Charles A. Halleck

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Charles A. Halleck
Charles A. Halleck.jpg
House Majority Leader
In office
January 3, 1947 – January 3, 1949
Deputy Leslie C. Arends
Preceded by John W. McCormack
Succeeded by John W. McCormack
In office
January 3, 1953 – January 3, 1955
Preceded by John W. McCormack
Succeeded by John W. McCormack
House Minority Leader
In office
January 3, 1959 – January 3, 1965
Deputy Leslie C. Arends
Preceded by Joseph W. Martin
Succeeded by Gerald Ford
Member of the U.S. House of Representatives from Indiana's 2nd district
In office
January 29, 1935 – January 3, 1969
Preceded by George R. Durgan
Succeeded by Earl F. Landgrebe
Personal details
Born Charles Abraham Halleck
(1900-08-22)August 22, 1900
DeMotte, Indiana, U.S.
Died Script error: The function "death_date_and_age" does not exist.
Lafayette, Indiana, U.S.
Political party Republican
Education Indiana University at Bloomington
Indiana University Maurer School of Law - Bloomington
Profession Lawyer
Military service
Allegiance United States of America
Service/branch United States Army
Battles/wars World War I

Charles Abraham Halleck (August 22, 1900 – March 3, 1986) was an American politician. He was the Republican leader of the United States House of Representatives from the second district of Indiana.

Early life and education

Halleck was born near DeMotte, in Jasper County, Indiana, the son of Abraham and Lura (née Luce) Halleck. He served in the infantry of the United States Army, during World War I. After military service, Halleck attended Indiana University at Bloomington. In 1924, Halleck was admitted to the bar and began practicing in Rensselaer. From 1924 to 1934, he was the Prosecuting Attorney for the thirteenth district court.


Following the death of the congressman-elect Frederick Landis in 1935, Halleck replaced him and remained in that position until 1969. A prominent member of the Conservative coalition, he served as the House Majority Leader after the elections of 1946 and 1952; he was House Minority Leader 1959-1964.

Halleck noted that a highlight of his career came at the 1940 Republican convention when he nominated another politician from Indiana, Wendell Willkie. Noting the mixed reception he got, Halleck said, "I got more brickbats and more bouquets over that speech than any other I've ever made."[1]

In 1944, even before Thomas E. Dewey was named as the Republican presidential nominee, Halleck, as the newly named chairman of the National Republican Congressional Committee, addressed a party gathering in Chicago. He rejected the Democrat "don't-change-horses-while-crossing-the-stream" mantra and declared that a Republican president would retain George C. Marshall, Dwight D. Eisenhower, Douglas MacArthur, and William F. Halsey in their military positions. He attacked what he called New Deal "snooping into our ice boxes," a reference to the Office of Price Administration and rationing. Halleck said that Americans should "live again as God meant us to live and not as some bureaucrat in Washington ... would like us to live."[2]

According to Halleck, he was rumored to be Thomas Dewey's vice-presidential nominee in Dewey's second general election campaign in 1948 on the condition that Halleck guarantee the support of the Indiana delegation at the Republican convention. In the end, Dewey selected Governor Earl Warren of California. The Dewey-Warren ticket suffered a stunning upset loss that November to the Democratic Truman/Barkley ticket.[3]

In 1959, with the declining popularity of President Eisenhower enabling Democrats to maintain their hold on the House, Mr. Halleck parlayed his following among Congressional Republicans and the frequent public approval of the President and Vice President Nixon into a successful challenge to the 20-year reign of Joseph W. Martin, Jr., as the leader of House Republicans.[4]

He was a strong opponent of the liberal social proposals of Democrats John F. Kennedy and Lyndon B. Johnson, but supported the Vietnam War and was one of the strongest advocates for the Civil Rights Act of 1964. Along with Senator Everett Dirksen he was the face of the Republican Party during most of the 1960s, and made frequent appearances on television news and talk programs. The press jocularly nicknamed his joint appearances with Mr. Dirksen the "Ev and Charlie Show."

After the heavy election setbacks of 1964, Halleck was defeated in his bid to remain Minority Leader by Gerald Ford, who was the leader of a younger, more moderate faction.


In 1983, U.S. President Ronald W. Reagan signed a bill renaming the Federal District Court building in Lafayette, Indiana, the Charles A. Halleck Federal Building.[5]

The Halleck Center at Saint Joseph's College in Indiana was named after him. [6]

Personal life

Halleck was married to the former Blanche Annetta White, who died in 1973. They had two children.


Halleck died in Lafayette, Indiana, on March 3, 1986 and is buried next to his wife in Rensselaer.

In popular culture


  1. "Charles Halleck Obituary". Toledo Blade. Mar 4, 1986. Retrieved Jun 11, 2014.<templatestyles src="Module:Citation/CS1/styles.css"></templatestyles>
  2. David M. Jordan, FDR, Dewey, and the Election of 1944 (Bloomington and Indianapolis: Indiana University Press, 2011), p. 78, ISBN 978-0-253-00562-5
  3. Heise, Kenan (March 4, 1986). "Ex-gop House Boss Charles Halleck, 85". Chicago Tribune.<templatestyles src="Module:Citation/CS1/styles.css"></templatestyles>
  4. Franklin, Ben A. (Mar 4, 1986). "CHARLES HALLECK, A G.O.P. HOUSE LEADER, DIES". New York Times. Retrieved Jun 11, 2014.<templatestyles src="Module:Citation/CS1/styles.css"></templatestyles>
  5. "Divisional Offices - Hammond Division at Lafayette".<templatestyles src="Module:Citation/CS1/styles.css"></templatestyles>

Further reading

  • Peabody, Robert L. The Ford-Halleck Minority Leadership Contest 1966;
  • Scheele, Henry Z. Charlie Halleck: A Political Biography. Exposition Press, 1966.

External links

United States House of Representatives
Preceded by
George R. Durgan
U.S. Representative of Indiana's 2nd Congressional District
Succeeded by
Earl F. Landgrebe
Party political offices
Preceded by
John W. McCormack
House Majority Leader
Succeeded by
John W. McCormack
Preceded by
Joseph W. Martin
House Minority Leader
Succeeded by
Gerald Ford