James Paul Clarke
|President pro tempore of the United States Senate|
March 13, 1913 – October 1, 1916
|Preceded by||Jacob H. Gallinger|
|Succeeded by||Willard Saulsbury Jr.|
|United States Senator|
March 4, 1903 – October 1, 1916
|Preceded by||James K. Jones|
|Succeeded by||William F. Kirby|
|18th Governor of Arkansas|
January 8, 1895 – January 12, 1897
|Preceded by||William Meade Fishback|
|Succeeded by||Daniel Webster Jones|
|Attorney General of Arkansas|
|Governor||William M. Fishback|
|Preceded by||William E. Atkinson|
|Succeeded by||E. B. Kinsworthy|
|Member of the Arkansas Senate|
from the 14th district
|Member of the Arkansas House of Representatives|
|Born||August 18, 1854|
Yazoo City, Mississippi
|Died||October 1, 1916 (aged 62)|
Little Rock, Arkansas
|Resting place||Oakland Cemetery|
|Alma mater||University 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.
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. 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.
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. 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."
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.
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". 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."