O'Neill, Tip

O'Neill, Tip

(Thomas Philip O'Neill, Jr.), 1912–94, American political leader, Speaker of the U.S. House of Representatives (1977–87), b. Cambridge, Mass. A Democrat and unwavering New Deal liberal, he sat in the Massachusetts legislature from 1937, becoming its speaker in 1949. He entered the U.S. House of Representatives in 1953, filling the seat previously held by John F. KennedyKennedy, Ted
(Edward Moore Kennedy), 1932–2009, U.S. senator from Massachusetts (1962–2009), b. Boston, Mass., youngest son of Joseph P. Kennedy and the last survivor of brothers Joseph P. Kennedy, Jr., John F. Kennedy, and Robert F. Kennedy.
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, and was an early opponent of the Vietnam WarVietnam War,
conflict in Southeast Asia, primarily fought in South Vietnam between government forces aided by the United States and guerrilla forces aided by North Vietnam. The war began soon after the Geneva Conference provisionally divided (1954) Vietnam at 17° N lat.
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. A skillful strategist, he became majority whip in 1971 and majority leader in 1973 and was speaker of the House from 1977 to 1987. O'Neill was instrumental in bringing about the resignation of President Richard Nixon following investigations into the Watergate affairWatergate affair,
in U.S. history, series of scandals involving the administration of President Richard M. Nixon; more specifically, the burglarizing of the Democratic party national headquarters in the Watergate apartment complex in Washington, D.C.
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, and he instituted many reforms within the House of Representatives.

Bibliography

See his autobiography, Man of the House (1987); J. A. Farrell, Tip O'Neill and the Democratic Century (2001).

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