James Paul Clarke
AR Clarke John.jpg
President pro tempore of the United States Senate
In office
March 13, 1913 – October 1, 1916
Preceded byJacob H. Gallinger
Succeeded byWillard Saulsbury Jr.
United States Senator
from Arkansas
In office
March 4, 1903 – October 1, 1916
Preceded byJames K. Jones
Succeeded byWilliam F. Kirby
18th Governor of Arkansas
In office
January 8, 1895 – January 12, 1897
Preceded byWilliam Meade Fishback
Succeeded byDaniel Webster Jones
Attorney General of Arkansas
In office
GovernorWilliam M. Fishback
Preceded byWilliam E. Atkinson
Succeeded byE. B. Kinsworthy
Member of the Arkansas Senate
from the 14th district
In office
Member of the Arkansas House of Representatives
In office
Personal details
BornAugust 18, 1854
Yazoo City, Mississippi
DiedOctober 1, 1916(1916-10-01) (aged 62)
Little Rock, Arkansas
Resting placeOakland Cemetery
Political partyDemocratic
Alma materUniversity of Virginia

James Paul Clarke (August 18, 1854 – October 1, 1916) was a United States Senator and the 18th Governor of Arkansas as well as a white supremacist.[1]


Clarke was born in Yazoo City, Mississippi. His father died when Clarke was seven years old, and he was raised by his mother. Clarke attended public schools as well as Tutwilder's Academy in Greenbrier, Alabama.[2] He graduated with a law degree at the University of Virginia in 1878. Clarke was admitted to the bar in 1879, and practiced law at Helena, Arkansas.


James Paul Clarke
James Paul Clarke

Clarke served as a member of the Arkansas House of Representatives from 1886 to 1888. He became a member of the Arkansas Senate from 1888 to 1892 and served as president of the Senate in 1891. He was elected Attorney General of Arkansas and served from 1892 to 1894. He served as Governor of Arkansas from 1895 to 1897.[3] Clarke was devoted to "upholding white supremacy as the keystone of the Democratic Party. 'The people of the South,' he said in his closing speech of the election, 'looked to the Democratic party to preserve the white standards of civilization.' Clarke easily defeated his opponents."[4]

His term was largely unsuccessful and his legislation to end prizefighting and establish four-year terms for state officers failed. After leaving office in 1897, he moved his permanent residence to Little Rock, Arkansas and practiced law. Clarke was elected to the United States Senate in 1903 and served until his death in 1916. He served as President pro tempore of the United States Senate during the Sixty-third and Sixty-fourth Congresses.

Death and legacy

Clarke died in Little Rock, Arkansas. He is buried at Oakland Cemetery in Little Rock.

Clarke's statue is one of two statues that was presented by the State of Arkansas to the National Statuary Hall Collection at the United States Capitol. In 2019 the decision was made to replace his statue, and that of Uriah Milton Rose, with statues of Johnny Cash and Daisy Lee Gatson Bates. In the case of Clarke, the reason given is "his racist beliefs".[5] Clarke's own great-great-grandson, State Senator Clarke Tucker, in a 2018 column strongly supported replacing Clarke's statue: "I strongly hope one of the new statues will be Daisy Bates or a member of the Little Rock Nine."[6][7]

See also


  1. ^ Niswonger, Richard L. "James Paul Clarke (1854–1916)". Encyclopedia of Arkansas. CALS. Retrieved April 15, 2019.
  2. ^ "James Paul Clarke (1895–1897)". Old State House Museum. Archived from the original on November 14, 2012. Retrieved August 17, 2012.
  3. ^ "Arkansas Governor James Paul Clarke". National Governors Association. Archived from the original on January 18, 2012. Retrieved August 17, 2012.
  4. ^ Niswonger, Richard L. "James Paul Clarke (1854–1916)". Encyclopedia of Arkansas. CALS. Retrieved April 15, 2019.
  5. ^ Itkowitz, Colby (April 17, 2019). "Johnny Cash to replace Confederate statue on Capitol Hill". Washington Post.
  6. ^ Tucker, Clarke (October 11, 2018). "A new statue to represent Arkansas in D.C." Arkansas Times.
  7. ^ Peters, Ben (April 17, 2019). "Johnny Cash is replacing one of the Capitol's Civil War statues". Roll Call.
Party political offices Preceded byWilliam Meade Fishback Democratic nominee for Governor of Arkansas 1894 Succeeded byDaniel Webster Jones First Democratic nominee for U.S. Senator from Arkansas(Class 3) 1914 Succeeded byWilliam F. Kirby Political offices Preceded byWilliam Meade Fishback Governor of Arkansas 1895–1897 Succeeded byDaniel Webster Jones U.S. Senate Preceded byJames K. Jones United States Senator (Class 3) from Arkansas 1903–1916 Succeeded byWilliam F. Kirby Preceded byRotating pro tems President pro tempore of the United States Senate March 13, 1913 – October 1, 1916 Succeeded byWillard Saulsbury Jr.