1952 Presidential Elections - History

1952 Presidential Elections - History

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1952 Elections Eisenhower VS stevenson

Both the Republican and Democratic parties actively courted General Dwight D. Eisenhower. However, Eisenhower was a Republican at heart. He agreed to run as the Republican nominee for the "good of the nation." Senator Robert Taft, of Ohio, opposed Eisenhower for the nomination. Taft represented the old "isolationist wing" of the Republican Party. Taft won more of the primaries than Eisenhower. General Eisenhower was nominated on the first ballot at the 1952 Republican convention in Chicago. It was initially believed that President Truman would run for reelection. Though after he was defeated in the New Hampshire Primary, Truman withdrew his candidacy. He chose to support Governor Adlai Stevenson, of Illinois, for the Democratic nomination. At the Democratic convention in Chicago Stevenson was elected on the third ballot.

Eisenhower took the high road in the campaign. He left the job of leveling attacks to his Vice Presidential candidate Richard Nixon. The Republicans accused the Democrats of "K1C2"– Korea, Communism, and Corruption.

Nixon, himself, was almost dropped from the campaign. The pressure began after he was accused of maintaining an $18,000 slush fund. Nixon went on national TV, in a speech later known as "The Checkers Speech." The speech was named after Nixon's dog, Checkers, whom he referred to in his speech. Most of the responses to this speech were very favorable to Nixon. This enabled Nixon to keep his position on the Republican ticket.

Toward the end of the campaign, Eisenhower promised to go to Korea and end the impasse of the war. The country voted overwhelmingly for Eisenhower.

"Red Scare" dominates American politics

As the presidential election of 1952 begins to heat up, so do accusations and counteraccusations concerning communism in America. The “Red Scare”—the widespread belief that international communism was operating in the United States�me to dominate much of the debate between Democrats and Republicans in 1952.

On August 27, 1952, the New York Times front page contained three stories suggesting the impact of the Red Scare on the upcoming election. In the first story, the Republican-dominated Senate Internal Security Subcommittee released a report charging that the Radio Writers Guild was dominated by a small number of communists. The Guild, whose members were responsible for producing more than 90 percent of the programs on radio, had purportedly been run by a small clique of communists for at least the last nine years. According to the subcommittee report, communist subversion of the Guild was merely one step in a larger effort to control the media of the United States—including radio, television, movies, and book publishing. 

The second front-page story was a report that the American Legion was demanding, for the third year in a row, that President Harry S. Truman dismiss Secretary of State Dean Acheson for his lack of vigor in dealing with the communist threat. The Legion report declared that the Department of State was in desperate need of “God-fearing Americans” who had the “intestinal fortitude not to be political puppets.” The organization demanded a quick and victorious settlement of the Korean War, even if this meant expanding the war into China. The third story provided a counter of sorts to the previous two stories. It reported a speech by Democratic nominee for president Governor Adlai E. Stevenson, in which he strongly criticized those who used “patriotism” as a weapon against their political opponents. In an obvious slap at the Senate Subcommittee and others, such as Senator Joseph McCarthy, Stevenson repeated the words of the writer Dr. Samuel Johnson: “Patriotism is the last refuge of scoundrels.” The governor claimed that it was “shocking” that good Americans, such as Acheson and former secretary of state General George C. Marshall, could be attacked on the grounds that they were unpatriotic.

The 1952 Presidential Election

Truman decided not to seek the presidency in 1952. Given the passage of the Twenty-Second Amendment to the Constitution that limited a presidential candidate to two terms in the office, it was questionable whether Truman was qualified to run. The Democratic Party had to choose among three possible candidates: Adlai E. Stevenson, Governor of Illinois, Averell Harriman, a Wall Street banker and railroad executive and Estes Kefauver, Senator from Tennessee. In the presidential primaries, Kefauver, campaigning in a coonskin cap, often by dogsled, won an electrifying victory in the New Hampshire primary. Kefauver won 12 of the 15 primaries in 1952, losing three to “favorite son” candidates. He received 3.1 million votes, while the eventual 1952 Democratic presidential nominee, Illinois governor Adlai Stevenson, got only 78,000 votes. But, primaries were not, at that time, the main method of delegate selection for the national convention. Kefauver entered the convention with a few hundred votes still needed for a majority of the delegates. The Kefauver campaign became the classic example of how presidential primary victories in the Democratic Party do not automatically lead to the nomination itself. Although he began the balloting far ahead of the other declared candidates, Kefauver eventually lost the nomination to Stevenson, the choice of the Democratic Party political bosses.

