by Florence Markoff

The story of his resignation from the United States Senate.

This bust of Theodore Francis Green graces the Senate Lounge of the Rhode Island State House.

The place was Washington, D.C. The year was 1961. It was a day of emotion and drama when the senior senator from Rhode Island, at 94 the oldest member to serve in the United State Senate, stood before his colleagues and explained the reasons for his resignation. The Senate chamber was charged with tension. All heads leaned forward to listen to the chairman of the Senate Foreign Relations Committee, one of the nation's most powerful jobs.

Age had finally caught up with him—age that the Rhode Island Senator had defied for so long.

When he was governor of Rhode Island in the difficult days of 1933, when the economic situation of the state called for strong leadership, he was one of the first to use the medium of radio to speak to the people.

His rise to the U.S. Senate was due to many reasons. Political scientists said it was because he was socially progressive, idealistic in purpose, yet at the same time, practical and realistic. In Washington, he was known as an "athlete" who would walk four miles every day. He was also considered the most enthusiastic party-goer in the Capital. One day at a social gathering he was seen studying his engagement book. A lady asked him if he were checking to see where he was going next. "Oh, no, my dear," he answered, "I'm looking to see where I am now."

On that poignant day of his resignation, he told his colleagues that instead of walking that morning, he had shared a cab. He hadn't lost all common sense, he added, because he had let the other riders pay. There was much meaning in the story told in jest, for the senior senator from Rhode Island was a statesman rooted in the past, and yet, never tied to the past. They called him an aristocrat in the art of politics—Theodore Francis Green—a Rhode Island Portrait In Sound.

Providence resident Florence Markoff (1927-2017) was a speaker, performer, storyteller, and radio personality.

The story of Theodore Francis Green's resignation from the United States Senate is featured on Rhode Island Portraits in Sound - Part One.

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This article last edited January 23, 2003

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