We are independent & ad-supported. We may earn a commission for purchases made through our links.
Advertiser Disclosure
Our website is an independent, advertising-supported platform. We provide our content free of charge to our readers, and to keep it that way, we rely on revenue generated through advertisements and affiliate partnerships. This means that when you click on certain links on our site and make a purchase, we may earn a commission. Learn more.
How We Make Money
We sustain our operations through affiliate commissions and advertising. If you click on an affiliate link and make a purchase, we may receive a commission from the merchant at no additional cost to you. We also display advertisements on our website, which help generate revenue to support our work and keep our content free for readers. Our editorial team operates independently of our advertising and affiliate partnerships to ensure that our content remains unbiased and focused on providing you with the best information and recommendations based on thorough research and honest evaluations. To remain transparent, we’ve provided a list of our current affiliate partners here.

What Were Some of the Longest Filibusters in the US Senate?

By Josie Myers
Updated May 17, 2024
Our promise to you
America Explained is dedicated to creating trustworthy, high-quality content that always prioritizes transparency, integrity, and inclusivity above all else. Our ensure that our content creation and review process includes rigorous fact-checking, evidence-based, and continual updates to ensure accuracy and reliability.

Our Promise to you

Founded in 2002, our company has been a trusted resource for readers seeking informative and engaging content. Our dedication to quality remains unwavering—and will never change. We follow a strict editorial policy, ensuring that our content is authored by highly qualified professionals and edited by subject matter experts. This guarantees that everything we publish is objective, accurate, and trustworthy.

Over the years, we've refined our approach to cover a wide range of topics, providing readers with reliable and practical advice to enhance their knowledge and skills. That's why millions of readers turn to us each year. Join us in celebrating the joy of learning, guided by standards you can trust.

Editorial Standards

At America Explained, we are committed to creating content that you can trust. Our editorial process is designed to ensure that every piece of content we publish is accurate, reliable, and informative.

Our team of experienced writers and editors follows a strict set of guidelines to ensure the highest quality content. We conduct thorough research, fact-check all information, and rely on credible sources to back up our claims. Our content is reviewed by subject-matter experts to ensure accuracy and clarity.

We believe in transparency and maintain editorial independence from our advertisers. Our team does not receive direct compensation from advertisers, allowing us to create unbiased content that prioritizes your interests.

A filibuster is an attempt to delay or stop the vote on an issue within a legislative body. In the United States Senate, the person opposed to a bill is allowed to speak indefinitely on any topic unless 60 members of the Senate bring a motion to stop them, a process known as "cloture." The point of a filibuster is to postpone a vote long enough to raise public awareness of the bill, thereby garnering support and forcing the legislators' hands to the people's will. The longest filibusters sometimes require cots and other materials to be brought in for the attending Senators.

Topping the list of the longest filibusters in US history is one by South Carolina Senator, Strom Thurmond, on 28 August 1957, beginning at 8:54 p.m. He argued against the Civil Rights Act for a record 24 hours and 18 minutes. Reports say that he had a large steak dinner beforehand to maintain energy, and took a steam bath to vent liquids so he could avoid using the lavatory during the process. Thurmond told no one of his plan, and hoped to incite fellow Southerners to sway their Senators' votes. The filibuster was unsuccessful, as no senator changed their vote following the event. As of 2009, this 52 year old event still tops the list of the longest filibusters.

Oregon’s Wayne Morse had another of the longest filibusters when he spoke against Tidelands Oil Legislation on 24 April 1953. Senator Morse was most known for leaving the Republican Party following Richard Nixon's appointment as Dwight Eisenhower's running mate. He reportedly came to the Senate the following day with a folding chair, and the words: "Since I haven't been given any seat in the new Senate, I decided to bring my own." His filibuster on the Tidelands Oil Legislation, which gave offshore rights to states, was only one of the many areas he was known to be contentious on. In historical references, he was often referred to as the original "maverick". His filibuster, then the longest in history, lasted 22 hours and 26 minutes.

Number three in the list of the longest filibusters in US history - is Louisiana’s Huey Long on 12 June 1935. Senator Long has been called the “master of the Senate filibuster.” His longest attempt was delivered to continue requiring Senate confirmation for senior employees of the National Recovery Administration. When he began to run out of words, he suggested that those in the Senate ask questions. When no one took him up on the offer, the press began to send in questions. After these questions stopped coming, he offered recipes for fried oysters and "potlikkers" before finally yielding after 15 hours and 30 minutes of continuous speech.

America Explained is dedicated to providing accurate and trustworthy information. We carefully select reputable sources and employ a rigorous fact-checking process to maintain the highest standards. To learn more about our commitment to accuracy, read our editorial process.
Discussion Comments
By Moldova — On Nov 02, 2010

Sunny27-A filibuster is a congressional tactic that those in the Senate use when they want to avoid or delay the voting of a piece of legislation.

The Senate talks ad nauseum in efforts to make the other side want to throw in the towel and give up. This is the filibuster definition and we only happen to see this action when the legislation has a high level of opposition. A filibuster senate is sometimes the only political tactic that a minority party has in the Senate. In this case it is the Republicans because they do not have the votes to stop the legislation.

By Sunny27 — On Nov 02, 2010

The longest filibuster in senate history occurred in August 29, 1957. The filibuster lasted slightly over twenty-four hours.

Strom Thurmond was against the Civil Rights bill and by creating the longest filibuster, he was hoping to tire so many of the senators out that they would give up and not vote for the Civil Right legislation.

This was really the longest filibuster in American history.

America Explained, in your inbox

Our latest articles, guides, and more, delivered daily.

America Explained, in your inbox

Our latest articles, guides, and more, delivered daily.