The Republican Party nominated General Dwight D. Eisenhower, hero of World War II, to be its presidential candidate. Both parties tried to convince Eisenhower to run on their ticket, but Eisenhower eventually chose to run on the Republican ticket. Domestic issues in the election included an economic recession in the early Fifties, Civil Rights/segregation, McCarthyism (the alleged infiltration of the State Department by Russian spies), support for the Taft-Hartley Act, continuing agricultural price supports and restricted activities of labor unions. Major foreign policy issues included Russia and the Cold War, “loss of China” and the Stalemate in Korea, and Soviet/USSR attempted efforts to establish Communist regimes in Latin and Central America.

Richard M. Nixon, a member of the House of Representatives from California, was Eisenhower’s pick for Vice-President. During the campaign Nixon got involved in a scandal and was almost dropped from the Republican ticket. Nixon was accused by several newspapers of receiving $18,000 in undeclared “gifts” from wealthy donors, a “slush fund.” Nixon, who had been accusing the Democrats of hiding crooks, suddenly found himself on the defensive. Eisenhower and his aides considered dropping Nixon from the ticket and picking another running mate. Nixon went on national TV and gave a speech later known as “The Checkers Speech.” The speech was named after Nixon’s dog, Checkers, whom he referred to in his speech. In this speech, Nixon denied the charges against him, gave a detailed account of his modest financial assets, and offered a glowing assessment of Eisenhower’s candidacy. The highlight of the speech came when Nixon stated that a supporter had given his daughters a gift – a dog named “Checkers” – and that he would not return it, because his daughters loved it. The “Checkers speech” led hundreds of thousands of citizens nationwide to wire the Republican National Committee urging the Republican Party to keep Nixon on the ticket. So, Eisenhower stayed with him. Toward the end of the campaign, Eisenhower promised to go to Korea to get a firsthand view of the situation and to end the impasse of the war. The promise boosted Eisenhower’s popularity. The country voted overwhelmingly for Eisenhower, who carried 39 of the 48 states. Eisenhower won 55.18% of the popular vote, carrying every state outside of the South, as well as Florida, Virginia and Tennessee, states that had almost always voted for Democrats since the end of Reconstruction.

Shortly after his election, Eisenhower fulfilled his campaign pledge, though he was not very specific about exactly what he hoped to accomplish. After a short stay in Korea, he returned to the United States, yet remained mum about his plans concerning the Korean War. After taking office, Eisenhower adopted a get-tough policy toward the communists in Korea. He suggested that he would “unleash” the Nationalist Chinese forces on Taiwan against communist China, and he sent only slightly veiled messages that he would use any force necessary (including the use of nuclear weapons) to bring the war to an end unless peace negotiations began to move forward. The Chinese, exhausted by more than two years of war, finally agreed to terms and an armistice was signed on July 27, 1953. According to the armistice agreement (note that the parties did not sign a formal peace treaty) there would be a cease fire, with all troops retreating to the 38th parallel – basically the border between North and South Korea before the beginning of hostilities. The war ended with about four million casualties overall: 2 million civilians dead, 33,600 American soldiers were killed in action and another 20,000 died of other causes. (McCullough, p. 935.)

Eisenhower adopted a domestic policy known as “Modern Republicanism.” This represented Eisenhower’s attempt to strike a balance between traditional Republican conservatism and Democratic liberalism. It reflected the American mood. Modern Republicanism supported limited government and balanced budgets but Eisenhower did not support dismantling the New Deal and Fair Deal legislation which provided for Social Security and farm subsidies. Eisenhower’s moderation was popular with American voters. In 1956, Eisenhower and Nixon were reelected with 58 percent of the popular vote and 457 electoral votes.

“Eisenhower Summer, 1952” George Wirth (2005) (This song paints another picture of a typical Fifties scene.)

