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Encyclopedia > Robert P. Bass

Robert Perkins Bass (18731960) was an American politician from New Hampshire who served as its governor from 1911 to 1913. He started one of the state's political dynasties: both his son, Perkins Bass, and grandson, Charles F. Bass, were elected to the U.S. House of Representatives.

Robert P. Bass, as he was generally known, was born in Chicago, but his family moved to Peterborough, New Hampshire when he was nine. He grew up on a family farm that is still owned by descendants. He graduated from Harvard College in 1896.

A member of the Republican Party, Bass was elected a state representative in 1905 and 1909, and the state Senate in 1910. He was governor from 1911 to 1913.

His status was hurt however, in the 1912 presidential election, when he supported Theodore Roosevelt's independent "Bull Moose party" run against the Republican nominee, President Howard Taft. The move threw the state Republicans into disarray, and led to a Democratic governor and a Democratic legislature. In retaliation, the party rejected Bass when he sought a U.S. Senate seat in 1913 and 1926.

Bass is remembered today for his stint as chairman of the New Hampshire Forestry Commission when popular concern with forests' well-being was intense, due to extreme over-logging in the White Mountains, and for sponsoring the legislation which led to the first direct primary law east of the Mississippi River.



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