Science Fair Project Encyclopedia
Tom C. Rye
Rye was a Democrat and an attorney who had been admitted to the bar at age 21. He defeated incumbent Ben W. Hooper's bid for reelection in 1914. Rye was a supporter of Prohibition. He was governor of Tennessee during the U.S. participation in World War I, in which approximately 80,000 Tennesseans served. He promoted the so-called "Ouster Law" which provided for officials who refused to enforce laws to be removed from office. This law was aimed especially at Memphis mayor and political "boss" E. H. Crump, who was known not to enforce Prohibition laws. Crump was removed from office, but not from influence, and eventually came to prefer running things through surrogates from behind the scenes to holding elected office himself.
Rye was governor during the United States' entry into World War I. Over 80,000 Tennesseans entered the United States Armed Forces, and more of them were deployed overseas than ever before in Tennessee history. The number of Tennesseans was the most ever serving actively in the military up to that time except for the number serving in Confederate forces during the Civil war.
Besides considerable other governmental reorganization, Rye's administration created the first state highway department and a board to oversee charitable institutions, as well as a State Board of Education. He returned to the practice of law after his terms as governor.
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