Saturday morning, 10:00 AM, she’s walking out the door
Her old man is still in bed sleeping off the night before
She’s heading up to Main Street, on this warm July
Off to see another side of life go marching by

A thousand forty-eight star flags are waving up and down the street
Cops in full dress uniform out in the morning heat
There’s hot dog stands and marching bands and it’s all red white blue
It’s an Eisenhower summer, 1952

Old folks are lined along the curb parked in folding chairs
Kids are climbing lamp posts and running everywhere
It’s a symphony of sight and sound on a perfect summer day
The crowd down here lets out a cheer as the band begins to play

Xylophones and snare drums set the rhythm and the rhyme
Majorettes spin steel batons and step in perfect time
And the high school band is wailing, man, they’re just about in tune
They’ll be playing in the park tonight beneath that summer moon

Here comes the new Miss Reingold in a brand new Cadillac
She’s waving at the people and they’re all waving back
And she looks just like her picture up on that billboard sign
Five foot two, eyes of blue, lips like cherry wine

There’s that brand new fire truck, an adolescents dream
The chrome is polished up so bright it makes it hard to see
And the driver makes that siren sing with a face that’s filled with pride
Kids are lining up around the block to take her for a ride

Now the boys from the VFW march by with new recruits
In uniforms that fit too tight and worn out combat boots
And some of them are looking back, and some look straight ahead
And some look like they’d rather be somewhere else instead

Jaycees and Young Republicans are marching to the beat
Democrats for Stevenson are staring at their feet
When even little kids sing “I like Ike ” there’s not much left to lose
In an Eisenhower summer, 1952

Everybody gathers in the square once they all get downtown
There’s nothing left but speeches then things start winding down
And she doesn’t speak much English but she stays until the end
Then she heads back down Grove Avenue on that long walk home again

On Monday she’ll be back at work at the factory down the street
Hands burning from the acid wash, standing all day on her feet
And she’ll close her eyes and visualize a sky of perfect blue
From an Eisenhower summer day, 1952


The issues of the period were the Korean War, Cold War, Containment, and Civil Rights. Containment was the issue that was the umbrella for all foreign policy decisions as the United States did not want to allow the spread of Communism to other countries.

Republicans: Eisenhower&rsquos popularity was a huge platform, however how they landed on issues would need to be strategic. The Republicans played the middle and did not support the fringe of the party that favored isolationism and favored a different approach to containment which would take a more diplomatic role.

Democrats: Stevenson did not campaign on any of Truman&rsquos policies and instead went back to FDR and spoke of the New Deal and tried to put fear into the public that the Republicans would bring in a new depression. However, distancing himself from Truman would prove to be hard as the people of the United States were ready for a different party to be in charge.

American History: The Election of 1952

This week in our series, we look at the presidential election campaign of nineteen fifty-two. President Harry Truman decided not to seek re-election. The continuing war in Korea and economic problems at home had cost him the support of many Americans.

His Democratic Party needed a new candidate for president.

In the spring of nineteen fifty-two, Harry Truman offered his support to Adlai Stevenson. Stevenson, however, said he was not interested in any job except the one he had as governor of Illinois.

Someone asked what he would do if the Democratic Party chose him anyway as its presidential candidate. Stevenson jokingly answered that he would have to shoot himself.

So, President Truman and other party leaders discussed different candidates. Each one, however, seemed to have some political weakness.

The Republican Party was also discussing possible candidates. It was much easier for the Republicans to choose. Earlier, General Dwight Eisenhower had said he would be interested in running for president.

Eisenhower was the highly respected commander of Allied forces in Europe during World War Two. Many members of both parties supported “Ike,” as he was popularly known. Eisenhower agreed to campaign as a Republican.

His closest competitor for the Republican nomination was Robert Taft. Taft was a senator from Ohio and the son of a former president, William Howard Taft.

Senator Taft had strong support among Republicans for his conservative positions. But he did not receive enough votes at the party's national convention to defeat Eisenhower for the nomination.

In his acceptance speech, Eisenhower told the delegates:

DWIGHT EISENHOWER: "Ladies and Gentlemen, you have summoned me on behalf of millions of your fellow Americans to lead a great crusade -- for freedom in America and freedom in the world. I know something of the solemn responsibility of leading a crusade. I take up this task, therefore, in the spirit of deep obligation. Mindful of its burden and of its decisive importance, I accept your summons. I will lead this crusade."

Eisenhower chose Senator Richard Nixon of California as his running mate for vice president. Nixon was known for strongly opposing communism.

RICHARD NIXON: “I am holding in my hand a microfilm of very highly confidential secret State Department documents. These documents were fed out of the State Department, over ten years ago, by communists who were employees of that department and who were interested in seeing if these documents were sent to the Soviet Union, where the interests of the Soviet Union happened to be in conflict with those of the United States.”

Earlier, as a member of the House of Representatives, Richard Nixon had led the investigation of a former State Department official, Alger Hiss. Hiss was accused of helping to provide secret information to the Soviet Union. He denied the accusation and was never charged with spying. But he was tried and found guilty of lying to a grand jury and was sentenced to prison.

