Bridges was born in West Pembroke, Maine. He attended the public schools in Maine. He attended the University of Maine at Orono until 1918. From 1918 he held a variety of jobs, including teaching, newspaper editing, business and state government. He was an instructor at Sanderson Academy, Ashfield, Massachusetts from 1918 to 1919. He was a member of the extension staff of the University of New Hampshire at Durham from 1921 until 1922. He was the secretary of the New Hampshire Farm Bureau Federation from 1922 until 1923, and the editor of the Granite Monthly Magazine from 1924 until 1926. Meanwhile, He was the director and secretary of the New Hampshire Investment Corporation from 1924 until 1929. He was then a member of the New Hampshire Public Service Commission from 1930 until 1934.
Bridges ran for the position of governor of New Hampshire in 1934, and won, becoming the nation's youngest governor at the time, according to John Gunther's book, Inside U.S.A.. He was elected to the United States Senate in 1936, and would serve until his death in 1961. In 1937 he retired from the Army Reserve Corps, in which he had served as a Lieutenant since 1925. In 1940 he attempted to win the Republican nomination for President; the nomination was eventually won by Wendell Willkie. Bridges broke his hip on New Year's Eve 1941 and missed several months of the next Senate session.
In the Senate, John Gunther wrote, Bridges was "an aggressive reactionary on most issues...and he is pertinaciously engaged in a continual running fight with the CIO, the Roosevelt family and the Union of Soviet Socialist Republics." (Inside U.S.A., p. 471)
Bridges was reelected to four subsequent six-year terms in 1942, 1948, 1954 and again in 1960, although he did not complete his final term due to his death. He became the highest-ranking Republican senator, serving as chairman of the Joint Committee on Foreign Economic Cooperation when the Republicans had control of the Senate from 1947 until 1949, Senate Minority Leader from 1952 until 1953, President pro tempore of the United States Senate when the Republicans had control of it from 1953 until 1955, chairman of the Joint Committee on Inaugural Arrangements for both of the inaugurations of President Dwight Eisenhower, Chairman of the Committee on Appropriations when the Republicans had control of the Senate from 1947-1949 and 1953-1955, and Chairman of the Republican Policy Committee from 1954 until his death.
Part of Interstate 93 in New Hampshire is named the Styles Bridges Highway.
In 1961, after Bridges' death, his widow received six large envelopes that, per rumor, contained unreported cash contributions from lobbyists and corporations, according to Lewis L. Gould's book The Most Exclusive Club. The book cites as a reference on the charge the biography Styles Bridges: Yankee Senator, by James J. Kiepper, Phoenix Publishing (2001) ISBN 0-914659-93-6.
Bridges to the past. (News Feed).(James Kiepper speaks about his biography of former Senator Styles Bridges)(Interview)
Feb 01, 2003; The late-Sen. Styles Bridges was once among New Hamp--shire's most powerful leaders, and James Kiepper wants the state's students...