Wayne Morse was a skilled, powerful speaker in debates on the issues of his time. He was a champion for many issues we continue to struggle with today: public education; civil rights and liberties; Americans’ health and well being; the public interest; worker’s rights; using diplomacy rather than military might to resolve international issues.
Morse adopted a technique of “arguing to educate” from an early mentor, U.S. Senator Robert LaFollette of Wisconsin. Whether in the Senate or back home in Oregon, he provided his audience with facts, a thorough examination of any issue and forceful argument. It proved so successful some on the opposing side of an issue said they resisted listening to his speeches or presentations fearing they would be converted and end up agreeing with him.
I happen to be one who is not nearly so interested in the question
of whether people agree with me on an issue as I am in the question of whether
they are thinking about an issue.
Wayne Morse’s words continue to educate us, offering a powerful message and, as he wished, food for thought.
In the attached PDF, we offer a few quotes from Wayne Morse.