Uncle Joe Cannon

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Uncle Joe Cannon John Joseph Gurney Cannon, also known as “Uncle Joe” Cannon, was a Republican and the Speaker of the House from 1903 until 1911. He became a Congressman at age 36 and spent 23 terms in the House, four of them as Speaker. He represented the end of “Czar Rule” that began with Speaker Reed in 1889. Although not many members of the House agreed with what Cannon said and did, they kept him in the position as the speaker anyways because they didn’t want to go through another re-election and the Republicans didn’t want to risk the next speaker being a Democrat. But somewhere along the line, Uncle Joe got out of step. Rather, as Uncle Joe saw it, the U.S. got out of step. People began to express strong disagreement with the speaker, eventually leading to revolt against the speaker’s power and authority in 1910. When the “revolt” attacks began, they were based more upon the powerful control that the role of the Speaker obtained than they were based at Cannon himself. Still, this resulted in the end of Cannon’s long term position as the Speaker of the House. His four-year "experiment with personal power," as Author Bolles calls it, was over. The thesis of Blair Bolles's Tyrant from Illinois is that Cannon was a very conservative man who supposedly started the movement into "progressive" politics and produced the first concepts of the welfare state. I find this debatable because Uncle Joe himself didn’t even consider himself as a hard conservative like other Republicans such as George Norris and Robert Lafollette. He thought that America was a huge success and had no plans on changing or tampering with something he already considered to be great. As speaker, he made sure that no one WOULD tamper with it by giving key chairmanships to his associates in order to assure this. Bolles, a journalist who today is the head of the Washington bureau of the Foreign
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