Vivian, Weston Edward, 1924-

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Democratic U.S. Congressman from the 2nd Michigan Congressional District, 1965-1967.

From the description of Weston Edward Vivian papers, 1964-1968. (University of Michigan). WorldCat record id: 34419143

Weston E. Vivian served as United States Congressman, 1965-1966, for the Second Congressional District of southeastern Michigan. A liberal Democrat aided by the 1964 landslide election of Lyndon Johnson, Vivian won a narrow victory in the traditionally Republican 2nd district that included Lenawee, Livingston, Monroe, Washtenaw, and part of Wayne county. Vivian was defeated in his bid for reelection in 1966 and failed in an attempt to regain the office in 1968.

Vivian was born October 25, 1924 in Newfoundland, Canada. The family moved to the United States in 1929. Vivian served in the US Navy, 1943-1946, during which time he received a BS degree in engineering from Union College, Schenectady, NY, through the Navy's V-12 program. He later earned a master's degree in electrical engineering from MIT, 1949, and a Ph.D. in engineering from the University of Michigan, 1959.

Vivian worked for the Boeing Company and Sperry Gyroscope Company, 1946-1951, after which he was employed by the University of Michigan, 1951-1960, as a research engineer and lecturer. In 1960 Vivian was one of the founders of Conductron Corporation, an electrical and aeronautical engineering research and manufacturing company headquartered in Ann Arbor. Vivian served as a vice-president and member of the board of directors of Conductron from 1960 to 1964. After his election to Congress, Vivian resigned his positions with the company.

Vivian was an unsuccessful candidate for the Ann Arbor city council in 1959. He served as chairman of the Ann Arbor City Democratic Party, 196o-1962. In 1964 Vivian won the Democratic nomination for the House of Representatives in a three-way primary contest. In the general election he defeated incumbent Republican George Meader with 50.8% of the vote. Vivian, the first Ph.D. professional engineer to serve in Congress, was appointed to the Space and Astronautics Committee where his technical expertise gave him unusual influence for a freshman congressman.

Other areas of particular interest to Congressman Vivian were civil rights, civil liberties, the War on Poverty program, normalization of relations with China, and US policy in Vietnam. Vivian was a strong supporter of the 1965 Voting Rights Act and the 1966 civil rights bill. He was one of the sponsors of the House resolution challenging the seating of the Mississippi congressional delegation in favor of the candidates of the Mississippi Freedom Democratic Party. He also served as one of the congressional observers during the civil rights demonstrations in Selma, Alabama. Originally a supporter of President Johnson's policy in Vietnam, Vivian gradually developed increasing reservations about the US role in the war, eventually favoring a gradual US military withdrawal from Vietnam. Vivian broke with the Johnson administration on the issue in 1968 and organized the Robert Kennedy for President Committee of Washtenaw County.

Vivian was among the vulnerable Democratic congressmen targeted for defeat by the Republican Party in 1966. He was narrowly defeated by Marvin Esch in the general election that also included a write-in campaign for "peace-candidate" Elise Boulding. Vivian attempted to regain the 2nd district congressional seat in 1968. He defeated Jerry Dupont in the Democratic primary but again lost to Esch in the general election.

From the guide to the Weston E. Vivian Papers, 1964-1968, (Bentley Historical Library University of Michigan)

Archival Resources
Role Title Holding Repository
creatorOf Junior Achievement of Southeastern Michigan. Junior Achievement of Southeastern Michigan records, 1949-1966. Bentley Historical Library
creatorOf Weston E. Vivian Papers, 1964-1968 Bentley Historical Library
creatorOf Sawyer, Ralph A. (Ralph Alanson), 1895-1978. Ralph A. Sawyer papers, 1918-1978. Bentley Historical Library
referencedIn Ralph A. Sawyer Papers, 1918-1978 Bentley Historical Library
creatorOf Vivian, Weston Edward, 1924-. Weston Edward Vivian papers, 1964-1968. Bentley Historical Library
referencedIn Margaret Bayne Price Papers, 1918-1969, 1947-1968 Bentley Historical Library
referencedIn George W. Pray Papers, 1844-1890 Bentley Historical Library
Role Title Holding Repository
Relation Name
associatedWith Democratic Party (Mich.) corporateBody
associatedWith Humphrey, Hubert H. (Hubert Horatio), 1911-1978 person
associatedWith Junior Achievement of Southeastern Michigan. corporateBody
associatedWith Kennedy, Edward Moore, 1932- person
associatedWith Kennedy, Robert F., 1925-1968 person
associatedWith Peterson, Esther, 1906- person
associatedWith Pray, George Washington, 1825-1890 person
associatedWith Price, Margaret Bayne, 1912-1968 person
associatedWith Sawyer, Ralph A. (Ralph Alanson), 1895-1978. person
associatedWith United States. Congress corporateBody
associatedWith United States. Congress. House. corporateBody
associatedWith United States. National Aeronautics and Space Administration. corporateBody
associatedWith Vivian family. family
Place Name Admin Code Country
United States
Monroe (Mich.)
Civil rights
Civil rights
Politics and government
Head Start Program
Political elections
Political elections
Space flight
Vietnamese Conflict, 1961-1975
Vietnam War, 1961-1975


Birth 1924

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SNAC ID: 9180779