Michael C. Kerr

For other people named Michael Kerr, see Michael Kerr (disambiguation).
Michael Crawford Kerr
28th Speaker of the United States House of Representatives
In office
December 6, 1875  August 19, 1876
President Ulysses S. Grant
Preceded by James G. Blaine
Succeeded by Samuel J. Randall
Member of U.S. House of Representatives
from Indiana's 2nd & 3rd districts
In office
March 4, 1865  March 3, 1873 (2nd)
March 4, 1875 – August 19, 1876 (3rd)
Preceded by James A. Cravens
William S. Holman
Succeeded by Simeon K. Wolfe
Nathan T. Carr
Member of the Indiana General Assembly
In office
Personal details
Born March 15, 1827
Titusville, Pennsylvania
Died August 19, 1876 (aged 49)
Rockbridge County, Virginia
Political party Democratic
Alma mater University of Louisville
Profession Law
Kerr's home in New Albany, Indiana

Michael Crawford Kerr (March 15, 1827 – August 19, 1876) was an American legislator, and the first Democratic Speaker of the United States House of Representatives after the Civil War.

Early life

He was born at Titusville, Pennsylvania and educated at the Erie Academy. He graduated from the University of Louisville School of Law in 1851. He moved to New Albany, Indiana in 1852 and was a member of the State Legislature from 1856 to 1857.

Political career

He was elected to Congress in 1864 as a War Democrat, having vigorously opposed the Copperhead element in his district. He won the praise of Republican Governor Morton for helping suppress illegal conspiracies by Copperheads.[1]

Kerr served in the United States House of Representatives as a Democrat from Indiana from 1865 to 1873. In Congress he was looked upon as one of the leaders of the Democratic party. He strongly opposed the Republican policy of Reconstruction in the Southern States. He was not re-elected in 1872.

His hard money views on financial questions did not meet with favor in his agrarian constituency, where he openly antagonized the inflationists and the Greenback element and favored the resumption of specie payments. In 1874, however, after a sharp contest he won the seat back, and on his re-entry into Congress was elected to the speakership. He presided as Speaker at only the first session of the Forty-fourth Congress and died of consumption shortly after its adjournment.


  1. Jacob Piatt Dunn, Indiana and Indianans (1919) vol 2 p 651-2 online


Political offices
Preceded by
James G. Blaine
Speaker of the U.S. House of Representatives
December 6, 1875 – August 19, 1876
Succeeded by
Samuel J. Randall
United States House of Representatives
Preceded by
James A. Cravens
Member of the U.S. House of Representatives
from Indiana's 2nd congressional district

March 4, 1865 March 3, 1873
Succeeded by
Simeon K. Wolfe
Preceded by
William S. Holman
Member of the U.S. House of Representatives
from Indiana's 3rd congressional district

March 4, 1875 August 19, 1876
Succeeded by
Nathan T. Carr
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