Robert Low Bacon
|Member of the U.S. House of Representatives|
from New York's 1st district
March 4, 1923 – September 12, 1938
|Frederick C. Hicks|
|Leonard W. Hall|
|Born||July 23, 1884|
Jamaica Plain, Massachusetts, U.S.
|Died||September 12, 1938 (aged 54)|
Lake Success, New York, U.S.
|Spouse(s)||Virginia Murray Bacon|
|Alma mater||Harvard University|
Harvard Law School
|Profession||Politician, banker, lawyer, military officer|
|Branch/service|| United States Army|
U.S. Officers' Reserve Corps
|Battles/wars||World War I|
|Awards||Distinguished Service Medal|
Robert Low Bacon (July 23, 1884 - September 12, 1938) was an American politician, a banker and military officer. He served as a congressman from New York from 1923 until his death in 1938. He is known as one of the authors of the Davis-Bacon Act of 1931, which regulates wages for employees on federal projects.
Born in Jamaica Plain, Massachusetts, the son of Martha Waldron Cowdin and future Secretary of State Robert Bacon, he received a common school education as a child. He went on to graduate from Harvard University in 1907 and from Harvard Law School in 1910.
Bacon attended the business men's training camp at Plattsburgh in 1915, and served on the Texas border with the New York National Guard in 1916 at the Texas border. During World War I, he served with the Field Artillery, United States Army from April 24, 1917, to January 2, 1919. He attained the rank of major and was awarded the Distinguished Service Medal. Commissioned in the United States Officers' Reserve Corps with the rank of lieutenant colonel in 1919, he was promoted to colonel in January 1923 and served until his death.
Bacon was a delegate to the Republican National Convention in Chicago, Illinois in 1920. In 1922, after Frederick C. Hicks declines to seek another term, Bacon stepped into the race. His opponent was fellow Long Islander, S.A. Warner Baltazzi, whom he defeated in the fall. He entered Congress as a "wet", someone who did not support prohibition while still continuing his military career in the Officers' Reserve Corps during his years in the House of Representatives.
He faced no significant opposition over his career with the 1932 election possibly being his greatest challenge. That year, he faced Cornelius Vanderbilt Whitney another wealthy member of Long Island society in a race that pitted Bacon against the landslide victory of Franklin D. Roosevelt. Both men belonged to many of the same private clubs and the race became bitter, with Bacon prevailing.
Bacon's longest lasting political achievement may be the Davis-Bacon Act of 1931 which remain in force, with amendments. Bacon introduced similar legislation for many years and succeeded in securing passage after workings on depression-era federal spending projects found that jobs were going to cheaper workers from other areas.
Bacon was a supporter of the repeal of prohibition and introduced a proposal to amend the 18th amendment to allow states to regulate alcohol. This amendment failed; but prohibition was ultimately repealed in 1933.
Bacon's brother, Gaspar G. Bacon was the President of the Massachusetts Senate from 1929-32 and Lieutenant Governor of Massachusetts from 1933-1935. His nephew was the actor Gaspar G. Bacon, Jr. better known as David Bacon.