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Henry Styles Bridges (September 9, 1898 – November 26, 1961) was an Americanmarker teacher, editor, and Republican Party politician from Concord, New Hampshiremarker. He served one term as Governor of New Hampshiremarker before a twenty-four year career in the United States Senate.

Bridges was born in West Pembroke, Mainemarker. He attended the public schools in Mainemarker. He attended the University of Mainemarker at Oronomarker until 1918. From 1918 he held a variety of jobs, including teaching, newspaper editing, business and state government. He was an instructor at Sanderson Academy, Ashfield, Massachusettsmarker from 1918 to 1919. He was a member of the extension staff of the University of New Hampshiremarker at Durhammarker from 1921 until 1922. He was the secretary of the New Hampshire Farm Bureau Federation from 1922 until 1923, and the editor of the Granite Monthly Magazine from 1924 until 1926. Meanwhile, He was the director and secretary of the New Hampshire Investment Corporation from 1924 until 1929. He was then a member of the New Hampshire Public Service Commission from 1930 until 1934.

Bridges ran for the position of governor of New Hampshire in 1934, and won, becoming the nation's youngest governor at the time, according to John Gunther's book, Inside U.S.A.. He was elected to the United States Senate in 1936, and would serve until his death in 1961. In 1937 he retired from the Army Reserve Corps, in which he had served as a Lieutenant since 1925. In 1940 he attempted to win the Republican nomination for President; the nomination was eventually won by Wendell Willkie. Bridges broke his hip on New Year's Eve 1941 and missed several months of the next Senate session.

In the Senate, John Gunther wrote, Bridges was "an aggressive reactionary on most issues...and he is pertinaciously engaged in a continual running fight with the CIO, the Roosevelt family and the Union of Soviet Socialist Republicsmarker." (Inside U.S.A., p. 471)

Bridges was reelected to four subsequent six-year terms in 1942, 1948, 1954 and again in 1960, although he did not complete his final term due to his death. He became the highest-ranking Republican senator, serving as chairman of the Joint Committee on Foreign Economic Cooperation when the Republicans had control of the Senate from 1947 until 1949, Senate Minority Leader from 1952 until 1953, President pro tempore of the United States Senate when the Republicans had control of it from 1953 until 1955, chairman of the Joint Committee on Inaugural Arrangements for both of the inaugurations of President Dwight Eisenhower, Chairman of the Committee on Appropriations when the Republicans had control of the Senate from 1947-1949 and 1953-1955, and Chairman of the Republican Policy Committee from 1954 until his death.

Part of Interstate 93 in New Hampshire is named the Styles Bridges Highway.

Blackmail of Senator Lester Hunt

In 1954, Bridges delivered a blackmail threat to Wyomingmarker Democratic Senator Lester C. Hunt. He threatened to expose Hunt's son as a homosexual if Hunt did not leave the Senate. Hunt announced his retirement, then committed suicide. This incident was later fictionalized by Allen Drury in his novel Advise and Consent.

Death and burial

Bridges died in East Concord and is buried in Pine Grove Cemetery there.

In 1961, after Bridges' death, his widow received six large envelopes that, per rumor, contained unreported cash contributions from lobbyists and corporations, according to Lewis L. Gould's book The Most Exclusive Club. The book cites as a reference on the charge the biography Styles Bridges: Yankee Senator, by James J. Kiepper, Phoenix Publishing (2001) ISBN 0-914659-93-6. Many critics have stated Kiepper's inability to successfully grasp Bridges's life in his biography. It is a shame that it took over thirty years to write such a poor portrayal of Senator Bridges.

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