Cockran, William Bourke (kŏkˈrən) [key], 1854–1923, American political leader, b. Co. Sligo, Ireland. He emigrated to New York City at the age of 17 and in 1876 was admitted to the bar. At first opposed to Tammany Hall, W. Bourke Cockran later joined (1883) the organization, although he subsequently remained independent in action. He supported the gold standard and William McKinley in 1896, anti-imperialism and William Jennings Bryan in 1900, and Theodore Roosevelt's Bull Moose ticket in 1912. As a member (1887–89, 1891–95, 1904–9, and 1921–23) of the U.S. House of Representatives, Cockran was a supporter of organized labor and an opponent of restrictions on immigration. He defended Thomas J. Mooney in 1918.
See biography by J. McGurrin (1948, repr. 1972).