Democrats opened their presidential nominating convention in Chicago, Illinois, ten days after the Republicans closed theirs in the same city. Illinois Governor Adlai Stevenson welcomed the delegates, but still seemed like he did not want to run for president. That only made the delegates want him even more.

They were unable to choose a nominee on the first two votes. Then, on the third vote, a majority of the delegates chose Adlai Stevenson. And he accepted. He urged Democrats to campaign with honor.

ADLAI STEVENSON: “Let's talk sense to the American people. Let's tell them the truth, that there are no gains without pains, that we are now on the eve of great decisions, not easy decisions, like resistance when you're attacked, but a long, patient, costly struggle which alone can assure triumph over the great enemies of man — war, poverty, and tyranny — and the assaults upon human dignity which are the most grievous consequences of each.”

A political observer described the differences between Adlai Stevenson and Dwight Eisenhower this way: Stevenson was a man of thought. Eisenhower was a man of action.

The Republican Party hired an advertising agency to design a campaign to "sell" Eisenhower and Nixon to the American public.

ANNOUNCER IN COMMERCIAL: “The man from Abilene. Out of the heartland of America, out of this small frame house in Abilene, Kansas, came a man, Dwight D. Eisenhower. Through the crucial hour of historic D-Day, he brought us to the triumph and peace of V-E [Victory in Europe] Day. Now, another crucial hour in our history. The big question…”

MAN IN COMMERCIAL: “General, if war comes, is this country really ready?”

EISENHOWER: “It is not. We haven’t enough tanks for the fighting in Korea. It is time for a change.”

ANNOUNCER: “The nation, haunted by the stalemate in Korea, looks to Eisenhower. Eisenhower knows how to deal with the Russians. He has met Europe’s leaders, has got them working with us. Elect the Number One Man for the Number One Job of our time. November fourth, vote for peace. Vote for Eisenhower.”

Adlai Stevenson was known as an intellectual -- an "egghead." He dismissed some traditional political advisers and replaced them with fellow “eggheads” when he launched his campaign.

The biggest issue in the nineteen fifty-two campaign was communism. Stevenson said America needed to guard against it. Yet he repeatedly criticized the actions of Senator Joseph McCarthy. For years, the senator from Wisconsin had been denouncing government officials and others as communists.

Eisenhower did not criticize McCarthy, even when the senator accused Eisenhower's good friend, and fellow World War Two hero, General George Marshall, of being a traitor.

The Republican campaign went smoothly until Nixon faced a campaign finance dispute. The vice presidential candidate was under pressure to withdraw. That led to Nixon's famous "Checkers" speech. He made the speech on national television on September twenty-third nineteen fifty-two. In it, he denied any wrongdoing. He defended his actions regarding the disputed funds -- and his decision to keep a special gift from a political supporter.

RICHARD NIXON: “One other thing I probably should tell you, because if I don't they'll probably be saying this about me, too. We did get something, a gift, after the election. A man down in Texas heard Pat on the radio mention the fact that our two youngsters would like to have a dog.

“And believe it or not, the day before we left on this campaign trip we got a message from Union Station in Baltimore, saying they had a package for us. We went down to get it. You know what it was? It was a little cocker spaniel dog in a crate that he'd sent all the way from Texas, black and white, spotted.

“And our little girl Tricia, the six year old, named it "Checkers." And you know, the kids, like all kids, love the dog, and I just want to say this, right now, that regardless of what they say about it, we're gonna keep it.

The speech was a major success. Many Republicans voiced support for Nixon to stay on as Eisenhower's running mate. And Eisenhower agreed.

A few weeks before the election, Eisenhower made a powerful speech. He talked about ending the war in Korea.

DWIGHT EISENHOWER: "Now, where will a new administration begin. It will begin with its president taking a firm, simple resolution. That resolution will be to forego the diversions of politics and to concentrate on the job of ending the Korean War, until that job is honorably done. That job requires a personal trip to Korea. Only in that way could I learn how best to serve the American people in the cause of peace. I shall go to Korea."

Adlai Stevenson also gave a powerful speech before the election. In it, he told of seeing "an America where no man fears to think as he pleases, or say what he thinks . an America where no man is another's master -- where no man's mind is dark with fear."

Adlai Stevenson spoke of a nation at peace with the world -- "an America as the horizon of human hopes."

Americans voted in November. Eisenhower won almost thirty-four million votes. That was more than any other presidential candidate had ever received. Stevenson won about twenty-seven million votes.

Dwight Eisenhower was sworn in as America's thirty-fourth president in January of nineteen fifty-three. He was sixty-two years old.

