Dirksen, Everett McKinley

born Jan. 4, 1896, Pekin, Ill., U.S.
died Sept. 7, 1969, Washington, D.C.

U.S. politician.

After serving in World War I, he returned to Illinois to pursue business interests. He served in the U.S. House of Representatives (1932–48), where he voted against most New Deal measures and remained an isolationist until the U.S. entered World War II. He later served in the U.S. Senate (1950–69), becoming minority leader in 1959. He was noted for his oratorical style. Though a conservative, he helped secure passage of the Nuclear Test Ban Treaty, the Civil Rights Act, and the Voting Rights Act.

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▪ United States senator
born Jan. 4, 1896, Pekin, Ill., U.S.
died Sept. 7, 1969, Washington, D.C.

      U.S. politician and leader of the Senate Republicans during the administrations of John F. Kennedy and Lyndon B. Johnson.

      Dirksen attended the University of Minnesota, left before graduating to serve in World War I, and, after his discharge, returned to Pekin, where he pursued a number of business interests. In 1926, with his election to the office of city finance commissioner in Pekin, Dirksen began what was to become a lifelong career in public service. Defeated in 1930 in his bid for a congressional seat, he ran again in 1932 and won. A conservative Republican, Dirksen voted against most New Deal measures—except Social Security. He also opposed Roosevelt's foreign policy, adhering to an isolationist stance. In a foreshadowing of his later moderation and flexibility, however, Dirksen switched to bipartisan support of presidential foreign policy with U.S. entry into World War II.

      A severe eye ailment forced Dirksen to resign his House seat in 1948. He returned to Pekin to practice law, having gained admittance to the bar by examination while serving in Congress. By 1950 his health was fully restored, and he ran successfully for a seat in the Senate. Throughout the 1950s, Dirksen belonged to the so-called old guard conservative wing of the Republican Party. He backed Sen. Robert A. Taft for the 1952 presidential nomination, and he supported the anti-Communist crusade of Joseph R. McCarthy until the Wisconsin senator was discredited in the middle of the decade.

      Elected minority leader of the Senate in 1959, Dirksen continued to voice support for several conservative policies, including the permitting of prayer in public schools. He played a crucial role in securing passage of major pieces of legislation in the 1960s: the Nuclear Test Ban Treaty, the Civil Rights Act of 1964, and the Voting Rights Act of 1965.

      In his constituency, in the Senate, and through the medium of television, Dirksen became something of a folk hero for his rich bass voice and imposing oratorical style, attributes for which his critics dubbed him “the wizard of ooze.” He won his last election in 1968 and served in the Senate until his death the following year.

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Universalium. 2010.

Look at other dictionaries:

  • Dirksen,Everett McKinley — Dirk·sen (dûrkʹsən), Everett McKinley. 1896 1969. American politician who represented Illinois in the U.S. Congress (1933 1969) and was known for his flamboyant oratory. * * * …   Universalium

  • Dirksen, Everett McKinley — (4 ene. 1896, Pekin, Ill., EE.UU.–7 sep. 1969, Washington, D.C.). Político estadounidense. Luego de prestar servicios en la primera guerra mundial, regresó a Illinois como hombre de empresa. Se desempeñó en la Cámara de Representantes (1932–48),… …   Enciclopedia Universal

  • Everett McKinley Dirksen United States Courthouse — Illustration of the Dirksen Federal Building. General information Architectural style international style …   Wikipedia

  • Everett Dirksen — Everett McKinley Dirksen United States Senator from Illinois In office January 3, 1951 – September 7, 1969 Preceded by Scott W. Lucas …   Wikipedia

  • McKinley — McKinley, William ► Pico culminante de América del Norte, en el centro S de Alaska (E.U.A.); 6 194 m. * * * (as used in expressions) Dirksen, Everett McKinley McKinley, monte McKinley, William McKinley Morganfield …   Enciclopedia Universal

  • Everett — /ev euhr it, ev rit/, n. 1. Edward, 1794 1865, U.S. statesman, orator, and writer. 2. a seaport in NW Washington on Puget Sound. 54,413. 3. a city in E Massachusetts, near Boston. 37,195. 4. a male given name. * * * (as used in expressions)… …   Universalium

  • Everett — (as used in expressions) (Everett) LeRoi Jones Burnside, Ambrose (Everett) Dirksen, Everett McKinley Graham, Otto (Everett, Jr.) Hooper, Horace Everett Millais, Sir John Everett …   Enciclopedia Universal

  • McKinley — /meuh kin lee/, n. 1. William, 1843 1901, 25th president of the U.S. 1897 1901. 2. Mount, a mountain in central Alaska: highest peak in North America, 20,320 ft. (6194 m). * * * (as used in expressions) Dirksen Everett McKinley McKinley Mount… …   Universalium

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  • Dirksen Federal Building — The Everett McKinley Dirksen Federal Courthouse is a skyscraper in downtown Chicago, Illinois. It was designed by Ludwig Mies van der Rohe and completed in 1964. The building is 384 feet (117 m) tall, with 30 floors; it was named for U.S.… …   Wikipedia

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