commissions in Vermont, New England and Washington, D.C. on industrial and economic policy. He was president of the Boston Federal Reserve Bank for two years before being elected U.S. Senator from Vermont. Flanders was noted for introducing a 1954 motion in the Senate to censure Senator Joseph McCarthy. McCarthy had made sensational claims that there were large numbers of Communists and Soviet spies and sympathizers inside the federal government and elsewhere. He used his Senate committee as a nationally televised forum for attacks on individuals whom he accused. Flanders felt that McCarthy's attacks distracted the nation from a much greater threat of Communist successes elsewhere in the world and that they had the effect of creating division and confusion within the United States, to the advantage of its enemies. Ultimately, McCarthy's tactics and his inability to substantiate his claims led to his being discredited and censured by the United States Senate.