Eisenhower beat Stevenson in an election set amist a hotbed of events: McCarthyism, Communism, and the Soviet acquisition of weapons.
Explain how McCarthyism, communism, and the Soviet acquisition of weapons led to a heated campaign between Eisenhower and Stevenson in 1952.
Harry Truman had the opportunity to run again, since the 22nd amendment did not affect the current administration. However, his popularity had plummeted, leaving former senator and anti-crime crusader, Senator Estes Kefauver as the leading candidate.
Kefauver did not win the Democratic nomination. Many party leaders knew his crime fighting exposed links between the Democratic party and the Mafia and refused him the ticket. Adlai Stevenson of Illinois instead took the nomination.
The Republican convention was emotionally and controversially-charged; Eisenhower won the nomination in part due to a "Fair Play" vote. Eisenhower picked Nixon as his running mate.
The election focused on social issues as well as international issues, including how to stop the communists abroad and domestically. Many of the issues and politics were played out on television, for the first time in history, as political ads.
Republican Dwight D. Eisenhower eventually beat Stevenson in a landslide, ending 20 consecutive years of Democratic control of the White House.
Adlai Stevenson (1900 – 1965) was an American politician, noted for his intellectual demeanor, eloquent oratory, and promotion of liberal causes in the Democratic Party. He served as the 31st Governor of Illinois and received the Democratic Party's nomination for President in 1952 and 1956; both times, he was defeated by Republican Dwight D. Eisenhower. He sought the Democratic presidential nomination for a third time in the election of 1960 but was defeated by Senator John F. Kennedy of Massachusetts.
Dwight David "Ike" Eisenhower was the thirty-fourth President of the United States from 1953 until 1961. He was previously a five-star general in the United States Army during World War II, serving as Supreme Commander of the Allied Forces in Europe. He had responsibility for planning and supervising the invasion of North Africa in Operation Torch in 1942-43 and the successful invasion of France and Germany in 1944-45, from the Western Front.
Robert Taft was a Republican Senator and a prominent conservative statesman and presidential hopeful. As the leading opponent of the New Deal in the Senate from 1939 to 1953, he led the successful effort by the conservative coalition to curb the power of labor unions, and was a major proponent of the foreign policy of non-interventionism.
The 1952 Election
The presidential election of 1952 took place in an era when Cold War tension between the U.S. and the Soviet Union was escalating rapidly. McCarthy's so-called "witch hunt", the Korean War, the Communist Revolution in China, the 1949 Soviet acquisition of nuclear weapons, and the early-1950s recession set the stage for a hotly fought presidential contest.
The expected candidate for the Democratic nomination was incumbent President Harry S. Truman.Since the newly passed 22nd Amendment, which limited the President to two terms in office, did not apply to whoever was president at the time of its passage, he was eligible to run again. However, Truman entered 1952 with his popularity plummeting, according to polls. Truman soon announced that he would not seek reelection.
With Truman's withdrawal, Estes Kefauver, U.S. Senator from Tennessee, became the front-runner for the nomination, and he won most of the primaries. However, most party bosses (including Truman) strongly disliked Kefauver. Instead, with Truman taking the lead, the party bosses eventually settled on Governor Adlai Stevenson of Illinois for the nomination.
The 1952 Democratic National Convention was held in Chicago, Illinois. Stevenson finally agreed to enter his name as a candidate for the nomination . Kefauver led on the first ballot, but had far fewer votes than necessary to win. Stevenson gradually gained strength until he was nominated on the third ballot. Truman and a small group of political insiders chose Sparkman, a conservative and segregationist from Alabama, for the vice-presidential nomination.
The fight for the Republican nomination was between General Dwight D. Eisenhower, who became the candidate of the party's moderate eastern establishment, Senator Robert Taft of Ohio, the longtime leader of the GOP's conservative wing, and Governor Earl Warren of California, who appealed to Western delegates and independent voters.
Eisenhower scored a major victory in the New Hampshire primary when his supporters wrote his name onto the ballot, giving him an upset victory over Taft. However, from there until the Republican Convention, the primaries were divided fairly evenly between the two men, and by the time the convention opened the race for the nomination was still too close to call.
When the 1952 Republican National Convention opened in Chicago, Eisenhower's managers, led by Thomas Dewey and Massachusetts Senator Henry Cabot Lodge, Jr., accused Taft's leaders of unfairly denying delegate spots to Eisenhower supporters. Lodge and Dewey proposed to evict the pro-Taft delegates in these states and replace them with pro-Eisenhower delegates. They called this proposal "Fair Play". The convention voted to support Fair Play, and Taft lost many Southern delegates. Eisenhower also received a boost when several uncommitted state delegations decided to support him. This decision decided the nomination in Eisenhower's favor. Following Eisenhower's nomination, the convention chose young Senator Richard Nixon of California as Eisenhower's running mate.
The Eisenhower campaign was one of the first presidential campaigns to make a concerted effort to win the female vote. Many of his radio and television commercials discussed topics such as education, inflation, ending the war in Korea, and other issues that were thought to appeal to women. The Eisenhower campaign made extensive use of female campaign workers. On election day, Eisenhower won a solid majority of the female vote. Eisenhower also campaigned by attacking "Korea, Communism, and Corruption"-- what the Republicans regarded as the failures of the outgoing Truman administration.
In return, the Democrats criticized Senator Joseph McCarthy and other GOP conservatives as "fearmongers" recklessly trampling on the civil liberties of government employees.
Eisenhower had retained his enormous personal popularity from his leading role in World War II, and huge crowds turned out to see him around the nation. His campaign slogan, "I Like Ike", was one of the most popular in American history . Stevenson concentrated on giving a series of thoughtful speeches around the nation. He too drew large crowds. However, Eisenhower maintained a comfortable lead in the polls throughout most of the campaign.
A notable event of the 1952 campaign concerned a scandal that emerged when Richard Nixon, Eisenhower's running mate, was accused by several newspapers of receiving undeclared "gifts" from wealthy donors. However, Nixon saved his political career with a half-hour speech on live television. In the 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.
On election day, Eisenhower won in a landslide, ending 20 consecutive years of Democratic control of the White House. He took over 55% of the popular vote and won 39 of the 48 states. He took three Southern states that the Republicans had won only once since Reconstruction: Virginia, Florida, and Texas.