Tip O'Neill

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Tip O'Neill, 1978
United States President Gerald Ford with O'Neill at a meeting at the White House on February 6, 1975
O'Neill with Nancy Pelosi , Speaker of the US House of Representatives from 2007 to 2011 and since 2019

Thomas Phillip "Tip" O'Neill Junior (* 9. December 1912 in Cambridge , Massachusetts ; † 5. January 1994 in Boston , Massachusetts) was an American politician of the Democratic Party , a member of the House of Representatives of the United States of Massachusetts and spokesman of the House of Representatives .


Member of Parliament and promotion to Democratic Majority Leader

After attending St. John's High School , he studied at Boston College between 1931 and 1936 . He then worked as a real estate and insurance broker. At the same time, however, he also began his political career with the election to the House of Representatives from Massachusetts , to which he was a member from 1936 to 1952. Most recently, between 1949 and 1952, as the successor to Frederick Willis, he was also the speaker and this Chamber of Parliament. In the meantime he was a member of the Cambridge School Committee from 1946 to 1947 .

After retiring from the Massachusetts House of Representatives, Tip O'Neill began his long career in federal politics with his first election as a Democratic candidate for the US House of Representatives . There he represented after 16 subsequent re-elections from January 3, 1953 to January 3, 1987, first the interests of the 11th and then since January 3, 1963 the 8th congressional electoral district of Massachusetts. Between January 1965 and January 1973 he was chairman of the House Select Committee on Campaign Expenditures .

At the same time, between January 1971 and January 1973 he held the office of Parliamentary Director (Majority Whip ) and thus the second most important office within the democratic majority faction , before he was then Chairman of the Democrats (Majority Leader) from January 1973 to January 1977 , and thus politics of Democrats against the administration of Republican US Presidents Richard Nixon and Gerald Ford in the House of Representatives.

Longstanding spokesman for the US House of Representatives

He then became speaker of the US House of Representatives on January 4, 1977 and held this office until he left the House of Representatives on January 3, 1987. O'Neill, who had previously waived a renewed candidacy for the 100th Congress , was with ten years spokesperson after Sam Rayburn , whose 17-year term was interrupted twice, the speaker with the second longest term.

In 1991 he was not only awarded the Presidential Medal of Freedom , one of the two highest civilian awards in the United States in addition to the equal gold medal of honor of the Congress , but also the Mary Woodard Lasker Award for Public Service .

After his death he was buried in the Mount Pleasant Cemetery in Harwichport . His son Thomas , born in 1944 , also embarked on a political career and was, among other things, Lieutenant Governor of Massachusetts.


  • Paul Clancy, Shirlley Elder: Tip. A Biography of Thomas P. O'Neill, Speaker of the House. Macmillan, New York 1980, ISBN 0-02-525700-5 .
  • John A. Farrell: Tip O'Neill and the Democratic Century. Little, Brown, Boston 2001, ISBN 0-316-26049-5 .
  • Thomas P. O'Neill, William Novak: Man of the House; The Life and Political Memoirs of Speaker Tip O'Neill. Random House, New York 1987, ISBN 0-394-55201-6 . ( Autobiography )

Web links

Commons : Tip O'Neill  - Collection of images, videos and audio files