Many problems awaited the new Republican president.

Republicans had only a small majority in Congress. Many of them were very conservative and unlikely to support many of Eisenhower's programs. The cost of living in America was rising. Senator Joseph McCarthy was still hunting communists. And the war was still being fought in Korea.

But Ike had a lot of experience serving his country.

Dwight Eisenhower came from a large family in Abilene, Kansas. They did not have much money. He received a free university education when he was appointed to attend the United States Military Academy at West Point, in New York state.

He remained in military service for many years. He was a top Army officer by the time the United States entered World War Two in nineteen forty-one. In June of nineteen forty-four, he led the Allied D-Day invasion of Europe.

In nineteen fifty, President Truman named him supreme commander of NATO, the North Atlantic Treaty Organization.

MUSIC: “I Like Ike” campaign song

When Dwight Eisenhower ran for president, supporters shouted "I like Ike!" People like him because he always seemed calm under pressure. As president, one of the first pressures he would have to deal with was the continuing war in Korea.

That will be our story next week.

You can find our series online with transcripts, MP3s, podcasts, and pictures at And you can follow us on Facebook and Twitter at VOA Learning English. I’m Steve Ember, inviting you to join us again next week for THE MAKING OF A NATION -- American history in VOA Special English.

Contributing: Jerilyn Watson

This was program #204. For earlier programs, type "Making of a Nation" in quotation marks in the search box at the top of the page.

UNIVAC Predicts an Eisenhower Win!

Preparing for CBS to use a UNIVAC in its 1952 election coverage, UNIVAC designer J. Presper ("Pres") Eckert and operator Harold Sweeney show the machine to American news icon Walter Cronkite.

UNIVAC Predicts an Eisenhower Win!

Polls gave the 1952 Presidential election to Adlai Stevenson. UNIVAC, star of CBS’ election coverage (alongside Walter Cronkite), predicted an Eisenhower landslide. UNIVAC was right.

The computer’s TV debut captivated an audience already enthralled by technology and confronting new tools—and new terminology—almost daily. Before long, any computer was called “UNIVAC.”

UNIVAC predicts the election results

A printout from UNIVAC’s early prediction on election night favors Eisenhower. The margin was so big that his odds of winning appeared as “00 to 1” instead of “100 to 1” because programmers had never anticipated needing three digits.

Superman's girlfriend Lois Lane, comic featuring UNIVAC on the cover

“UNIVAC” became synonymous with “computer” to the American public in the 1950s. This comic book combines computerized matchmaking, which began in the late 1950s, with a popular television dating show format.

Dwight D. Eisenhower: Campaigns and Elections

During an extraordinary military career, Dwight D. Eisenhower had done some things that few, if any, Americans had ever experienced. But he had not done something that was extremely common—he had never voted. Yet in 1948, many Americans hoped that the general would cast his first ballot—for himself as President. Even Harry S. Truman tried to interest Eisenhower in a run for the presidency. As the election year of 1948 approached, Truman, who became President when Franklin D. Roosevelt died in 1945, seemed to have little chance of winning a full term of his own. In a private meeting, Truman proposed that he and Eisenhower run together on the Democratic ticket, with Eisenhower as the presidential candidate and Truman in second position. Eisenhower rejected this astonishing offer and probably thought that he would never again have to consider the possibility of a run for the White House. He also spurned requests from prominent Republicans that he seek the GOP nomination for President.

Truman won an upset victory in 1948, but during the Korean War, he became extremely unpopular. Truman's decision to fire General Douglas MacArthur as commander of United Nations forces was an important cause for public disapproval of the President. So too was the deadlock in the fighting in Korea. Republicans expected to win the presidency in 1952, and Senator Robert A. Taft of Ohio became the leading candidate for the GOP nomination. But some prominent Republicans considered Taft an isolationist since he had opposed the formation of NATO and talked instead about building up defenses in the Western Hemisphere. They tried to interest Eisenhower in the Republican nomination, confident that his popularity would carry him to victory and certain that his internationalist policies were essential to success in the Cold War.

Senator Henry Cabot Lodge Jr., of Massachusetts began an Eisenhower for President drive in the Republican Party. In public, Eisenhower said he had no interest in politics because he had to devote full attention to his duty as commander of NATO forces in Europe. But behind the scenes, Eisenhower began to offer encouragement to Lodge during the senator's visits to NATO headquarters near Paris. Finally, in January 1952, Eisenhower announced that he was a Republican and that he would be willing to accept the call of the American people to serve as President.

