Mathias of Maryland

Remembering a Lincoln Republican in the Senate

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About the Book

Senator Charles “Mac” Mathias was a lifelong Republican who won every election in a 26-year congressional career in heavily Democratic Maryland. A courageous risk-taker, Mathias led efforts to advance civil rights, voting rights, environmental initiatives to clean up the Chesapeake Bay, and establish the Vietnam Veterans Memorial. On foreign policy, he was an early critic of the Vietnam War and a consistent advocate for nuclear arms control, Middle East peace and sanctions against apartheid South Africa.
His story, captured here by senior staff members, members of Congress and others, is an inspiring example of what a courageous political leader can do when he follows his conscience and is acts on principle. His remarkable career is a stark reminder of the days when the Republican Party stood for the rule of law, respect for the Constitution and a bipartisan foreign policy.

About the Author(s)

Frederic B. Hill was a foreign correspondent for The Baltimore Sun, foreign affairs director for Senator Mathias in 1985 and 1986, and then conducted wargaming exercises on national security for the Department of State. He is the author of books on shipbuilding, journalism and American politics. He lives in Arrowsic, Maine.

Monica Healy was a senior legislative assistant for Senator Mathias for twelve years and later staff director of the Senate Democratic Policy Committee for Majority Leader George Mitchell (D-ME) and Senator Tom Daschle (D-S.D.). She also held senior positions in the Clinton Administration at the Department of Labor and the Pension Benefit Guaranty Corporation. She was Director of the D.C. office for Maryland Gov. William Donald Schaefer and Vice President of Government Affairs for Teach for America. She lives in Washington, D.C.

Bibliographic Details

Edited by Frederic B. Hill and Monica Healy
Foreword by Norman J. Ornstein
Format: softcover (6 x 9)
Bibliographic Info: ca. 35 photos, notes, index
Copyright Date: 2024
pISBN: 978-1-4766-9420-7
eISBN: 978-1-4766-5198-9
Imprint: McFarland

Book Reviews & Awards

• “Senator Mac Mathias was mild-mannered and lion-hearted. He feared no man, refused to pay tribute to false idols, and never trimmed his sails to catch the political winds of the moment. Mac remains a shining example of what it means to be a true public servant and patriot, faithful to one’s oath of office and allegiance to the Constitution and rule of law. Sadly, there are too few today who claim to be the heirs of Lincoln’s legacy but also have Lincoln’s (and Mac’s) courage and integrity.”—William S. Cohen, Secretary of Defense (1996-2000) and U.S. Senator (R-ME), 1978-1996

• “Mac Mathias exemplified the best attributes of what a United States senator can and should be: devoted to the Constitution and the rule of law, well-read on the history of our country, and always ready to place the nation’s interests before any political party or any president. A veteran of WWII. Mac saw first-hand the devastation of Hiroshima. He was a leader in the battle to reduce nuclear weapons and nuclear risks, to avoid nuclear proliferation and, in accord with the Non-Proliferation Treaty, to ultimately eliminate nuclear weapons globally as a threat to civilization. Mac was always ready to reach across the aisle on matters affecting America’s important interests. When he spoke, senators of both parties listened because we knew that his voice and his votes were grounded in his integrity, his sense of fairness, and his respect for all. This history of Mac Mathias’ leadership should also serve as a roadmap for today’s leaders, who know deep down that we must again make our nation’s vital interests our top priority.”—Sen. Sam Nunn (D-GA) 1972-1996, Chair, Senate Armed Services Committee, co-author of Nunn-Lugar Nuclear Threat Reduction Act and co-chair of the Nuclear Threat Initiative

•“Senator Charles ‘Mac’ Mathias was one of a rare cast of characters: A U.S. Senator in the modern age more concerned with his country than his status, power, and wealth–or supporting a thoroughly discredited president. [This work] brilliantly illuminates the work and the character of this remarkable individual. Mathias stands out so starkly from today’s legislators that the contrast tells us much about why today’s Congress is so feckless and ineffective. Every member of that body should be compelled to read this book to grasp how far short they fall of the Mathias standard for respect for the Constitution, the rule of law and a bipartisan approach to the national interest.”—Lawrence Wilkerson, former chief of staff to Secretary of State Colin Powell

•“Senator Mac Mathias brought intellectual heft and empathy to every endeavor in which he was engaged in the U.S. Senate. He was a staunch advocate for humanitarian and development assistance for those in need around the world. His willingness to reach across the aisle, his heart, and his devotion to the empowerment of those who have been left behind and forgotten are sorely missed in today’s Republican Party. Every Member of Congress, and leaders of every kind across the country, could all stand to learn from Senator Mathias and his remarkable legacy.”—Rep. Gerry Connolly (D-VA); President of NATO Parliamentary Assembly, November 2020-November 2022

•“Senator Mathias exemplified the kind of reasoned debate, civility and thoughtfulness that give meaning to the idea of the Senate as the world’s greatest deliberative body. He acted on principle throughout his public life. In the early 1960s he was one of three Republican Congressmen who introduced the bill that helped shape and influence the Civil Rights Act of 1964. Throughout his Senate career he pursued the strengthening of that law and its companion Voting Rights and Fair Housing statutes. He sought to guide our Nation’s foreign policies in ways that served our long-term interests, under Republican and Democratic Presidents alike. He was the first U.S. Senator to be honored as President of the North Atlantic Assembly, the legislative body of NATO. He remained a champion of constitutional values and protections throughout his career. He was a vital voice of reason, political courage and sanity in the Senate.”—U.S. Senator George Mitchell (D-ME) served as a United States Senator from 1980 to 1995, and as Senate Majority Leader from 1989 to 1995