American Scene: McCormack: A Symbol Retires

THE day in 1962 when John William McCormack took the gavel in the U.S. House of Representatives was the fulfillment of a lifetime of labor and dreams. An Irish striver who had supported his fatherless family and raised himself from the meanest poverty of South Boston, he was the first Roman Catholic ever elected Speaker. He had worked and waited with loyalty and patience under the patronage and shadow of Sam Rayburn for more than three decades. Finally he achieved the rostrum once held by Clay and Cannon, Clark and Longworth.

Then something happened,...

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