Soon there was clear evidence that voters preferred Eisenhower. In the New Hampshire primary, Eisenhower won a big victory over Taft. Yet in 1952, there was only a handful of presidential primaries. State conventions and party leaders chose most of the delegates to the nominating convention, and Taft had taken the lead before Eisenhower returned to the United States in June to campaign for the nomination. Some delegates—enough to make a difference in who got the nomination—were in dispute. At the Republican convention in Chicago, Eisenhower's political managers won a critical battle over the disputed delegates and managed to seat their delegates rather than Taft's in a few key states. As a result, Eisenhower won the nomination on the first ballot. For vice president, Eisenhower chose Senator Richard M. Nixon of California, who had helped his campaign managers secure votes in the dispute over delegates. Although he was just thirty-nine years old, Nixon had won national attention for his role in a congressional investigation of Alger Hiss, a former state department official accused of spying for the Soviets. Hiss went to prison after his conviction on a charge of perjury for denying that he had passed secrets to the Kremlin.

The Democrats picked Governor Adlai Stevenson of Illinois, a witty and urbane politician whose thoughtful speeches appealed to liberals and moderate Democrats. His credentials were impressive: he was a Princeton-educated lawyer who had served as special assistant to the Secretary of the Navy during World War II, an influential member of the U.S. delegation to the United Nations after the war, and a successful governor with an enviable record of reform. But as a campaigner, he was no match for Eisenhower.

Eisenhower inspired confidence with his plain talk, reassuring smiles, and heroic image. He kept a demanding schedule, traveling to forty-five states and speaking to large crowds from the caboose of his campaign train. The slogan "I like Ike" quickly became part of the political language of America. Eisenhower also got his message to the American people through 30-second television advertisements, the first time TV commercials played a major role in a presidential election.

Yet it was not just Ike's personal charm that mattered, his campaign used a clever strategy of ignoring Stevenson—Eisenhower never mentioned his opponent by name—and attacking Truman. And Eisenhower had a formula for victory—K1C2 (Korea, Communism, and corruption). The stalemated war in Korea, corruption in the Truman administration, and Communist subversion were the issues that Republicans emphasized throughout the campaign. Eisenhower held a clear lead over Stevenson in the polls, as voters looked to Eisenhower to clean up what even Stevenson had called "the mess in Washington."

Campaign Difficulties

Eisenhower, though, had his own problems to resolve, as unexpected difficulties disrupted his campaign. The most serious was a scandal over whether Nixon had used campaign funds for personal expenses. This charge was particularly embarrassing because of Eisenhower's promise that his administration would be "clean as a hound's tooth." Nixon answered the allegations in a nationally televised speech on September 23. In a masterly performance, Nixon denied that he had done anything wrong, but vowed that he would not give up his daughters' little dog, Checkers, also a gift to the family, no matter what the consequences. The public responded to the "Checkers Speech" with an outpouring of support, and Eisenhower kept Nixon on the ticket.

Eisenhower provoked criticism for his own actions when he campaigned in Wisconsin and appeared on the same platform with Senator Joseph McCarthy. The junior senator from Wisconsin had been front-page news for more than two years with his sensational allegations that Communist spies had infiltrated the State Department as well as other parts of the federal government. McCarthy never provided evidence that led to a single conviction for espionage or treason, but he was a major power in the Republican Party. Eisenhower disliked McCarthy, and campaign aides told journalists that McCarthy would get his comeuppance when Eisenhower stood next to the senator at a campaign stop and praised General George C. Marshall, who McCarthy had denounced as part of a Communist conspiracy. But after campaign advisors urged him not to pick a fight with McCarthy in his home state, Eisenhower omitted his defense of Marshall, his former mentor and boss during World War II, when he gave his speech. Eisenhower endured a torrent of criticism, even from some Republicans, that he had compromised his principles for political advantage.

Dwight Eisenhower fails to avoid Joseph McCarthy's handshake on the campaign trail. Credit: Dwight D. Eisenhower Presidential Library

"I had never thought the man who is now the Republican candidate would stoop so low," President Truman declared about Eisenhower's failure to defend Marshall. Truman at first had stayed out of the campaign, but eventually he plunged in. He resented the Republican attacks on his record, and he thought that Stevenson's erudite speeches were going over the heads of the American people. Truman traveled the country in a whistle-stop campaign as he had in 1948 and made angry and extreme charges. "There was a time when I thought he would make a good President," Truman told a crowd in Ohio, as he discussed Eisenhower's qualifications. "That was my mistake." Eisenhower, Truman insisted, was a "stooge for Wall Street." On another occasion, he said that the general was the puppet of "Republican reactionaries" who were telling Eisenhower what to say. Republican "truth squads" followed President Truman and replied to what they said were his "fabrications."

