Samuel Taliaferro Rayburn represented Texas in the US House of Representatives from 1913-1961, three times serving as Speaker of the House. For perspective, he was in the House for every president from Woodrow Wilson to John F. Kennedy, a span of forty-eight years. Another way to look at Mr. Sam's length of service is that he was elected to office before World War I and served until after the United States sent Alan B. Shepard into space in May, 1961. Wow!
In doing a write-up of a man like Sam Rayburn, it would take hours for me just to look up the man's accomplishments. In lieu of that, I'll link to a couple of pretty dang good sources that detail much of Speaker Rayburn's life, private and public. I first went to famoustexans.com and came up with a nice piece. It's a long but very informative article, so make sure you have a few minutes to spare before diving in. And, of course, there's the old stand by, Wikipedia.
As you can see from those two resources, Sam Rayburn was a powerful man in American politics for almost half a century. Few, if any, men or women have had such a profound influence on the policies affecting every day Americans for such an extended period of time as Mr. Sam. I think it's safe to say that Samuel Taliaferro Rayburn earned every tribute paid to him and then some. Hit that link and scroll down to see some of the honors bestowed upon this great man.
Mr. Sam. A great American. A great Texan.