Dirksen, Everett McKinley

Dirksen, Everett McKinley dûrkˈsən [key], 1896–1969, American politician, b. Pekin, Ill. A veteran of World War I, he held minor offices in Pekin before serving in the U.S. House of Representatives (1933–49). As a Republican member of the House, Dirksen was critical of New Deal monetary and fiscal policies but supported President Franklin Delano Roosevelt's foreign policy. Elected to the Senate in 1950 and reelected in 1956, 1962, and 1968, he maintained a generally conservative position on domestic legislation. Elected Republican whip of the Senate in 1957, he became minority leader in 1959. With House minority leader Charles A. Halleck, Dirksen began (1961) to hold weekly televised news conferences to voice Republican opposition to President Kennedy's administration; these came to be known as the Ev and Charlie Shows. In 1964–65, however, he worked to secure passage of the Johnson administration's Civil Rights Bill and Voting Rights Act.

See Ev: The Man and his Words, ed. by F. Bauer (1969); biographies by N. McNeil (1970), by his wife, L. Dirksen, with N. L. Browning (1972), and E. L. and F. H. Schapsmeier (1985).

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