Joseph L. Bristow (July 22, 1861-July 14, 1944) was an American politician from Kansas.
Born outside Hazel Green, Kentucky, he moved to Kansas when he was twelve. He graduated from Baker University when he was 25.
He edited several newspapers in Salina, Kansas before serving as a private secretary to Governor Edmund Morrill. He was President McKinley's fourth asssisstant postmaster general.
Bristow was elected to the U.S. Senate in 1908 and served from 1909 to 1915. Bristow is perhaps best known for provoking a sarcastic comment from Vice President Thomas R. Marshall. One day while Bristow was delivering a speech in the Senate on "what this country needs", Marshall whispered loudly enough for most of the chamber to hear, "What this country really needs is a good five-cent cigar."
Bristow was defeated in his 1914 re-election bid. He spent the rest of his days farming his Virgina estate, "Ossian Hall". When he died in 1944, his body was returned to Kansas for burial next to his wife Margaret in Salina's Gypsum Hill Cemetery.