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Charles Curtis (January 25, 1860February 8, 1936) was a Representative and a Senator from Kansas and the thirty-first Vice President of the United States. He was of 1/2 American Indian ancestry, spent part of his early life on a Kaw reservation, and was the first (and as of 2002 still the only) person with acknowledged non-European ancestors to reach either of the two highest offices in the United States.
Curtis was born in Topeka, Kansas, and was admitted to the bar in 1881 and commenced practice in Topeka. He was prosecuting attorney of Shawnee County, Kansas from 1885 to 1889. He was elected as a Republican to the Fifty-third and to the six succeeding Congresses and served from March 4, 1893 until January 28, 1907, when he resigned, having been elected Senator. He was Chairman of the Committee on Expenditures in the Department of the Interior. He had been reelected to the Sixtieth Congress, but on January 23, 1907, was elected to the United States Senate as a Republican to fill the vacancy in the term ending March 3, 1907, caused by the resignation of Joseph R. Burton, and on the same day was elected for the full Senate term commencing March 4, 1907, and served from January 29, 1907, to March 3, 1913. He was an unsuccessful candidate for reelection in 1912. Curtis served as President pro tempore of the United States Senate during the Sixty-second Congress. He was Chairman of the Committee on Indian Depredations, the Committee on Coast Defenses, and the Republican Conference. Again elected to the United States Senate for the term commencing March 4, 1915, he was reelected in 1920 and 1926 and served from March 4, 1915, until his resignation on March 3, 1929, having been elected Vice President. He was Republican whip from 1915 to 1924 and majority leader from 1925 to 1929. He was elected Vice President on the Republican ticket headed by Herbert Hoover in 1928, and was inaugurated on March 4, 1929, and served until March 3, 1933. He was an unsuccessful candidate for reelection in 1932 for Vice President.
Curtis resumed the practice of law in Washington, D.C, where he died. He was intered in Topeka Cemetery, Topeka, Kansas.
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