Charles Curtis (January 25, 1860 – February 8, 1936) was a Kaw-American attorney and Republican politician from Kansas, who was elected in 1928 on a ticket with Herbert Hoover, and served as the 31st vice president of the United States from 1929 to 1933.
After serving as a United States representative and being repeatedly re-elected as United States senator from Kansas, Curtis was chosen as Senate Majority Leader by his Republican colleagues.
A member of the Kaw Nation born in the Kansas Territory, Curtis was the first person with significant Native American ancestry and the first person with acknowledged non-European ancestry to reach either of the highest offices in the Federal Executive Branch.
He is the highest-ranking enrolled Native American ever to serve in the federal government.
He is the most recent Executive Branch officer to have been born in a territory rather than a state.
His mother was Native American of mixed Kaw, Osage and French ancestry.
His father was of British origin.
As an attorney, Curtis entered political life at the age of 32.
He won multiple terms from his district in Topeka, Kansas, beginning in 1892 as a Republican to the U.S.
House of Representatives.
He was elected to the US Senate first by the Kansas Legislature in 1906, and then by popular vote in 1914, 1920 and 1926.
Curtis served one six-year term from 1907 to 1913, and then most of three terms from 1915 to 1929 (after his election as vice president).
His long popularity and connections in Kansas and national politics helped make Curtis a strong leader in the Senate; he marshaled support to be elected as Senate Minority Whip from 1915 to 1925 and then as Senate Majority Leader from 1925 to 1929.
In these positions, he was instrumental in managing legislation and accomplishing Republican national goals.
Curtis ran for vice president with Herbert Hoover as President in 1928.
They won a landslide victory.
When they ran together again in 1932, during the Great Depression, the public elected Democrats Franklin D.
Roosevelt and John Nance Garner in a subsequent landslide.