"There was a time when I thought he would make a good President. That was my mistake."

President Harry Truman, 1952

The best Republican response came from Eisenhower as the campaign neared an end. "If elected, I shall go to Korea," Eisenhower declared, a pledge that stirred hopes that the general would find a way to end the fighting. Truman considered this promise a cheap campaign trick. The Truman-Eisenhower relationship, once good, died in the bitterness of the campaign.

On election day, Eisenhower won a big victory with 55 percent of the popular vote and a landslide in the electoral college, with 442 votes to Stevenson's 89. He even scored well in what had been the Democratic Solid South, taking a larger percentage of the popular vote than any previous Republican candidate and capturing Virginia, Florida, Tennessee, and Texas.

Dwight D. Eisenhower won the 1952 election in a significant landslide, even picking up much of the Democratic South.

Eisenhower's coattails, however, did not carry many Republicans into Congress. The GOP won control of Congress, but only by narrow majorities—three seats in the House of Representatives, one seat in the Senate. In Massachusetts, Henry Cabot Lodge lost his Senate seat to John F. Kennedy. Indeed, while the election of 1952 was a triumph for Eisenhower, it was not a mandate for the Republican Party.

The Campaign and Election of 1956

Eisenhower was such a popular President during his first term that there seemed little doubt that he would win reelection no matter who the Democrats nominated to run against him. Eisenhower had agreed to an armistice that ended the Korean War in July 1953. The return of peace brought strong economic growth that some people called the "Eisenhower prosperity." During 1955, the President's approval rating in the Gallup poll ranged between 68 and 79 percent.

But it was by no means certain that Eisenhower would run again. He told friends that he would be happy to serve only a single term. Then, in September 1955, the President suffered a major heart attack. For several months, as Eisenhower convalesced, there was doubt about whether the President could run again. By the beginning of 1956, however, Eisenhower had resumed a full schedule, and his cardiologist announced that the President was capable of serving a second term. On February 29, 1956, Eisenhower announced that he would seek reelection.

The President's illness made the choice of a vice-presidential running mate especially important in the eyes of many voters. Nixon had done a capable job of presiding over meetings of the cabinet and National Security Council during the President's recovery, but the vice president still had a reputation as a strident partisan rather than seasoned leader. And even Eisenhower had doubts about Nixon's "maturity." During early 1956, Eisenhower tried to encourage Nixon to take himself out of consideration for a second term by dropping hints that an important cabinet job—maybe secretary of defense—would be a good way to prepare for a run for the presidency in 1960. Nixon, however, refused to take the hints Eisenhower decided not to confront Nixon directly Nixon remained popular with party regulars and in August 1956, the Republicans once more nominated Eisenhower and Nixon.

Adlai Stevenson faced a much tougher fight for the Democratic nomination than he had four years earlier. He even had to overcome Truman's opposition, as the former President made a last-minute endorsement of Governor W. Averell Harriman of New York. But the Democratic convention stuck with Stevenson and for vice president, chose Senator Estes Kefauver of Tennessee.

Stevenson had trouble finding effective issues. He scored a few points when he warned that a vote for Eisenhower would really put Nixon in the White House, especially after the President had another serious health problem that required abdominal surgery in June. Yet one of his major issues backfired when Soviet Premier Nikolai Bulganin endorsed Stevenson's proposal for a ban on the testing of nuclear weapons. Eisenhower denounced Stevenson for making sensitive issues of national security matters of partisan debate, and Nixon and other Republicans insisted that Stevenson would appease the Soviets rather than stand up to them.

The President Prevails

Eisenhower held a commanding lead in the polls, and his margin widened as he dealt with two foreign policy crises in the days before the election. The first occurred at the end of October, when Israel, Britain, and France attacked Egypt in retaliation for the nationalization of the Suez Canal. Although Britain and France were members of NATO, they planned the attack in secret, without ever informing the President. Eisenhower was livid over what he thought was the betrayal and stupidity of America's allies. He thought that the attack would only rally support for Gamal Abdel Nasser, the President of Egypt, who had nationalized the canal. Eisenhower condemned the Anglo-French-Israeli action and put muscle behind his words by imposing economic sanctions that forced the invaders to withdraw.

