Fred Schwengel's belief in the importance of a
comprehensive liberal education
was demonstrated from
an early age as he left home to work his way through high school.
Influenced by individuals such as former
President Harry S Truman
Schwengel was inspired to not only
as an educator in the fields of history and political science, but also
to lead an active political life filled with service to his fellow man.
Frederick Delbert Schwengel was born to Gerhardt and Margaret Schwengel
in Franklin County Iowa on May 28, 1906.
His early education was primarily rural; after attending a school in
West Fork Township, Schwengel left home to further his education,
graduating from Sheffield High School in 1926.
An alumnus from Northeast Missouri State Teachers College, Schwengel
graduated from that institution on May 23, 1930
with a Bachelor of Science in Education.
While in college, Schwengel's actions were those indicative of a man who
applauded a liberal arts education--in addition to regular coursework,
he was active in numerous clubs and organizations, including:
Athletics: Track & Field, Football
Greek Life: Phi Sigma
Epsilon (founding member), Interfraternity Council
Blue Key, Student Council, Historical Society, Dramatic Club
Photographs during Schwengel's
college years show a different spelling of his last name than what
he used later in life; while this was an intentional change made by
Schwengel, no one knows exactly why or when this change occurred.
In 1983, Schwengel was inducted into the Truman Athletics Hall of Fame
for his contributions to those sports he participated in while a
Clara Ethel Cassity in college and they were married shortly
after graduation on August 15, 1931. A man who valued his family
greatly, Schwengel had, at the time of his death, two children, five
grandchildren, and one great-grandchild.
Early Professional Life
After graduation, Schwengel remained in Northeast
Missouri for a period of approximately seven years, serving as an
educator in northeast Missouri (1930-1937), first as an instructor of
history, political science, and athletics coach in Shelbina, Mo.
(1930-1932) and then as a coach and superintendent of physical education
in the Kirksville Public Schools (1932-1937).
Returning to his native Iowa in 1937, Schwengel began work in the
insurance business, eventually establishing a career with the American
Mutual Life Insurance Company.
A strong Republican, Schwengel was first elected to the Iowa House of
Representatives in 1945. He was to serve five consecutive terms in
this office (1945-1955), before being elected as a Representative in the
U.S. Congress, a tenure which lasted eight terms (1955-1965; 1967-1973).
Schwengel's general political philosophy is said to be thus: "I believe
that moderation is a virtue--especially in a democracy of contending
interests--and that extremism is a divisive vice ... I have come to the
conclusion that moderation is to be recommended above all political
philosophies because it alone recognizes the common fate and aspiration
of all human beings; it alone understands the influence that drive
people to extremes; and finally, moderation alone respects the
sacredness of humanity."
Championing education, civil rights, soil and conservation programs, and
separation of church and state, Schwengel served on a variety of
committees while an elected representative, including (in the Iowa
House): School Textbook and Insurance Committees, Committee on
Interstate Cooperation, Iowa Development Commission, and as a
representative to the Council of State Governments. In the US
House of Representatives, Schwengel served on the Public Works
Committee, District of Columbia and House Administration, Republican
Task Force on Minority Staffing, and the Wednesday Group.
To help honor Abraham Lincoln, Schwengel
additionally served on the Lincoln Sesquicentennial Commission and the
US Civil War Centennial Commission.
Mason (33rd Degree)
US Capitol Historical Society (Founder & President)
Republican Heritage Foundation (Founder & President)
Missouri National Guard (1929-1936)
First Baptist Church
Adair County MO Young Republican's Club
Junior Chamber of Commerce (President)
Boy Scouts of America
YMCA (Board Member)
Community Chest (Board Member)
Schwengel, Frederick. 100
Years of Masons in Davenport: History of the Blue Lodge in Davenport.
[S.I.]: Fred G. Edwards,
Schwengel, Frederick. Lest
We Forget: John J. Pershing, General of the Armies.
[Laclede, Mo.]: Pershing Park Memorial
Schwengel, Frederick. The
Republican Party: its heritage and history.
Washington, D.C.: Acropolis Books, 1987.
In addition to authoring
several publications, Schwengel also supported many publications of the
U.S. Capitol Historical Society, whose goal was to share the history of
the US Capitol with its people:
Aikman, Lonnelle. We the People: The Story of the United
Washington, D.C.: United States Capitol Historical Society, 1985.
Kennon, Donald R. and Richard Striner. Washington, Past and
Washington, D.C.: United States Capitol Historical Society, 1983.
U.S. Capitol Historical Society.
A Place of Resounding Deeds. Washington, D.C.: The
Society: Bishop & Associates, 1988.
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Copyright © 1996-2010
by Truman State
Kirksville, Missouri. All Rights Reserved.
Last Modified 07 April 2010