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Michael Francis Phelan

From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia

Michael Francis Phelan
Michael Francis Phelan.png
Member of the U.S. House of Representatives
from Massachusetts's 7th district
In office
March 4, 1913 – March 3, 1921
Preceded byErnest W. Roberts
Succeeded byRobert S. Maloney
Member of the
Massachusetts House of Representatives
12th Essex District[1]
In office
Preceded byAsa T. Newhall[2]
Personal details
BornOctober 22, 1875[1]
DiedOctober 12, 1941 (aged 65)
Boston, Massachusetts
Political partyDemocratic
Alma materHarvard,
Harvard Law School

Michael Francis Phelan (October 22, 1875 – October 12, 1941) was a U.S. Representative from Massachusetts.

Born in Lynn, Massachusetts, Phelan attended the public schools. He graduated from Lynn Classical High School, from Harvard College in 1897, and from Harvard Law School in 1900. He was admitted to the bar in 1900 and commenced practice in Lynn.

Massachusetts House of Representatives

1903 State Representative election

In 1903 Phelan ran for the office of Massachusetts State Representative, Phelan received 1,307 votes.[2] Asa T. Newhall received 1,371 votes coming in second behind Republican candidate John W. Blaney who received 1,434 votes.[2] The district sent two representatives to the Massachusetts House, so although Newhall came in second in the vote total he was elected.[2]

1904 State Representative election

In 1904 Phelan was elected as a Democrat to serve in the Massachusetts House of Representatives of 1905.[1]

United States House of Representatives

Election to Congress

Phelan was elected as a Democrat to the Sixty-third and to the three succeeding Congresses (March 4, 1913 – March 3, 1921).

Congressional Service

Phelan served as chairman of the Committee on Banking and Currency (Sixty-fifth Congress). Phelan was an Irish nationalist, who tried to use his position as a congressman to bring attention to Irish nationalism.[3] He was opposed to American entry into World War I on the grounds that he did not want the United States to be on the same side as the United Kingdom in a war. Phelan was "deeply antisemitic," harboring a lifelong bigotry against Jewish people. He lamented the 1916 United States presidential election on the grounds that "both candidates were England-lovers and Jew sympathizers." He believed that both Charles Evans Hughes and Woodrow Wilson were "profanely flawed" because both men were "pro-British" with regards to foreign policy, and because both men were outspokenly opposed to antisemitism.[4] Woodrow Wilson opposed Phelan when Phelan expressed support for limiting Jewish immigration to the United States.[5] Phelan described this as "unforgiveable."[4]

Phelan was an unsuccessful candidate for reelection in 1920 to the Sixty-seventh Congress. Practiced law in Lynn and Boston, Massachusetts, and Washington, D.C.. He served as member of the Merrimac Valley Sewage Commission in 1937. He was appointed a member of the Massachusetts Labor Relations Board in 1937 and served until his death.

Personal life

Phelan was close friends with Massachusetts Governor and Senator David Ignatius Walsh. Near the end of his life representative Phelan was a frequent reader of the periodical Social Justice, published by antisemitic priest Charles Coughlin.[6]

Death and burial

Phelan died in Boston, Massachusetts, October 12, 1941. Phelan was interred in St. Mary's Cemetery, Lynn, Massachusetts.


  • United States Congress. "Michael Francis Phelan (id: P000291)". Biographical Directory of the United States Congress.

Public Domain This article incorporates public domain material from the Biographical Directory of the United States Congress website


  1. ^ a b c d Bridgman, Arthur Milnor (1905), A Souvenir of Massachusetts legislators, Volume XIV, Stoughton, MA: A. M. Bridgman, p. 145
  2. ^ a b c d Bridgman, Arthur Milnor (1904), A Souvenir of Massachusetts legislators, Volume XIII, Stoughton, MA: A. M. Bridgman, p. 145
  3. ^ Treaty of Peace with Germany: Hearings Before the Committee on Foreign Relations, United States Senate, Sixty-sixth Congress, First Session, Part 17 - United States. Congress. Senate. Committee on Foreign Relations U.S. Government Printing Office, 1919 pg. 739
  4. ^ a b Michael Francis Phelan: Profile of an Antisemite
  5. ^ "Opinion | Woodrow Wilson was a hero to Jews. What should we do with his racism?".
  6. ^ Father Coughlin: The Tumultuous Life of the Priest of the Little Flower by Sheldon Marcus, 1973
U.S. House of Representatives
Preceded by Member of the U.S. House of Representatives
from Massachusetts's 7th congressional district

March 4, 1913 – March 3, 1921
Succeeded by
This page was last edited on 14 July 2022, at 03:44
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