While Eisenhower confronted the dangers of the Suez crisis, Soviet troops invaded Hungary. The Kremlin was determined to crush the Hungarian government, which had withdrawn from the Warsaw Pact, the Soviet-dominated military alliance. Although officials in the Eisenhower administration had previously encouraged the liberation of Eastern bloc countries, Eisenhower decided not to aid the Hungarian government for fear that such intervention might lead to a major war with the Soviets. The President condemned the invasion and assisted Hungarian refugees.

These two crises widened Eisenhower's margin of victory over Stevenson. Many citizens rallied behind the President at a time of international danger. On election day, Eisenhower won an even more impressive victory than he had four years earlier. He carried 41 states and received nearly 58 percent of the popular vote. He ran better in the South than he had four years earlier, even taking Louisiana—this was the first time that state had voted Republican since the end of Reconstruction. Eisenhower also cut into Stevenson's margins in many Democratic constituencies, including African Americans, who voted in larger proportion for the President than for any Republican candidate since Herbert Hoover.

The only bright spot for the Democrats was that they retained control of Congress, which they had secured in the midterm elections of 1954. Eisenhower was the first candidate since Zachary Taylor to win the presidency without having his party gain a majority of seats in either the House or the Senate. The election of 1956 was a resounding personal victory for Eisenhower but not a triumph for the Republican Party.

1952 United States presidential election in Arizona

The 1952 United States presidential election in Arizona took place on November 4, 1952, as part of the 1952 United States presidential election. State voters chose four [3] representatives, or electors, to the Electoral College, who voted for president and vice president.

With his win in the state, Eisenhower became the first Republican presidential candidate since Herbert Hoover in 1928 to win the state.

This election would signal the beginning of a long Republican dominance in elections in Arizona, where Republicans won every single presidential election in the state save 1996, where there was a significant third party vote, and Republicans would hold at least one Senate seat, that would finally end in 2020, when Joe Biden won the state, and Arizona elected a second Democratic senator for the first time since this election.

1952 United States presidential election in Arizona
Party Candidate Votes %
Republican Dwight D. Eisenhower 152,042 58.35%
Democratic Adlai Stevenson 108,528 41.65%
Total votes 260,570 100%

Results by county Edit

County Dwight David Eisenhower
Adlai Stevension II
Margin Total votes cast [6]
# % # % # %
Apache 1,767 59.70% 1,193 40.30% 574 19.40% 2,960
Cochise 6,495 53.52% 5,640 46.48% 855 7.04% 12,135
Coconino 3,827 61.38% 2,408 38.62% 1,419 22.76% 6,235
Gila 3,770 43.34% 4,928 56.66% -1,158 -13.32% 8,698
Graham 2,191 49.90% 2,200 50.10% -9 -0.20% 4,391
Greenlee 1,377 31.32% 3,019 68.68% -1,642 -37.36% 4,396
Maricopa 77,249 60.57% 50,285 39.43% 26,964 21.14% 127,534
Mohave 1,746 62.09% 1,066 37.91% 680 24.18% 2,812
Navajo 3,478 57.29% 2,593 42.71% 885 14.58% 6,071
Pima 32,113 60.19% 21,237 39.81% 10,876 20.38% 53,350
Pinal 4,985 52.44% 4,522 47.56% 463 4.88% 9,507
Santa Cruz 1,716 55.70% 1,365 44.30% 351 11.40% 3,081
Yavapai 6,567 63.17% 3,828 36.83% 2,739 26.34% 10,395
Yuma 4,761 51.72% 4,444 48.28% 317 3.44% 9,205
Totals 152,042 58.31% 108,728 41.69% 43,314 16.62% 260,770
  1. ^"United States Presidential election of 1952 - Encyclopædia Britannica" . Retrieved July 25, 2017 .
  2. ^
  3. "U.S. presidential election, 1952". Facts on File. Archived from the original on October 29, 2013 . Retrieved October 24, 2013 . Eisenhower, born in Texas, considered a resident of New York, and headquartered at the time in Paris, finally decided to run for the Republican nomination
  4. ^
  5. "1952 Election for the Forty-Second Term (1953-57)" . Retrieved July 25, 2017 .
  6. ^
  7. "1952 Presidential General Election Results – Arizona" . Retrieved July 25, 2017 .
  8. ^
  9. "The American Presidency Project – Election of 1952" . Retrieved July 25, 2017 .
  10. ^ Scammon, Richard M. (compiler) America at the Polls: A Handbook of Presidential Election Statistics 1920-1964 p. 42 0405077114

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