James Byrnes
Historical Figure
Nationality: United States
Date of Birth: 1879
Date of Death: 1972
Cause of Death: Natural causes
Religion: Episcopalianism (converted from Catholicism)
Occupation: Lawyer, Politician, Author of Non-Fiction
Spouse: Maude Perkins Busch
Children: None
Political Party: Democratic Party, later Republican Party
Political Office(s): United States Representative from South Carolina (1911-25)
United States Senator from South Carolina (1931-41)
U.S. Secretary of State (1945-47)
Governor of South Carolina (1951-1955)
Fictional Appearances:
The Man With the Iron Heart
POD: May 29, 1942;
Relevant POD: May, 1945
Type of Appearance: Direct
Political Office(s): U.S. Secretary of State

James Francis Byrnes (May 2, 1879 - April 9, 1972) was an American statesman from the state of South Carolina. During his career, Byrnes served as a member of the House of Representatives (1911–1925), as a Senator (1931–1941), as Justice of the Supreme Court (1941–1942), as Director of the Office of Economic Stabilization (1942-1943), as Director of the Office of War Mobilization (1943-1945), as Secretary of State (1945–1947), and as Governor of South Carolina (1951–1955). He therefore became one of very few politicians to be active in all three branches of the federal government while also being active in state government. He was also a confidant of Presidents Woodrow Wilson, Franklin D. Roosevelt, and Richard Nixon, and was one of the most powerful men in American domestic and foreign policy in the mid-1940s. During Roosevelt's third term Byrnes was often referred to informally as the Assistant President.

James Byrnes in The Man With the Iron Heart[]

Secretary of State James Byrnes made a point of visiting Indianapolis, Indiana to promote the Truman Administration's foreign policy, including the continued occupation of Germany. His choice of the Indiana National Guard Armory was no accident--occupation opponent Diana McGraw hailed from nearby Anderson, Indiana.[1]

Byrnes spoke before a closed audience, and his meeting had not been announced in the papers or on the radio. McGraw and her allies protested outside, while Byrnes' speech was broadcast over loudspeakers.[2] After the speech, Byrnes went out to speak to the protesters. One woman, claiming that Byrnes had American blood on his hands, smeared red paint on his jacket. She was arrested, and the police immediately ordered McGraw to move her people out or they'd be arrested for conspiracy.[3]

Nevertheless, McGraw had to admit that Byrnes could hold his listeners spellbound, as if he had the persuasive powers of The Phantom of the Opera.[4]


  1. The Man With the Iron Heart, pg. 244, HC.
  2. Ibid., pgs. 244-247.
  3. Ibid., pg. 248-249.
  4. Ibid. pg. 248.