The 7 longest-serving Speakers of the U.S. House of Representatives

President Reagan Meets With Members Of Congress At 815 Am This

The Speaker of the House is second-in-line of succession to the presidency after the Vice President. They are also the lead officer of the House of Representatives. Anyone can be elected to this position, not just members of the House. They are normally the leader of the majority party, but the Speaker is elected by all 435 representatives.

Here are the 7 longest-serving Speakers:


Los Angeles California Speaker Of The House Sam Rayburn Of TexLos Angeles California Speaker Of The House Sam Rayburn Of Tex

Sam Rayburn - Democratic Party (1940-47, 1955-61) 

Sam Rayburn is the longest Speaker of the House of Representatives in US history, having served from 1940-47 and again in 1955-61. He was known affectionately as 'Mr. Sam.' Rayburn exerted his influence through humour and skillful persuasion. He was successful in expanding the House Rules Committee's membership in 1961, which paved the way for significant social legislation. Following his death in 1961, the New York Times' editors concluded 'it is as though a part of the Capitol had fallen down.'

Tip O'NeillTip O'Neill

Tip O'Neill - Democratic Party - Democratic Party (1977-1987) 

After succeeding Carl Albert as Speaker of the House of Representatives in 1977, Tip O'Neill would enjoy a long career as Speaker that lasted until 1987. He developed a friendly relationship with President Jimmy Carter and helped the President pass his energy package and a bill that created the Department of Education. One of his most significant achievements was a strong code of ethics for House members.

When Ronald Reagan won the 1980 Presidential election and the Republicans gained control of the Senate in the same year, O'Neill prevented Democrats from agreeing to a bipartisan compromise on Social Security, keeping the issue alive for the upcoming Congressional elections. The Democrats' strong performance in 1982 was seen to justify his strategy. Reagan thus had to be more accommodating towards the Speaker. O'Neill was rated as one of the strongest speakers in US history.

John W. McCormack - Democratic Party (1962-71) 

McCormack passed the bar examination at the age of 21 before serving two years in the Massachusetts House of Representatives. He later served three years in the state Senate. He was elected to the US House of Representatives in 1928. McCormack had a long career in the House, serving for 42 years. He became House Majority Leader in 1940 and succeeded Sam Rayburn as Speaker of the House from 1962-1971. A gifted debater and loyal Democrat, McCormack opposed Communism and defended US participation in the Vietnam War. He also supported civil rights bills, anti-poverty programmes and wage-and-hour legislation.

Joseph Gurney Cannon - Republican Party (1903-11) 

The second-longest continuously serving Republican Speaker of the House of Representatives in American history, Cannon was a US politician from Illinois. He acted as Speaker from 1903-1911. Cannon exercised considerable control over debates, making him the most dominant Speaker in US history to date. He was also the longest-serving Republican Representative ever, and the first member of Congress, to exceed 40 years of service- a record broken in 1959 by Strom Thurmond. Unlike Thurmond, who defected to the Republicans in 1964, he never changed allegiance.

Champ Clark - Democratic Party (1911-1919) 

Champ Clark, by the name of James Beauchamp Clark, served as Speaker of the House from 1911-1919. He narrowly lost the Presidential nomination to Woodrow Wilson during the 1912 Democratic Convention. He also served as a member of the Rules Committee and as Democratic floor leader. Clark revolted against his predecessor, Joseph G. Cannon, for his commanding control of the House.

Former House Speaker Dennis Hastert leaves the Dirksen Federal Court House in a wheelchair after his sentencing on April 27, 2016 in Chicago, Illinois. Hastert was sentenced to 15 months...Former House Speaker Dennis Hastert leaves the Dirksen Federal Court House in a wheelchair after his sentencing on April 27, 2016 in Chicago, Illinois. Hastert was sentenced to 15 months...

Dennis Hastert - Republican Party (1999-2007) 

From 1965-1981, Hastert was a coach and high school teacher at Yorkville High School in Illinois. Prior to his election to the US House of Representatives in 1986, he served as a member of the Illinois House of Representatives from 1981-1986. Hastert was Chief Deputy Whip and then Speaker of the House from 1999-2007. He resigned from the House and became a lobbyist for the firm of Dickstein Shapiro following the Democrats' victory in the 2006 election. 

Andrew Stevenson - Democratic Party (1827-1834) 

Stevenson was a member of the Virginia House of Delegates from 1809 to 1816 and 1818 to 1821. He served as Speaker of the House of Delegates from 1812 to 1815. Despite failing to win a seat in Congress in 1814 and 1816, he won a seat in the House of Representatives in 1820 and resigned in 1834. From 1827-1834, he spent seven years as Speaker of the House of Representatives.

President Andrew Jackson attempted to appoint him as Minister to the United Kingdom in 1834, but the Senate blocked his appointment by a vote of 23 to 22. Jackson renominated Stevenson in 1836 to the same role and this time he was confirmed. He retired as Minister to the United Kingdom in 1841.

 

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