Everett Dirksen Quotes

I stick by my principles, and one of my principles is flexibility.

Without Dirksen’s support, LBJ could not have passed the Civil Rights Act of 1964, ending legal segregation. However, the conservative wing of the Republican Party had strongly opposed the idea of the Federal Government using its power to control and regulate issues that involved local practice and custom and trampled on states’ rights. Dirksen, who personally was not a racist like many conservatives were at the time, faced the dilemma and came down on the side of ending legal discrimination even if it meant violating the principle of limited federal government. When asked about his seeming inconsistency (which was often), this was his brilliant response. Producing one of the best political quotations of all time.

Everett Dirksen, 1896-1969, U.S. Congressman (Republican, IL), U.S. Senate Minority Leader, (Republican, IL), Quoted in the Miami Herald, September 9, 1969

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Everett Dirksen
Everett Dirksen
  • Born: January 4, 1896
  • Died: September 7, 1969
  • Nationality: American
  • Profession: Politician

Everett McKinley Dirksen was an American politician of the Republican Party. He represented Illinois in the United States House of Representatives and the United States Senate. As Senate Minority Leader from 1959 to 1969, he played a highly visible and key role in the politics of the 1960s. He helped write and pass the Civil Rights Act of 1964 and the Civil Rights Act of 1968, both landmark pieces of legislation during the Civil Rights Movement. He was also one of the Senate's strongest supporters of the Vietnam War. A talented orator with a florid style and a notably rich baritone voice, his flamboyant speeches caused his detractors to refer to him as "The Wizard of Ooze".

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