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Speaker of the House Michael Kerr of Indiana

March 15, 1827
Speaker of the House Michael Kerr of Indiana Collection of the U.S. House of Representatives
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Serving five terms in the House, Speaker Michael Kerr of Indiana was known for impressive oratory skills.
On this date, Speaker of the House Michael Kerr of Indiana was born. Before entering politics, Kerr taught and practiced law. Elected to the 39th Congress (1865–1867), he served five non-consecutive terms in the House of Representatives. A party stalwart, the Indiana Representative served as a Democratic floor leader. After losing re-election to the 43rd Congress (1873–1875) by a slim margin, Kerr returned in the 44th Congress (1875–1877) where he was elected Speaker of the House. A Texas newspaper, the Galveston Daily News, noted that Kerr, “was regarded with unbounded admiration by Democrats and almost universal dread and hatred by the more illiberal and unscrupulous classes of Republicans.” In a party line vote of 173 to 106, the House elected Kerr Speaker on December 6, 1875. Ill for a number of years, Kerr presided over the House until he passed away on August 19, 1876. As the Atlanta Constitution eulogized, “Being an impressive speaker, and at all times fortified with facts, he commanded the attention of the house whenever he spoke.”

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