Wickersham, George Woodward, 1858–1936, American lawyer and government official, b. Pittsburgh. He began law practice in Philadelphia, and after moving (1882) to New York City, he became a prominent corporation lawyer. As U.S. Attorney General (1909–13) under President Taft, he successfully prosecuted many corporations under the Sherman Antitrust Act. His book The Changing Order (1914) deals with monopolies. In 1929 he was appointed by President Hoover to head the National Commission on Law Observance and Law Enforcement, which came to be called the Wickersham Commission. It concluded in its final report of 1931 that the federal machinery for enforcing criminal law in the United States was inadequate. It found in particular that prohibition enforcement had broken down, and the majority (which did not include Wickersham) recommended revision (but not repeal) of the 18th Amendment.
The Columbia Electronic Encyclopedia, 6th ed. Copyright © 2012, Columbia University Press. All rights reserved.