Joseph Taylor Robinson, the son of a farmer, was born in Lonoke County, Arkansas, on 26th August, 1872. After graduating from the University of Arkansas he entered the law department of the University of Virginia and was admitted to the bar in 1895.
Robinson worked as a lawyer in Lonoke, Arkansas. A member of the Democratic Party, he was elected to the 58th Congress in 1902. He held his seat until resigning to become Governor of Arkansas in January 1913. After only three months as governor he was elected to the Senate.
Robinson was minority leader (1923-1933) and was chairman of the Committee on Public Lands. Alfred Smith chose Robinson as his vice presidential candidate in 1928. However, Herbert Hoover, the Republican Party candidate, won with 21,391,381 votes to 15,016,443.
In 1933 Robinson became majority leader and this brought him into conflict with Huey Long. Robinson opposed Long's Share Our Wealth campaign. Long responded by claiming that Robinson was under the control of big business. Accused of corruption, Robinson had on a couple of occasions to be physically restrained from assaulting Long on the Senate floor.
During his period in the Senate he was chairman of the Committee on Expenditures in the Treasury Department and served on the Committee on Claims. Joseph Taylor Robinson died in Washington on 14th July, 1937.