The Election of 1972
In 1972, Republican president Richard Nixon ran for re-election against George McGovern, a Democratic senator from South Dakota. The two men, both career politicians, stood at opposite ends of the American political spectrum.
Here are some of the hot issues in the 1972 election. Shortly after the site launched in 2002, we asked our viewers to vote on these positions. Below are the results from the poll.
The Vietnam War
Though the number of U.S. troops fighting in Vietnam had been reduced drastically, the war continued to divide Americans.
Candidate/Party 1 -- Believes that achieving "peace with honor" in Vietnam is necessary to preserve America's international standing.
Candidate/Party 2 -- Believes the war is immoral and calls for an immediate and full withdrawal of U.S. forces from Vietnam.
The Role of Federal Government
Progressive government programs, stemming from Franklin Roosevelt's New Deal and Lyndon Johnson's Great Society, were being re-examined and evaluated.
Candidate/Party 1 -- Thinks that certain governmental programs are best administered by the individual states, rather than the federal government. This approach is called "the New Federalism."
Candidate/Party 2 -- Thinks that the federal government should be responsible for administering and enforcing a wide-range of programs designed to benefit those most in need. This candidate declares that every American family should be guaranteed an annual income.
Liberalism vs. Conservatism
Social and political issues divided Americans along liberal or conservative lines.
Candidate/Party 1 -- Appeals to what he calls "the new American majority" to stand up for patriotism, morality, and religion when considering their positions on the divisive issues of the day.
Candidate/Party 2 -- Espouses a doctrine that promotes individual liberty and freedom of expression. Believes that the government should play a greater role in promoting racial fairness and inclusion for all citizens.
Here are the actual results of the election of 1972:
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My American Experience
Who is your favorite 20th-century American president? Was it FDR? Reagan? Clinton? Or one of the other 14 men who helped usher the United Sates through the 1900s? Who do you think was the most influential?