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William Moore McCulloch
Member of the United States House of Representatives
In office
November 4, 1947 – January 3, 1973
Preceded by Robert Franklin Jones
Succeeded by Tennyson Guyer
Member of the Ohio House of Representatives

In office
Personal details
Born (1901-11-24)November 24, 1901
Holmesville, Ohio
Died February 22, 1980(1980-02-22) (aged 78)
Washington, D.C.
Resting place Arlington National Cemetery
Political party Republican
Spouse(s) Mabel Harris (m. 1927)
Alma mater College of Wooster
Ohio State University

William Moore McCulloch (November 24, 1901 – February 22, 1980) was a Republican member of the U.S. House of Representatives from Ohio.

McCulloch was born near Holmesville, Ohio. He attended the College of Wooster in Wooster, Ohio. He graduated from the college of law of Ohio State University at Columbus, Ohio, in 1925. He was admitted to the bar the same year and commenced practice in Piqua, Ohio. He was a member of the Ohio House of Representatives from 1933 to 1944, serving as minority leader from 1936 to 1939 and as speaker from 1939 to 1944. He served in the United States Army from December 26, 1943, to October 12, 1945.

McCulloch was elected as a Republican to the Eightieth Congress, by special election, on November 4, 1947, to fill the vacancy caused by the resignation of Robert Franklin Jones. He was re-elected to twelve consecutive Congresses.

Fight for civil rights[]

As the ranking member of the House of Representatives Judiciary Committee, William McCulloch took a leading role in the civil rights movement. He introduced civil rights legislation months before Kennedy presented his act to congress. This was politically imprudent, considered by some to be even political suicide. Representative McCulloch had only a few of African-American constituents and so few votes to gain from introducing or supporting civil rights legislation. McCulloch's influence with the Civil Rights Act led President John F. Kennedy to declare, "Without him it can't be done." McCulloch was recognized by Kennedy's successor, Lyndon B. Johnson, under whom the act was passed, as "the most important and powerful political force" in passing the Act.

Todd Purdum, in his history of the civil rights era An Idea Whose Time Has Come, said in an interview:

[McCullough] had been distressed when then Senate Majority Leader Johnson watered down civil rights bills in 1957 and 1960 to make them practically unenforceable. McCulloch was the ranking minority member of the House judiciary committee, and he told the Kennedy Administration that he would back a strong bill in the House – and urge his fellow Republicans to follow suit – but only if the White House agreed not to trade away the bill's strongest provisions in the Senate, and also agreed to give Republicans equal credit for passing it.[1]

Other issues[]

Throughout his career, McCulloch was a conservative (demonstrated by low Americans for Democratic Action (ADA) scores) despite his strong support of civil rights. As ranking Republican on the House Judiciary Committee, he, with Democratic Chairman Emanuel Celler, pushed the Civil Rights Act of 1964 through the House of Representatives. During the Great Society Congress, he opposed most Great Society legislation. After the Great Society Congress (1965–1966), he began to adopt a few liberal positions, such as supporting strong gun control legislation in 1968 as well as busing. He was not a candidate for reelection in the 1972 election to the Ninety-third Congress. He then resumed the practice of law in Piqua, Ohio.

In early 2010, McCulloch was proposed by the Ohio Historical Society as a finalist in a statewide vote for inclusion in Statuary Hall at the United States Capitol.

Personal life[]

On October 17, 1927, McCulloch eloped with Mabel Harris in Covington, Kentucky.[2] They had two daughters, Nancy and Ann.[3]

McCulloch died on February 22, 1980, in Washington, D.C. due to a heart attack.[4] He is buried in Arlington National Cemetery with his wife.[4]


  1. Purdum, Todd S., and Cullen Murphy, "The Battle to Pass the Civil Rights Act of 1964", Vanity Fair, March 31, 2014. Retrieved 2014-06-19.
  2. Bernstein, p. 21.
  3. Bernstein, p. 56.
  4. 4.0 4.1 Bernstein, p. 243.


  • Bernstein, Mark (2014). McCulloch of Ohio: For the Republic. Crown Equipment Corporation. ISBN 978-0692204368. 

External links[]

United States House of Representatives
Preceded by
Robert Franklin Jones
Member of the U.S. House of Representatives
from Ohio's 4th congressional district

Succeeded by
Tennyson Guyer

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