Proxmire, William

Proxmire, William

(Edward William Proxmire), 1915–2005, U.S. senator (1957–89), b. Lake Forest, Ill. He worked in army counterintelligence during World War II and later entered politics, serving (1951–52) as a Democrat in the Wisconsin state assembly. After three unsuccessful attempts at the governorship, he was elected (1957) to the Senate to fill the vacancy created by the death of Joseph McCarthyMcCarthy, Joseph Raymond,
1908–57, U.S. senator from Wisconsin (1947–57), b. near Appleton, Wis. He practiced law in Wisconsin and became (1940) a circuit judge. He served with the U.S. marines in the Pacific in World War II, achieving the rank of captain.
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. Considered a maverick by his Senate colleagues, Proxmire opposed wasteful government spending, especially by the military. He led the successful fight (1970–71) in Congress against financing the U.S. supersonic transport plane and the successful ratification campaign (1977–86) for a treaty outlawing genocide. Proxmire was chairman of the Senate Banking, Housing, and Urban Affairs Committee (1975–81, 1987–89). He wrote Report from Wasteland (1970) and Uncle Sam—the Last of the Bigtime Spenders (1972).


See biography by J. G. Sykes (1972).

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Proxmire, (Edward) William

(1915–  ) U.S. senator; born in Lake Forest, Ill. During his long career in the U.S. Senate (Dem., Wis.; 1957–89), he was considered a maverick politician. He served as chairman of the Committee on Banking as well as chairman of the Committee of Housing and Urban Affairs. He was known as an opponent of wasteful government spending and as a "hawk" during the Vietnam War.
The Cambridge Dictionary of American Biography, by John S. Bowman. Copyright © Cambridge University Press 1995. Reproduced with permission.