PRESIDENTIAL CAMPAIGN & ELECTIONS
OVERVIEWS & CHRONOLOGIES: 1952
By Bonnie K. Goodman, BA, MLIS
Election Year: 1952
Election Day Date: November 4, 1952
- Dwight Eisenhower, Richard Nixon, Republican 34,075,529 55.18% 442 83.2%
- Adlai Stevenson, John Sparkman, Democratic 27,375,090 44.33% 89 16.8%
- Other (+) – - 301,323 0.49% 0 0.0%
Voter Turnout: 63.3%
Central Forums/Campaign Methods for Addressing Voters:
Whistle-stop tour, speeches, radio; the introduction of television (ads, speeches)
Election Law/Campaign Finance Changes:
Incumbent President and Vice President on Election Day:
Harry S. Truman, Alben W. Barkley, Democratic 1945-1953
GDP: 133 Nominal GDP (billions of dollars): $358.3 Real GDP (billions of 2005 dollars): $2,243.9GDP Deflator (index 2005=100%): 15.97 Population (in thousands): 156,954 Nominal GDP per capita (current dollars): $2,283 Real GDP per capita (year 2005 dollars): $14,297
Number of Daily Newspapers: 1,426 (1950)
Average Daily Circulation: 53,829,000 (1950)
- Radio 40,700,000 (1950)
- Television 3,875 ,000 (1950)
Method of Choosing Electors: Popular vote (mostly General Ticket/Winner Take All)
Method of Choosing Nominees:
- National party convention
- Presidential preference primaries
Central Issues (Nomination/Primaries):
- Growth of Communism; Europe; Communists infiltrating the State Department
- American “Winter of Discontent” (1951 to 1952); stalemated Korean War; unpopular President Harry S. Truman would not commit to seeking another term
Leading Candidates (Nomination/Primaries):
Democratic Party Candidates:
- Adlai Stevenson, governor of Illinois
- Estes Kefauver, U.S. senator from Tennessee
- Richard Russell, Jr., U.S. senator from Georgia
- W. Averell Harriman, former U.S. Secretary of Commerce from New York
- Alben W. Barkley, U.S. Vice President from Kentucky
- Robert S. Kerr, U.S. senator from Oklahoma
Republican Party Candidates
- Dwight D. Eisenhower, General of the Army from New York
- Robert Taft, U.S. senator from Ohio
- Harold Stassen, former governor of Minnesota
- Earl Warren, governor of California
Main Controversies (Nomination/Primaries):
- The Draft Eisenhower movement;
- Republicans wanted to run a campaign against Truman aides’ corruption and opposition to anti-Communist Wisconsin Senator Joseph McCarthy
- Republican formula for victory, K1C3: Korea, crime, Communism, and corruption, the main issues of the campaign
- Korean War; Truman announced all troops would be withdrawn from the unpopular war in March 1952 claimed decision was made in 1951
Campaign Innovations (Nomination/Primaries):
Major Personalities (Nomination/Primaries): Robert Taft; Dwight Eisenhower, Joseph McCarthy; Peter G. Peterson (Market Facts, later Secretary of Commerce for Nixon);
Republican New York Governor Thomas E. Dewey and Senator Henry Cabot Lodge, Jr. of Massachusetts; “National Citizens for Eisenhower”;
Turning Points (Nomination/Primaries):
- Republicans remained split between Thomas Dewey’s Eastern moderates and Robert Taft’s Midwestern conservative wings of the party. Dewey refused to run for the president a third time and was part of the Draft Eisenhower movement. Taft chose to run again to preserve conservative interests.
- Dwight Eisenhower, moderate Republican: critical of the welfare state, could New Deal reforms; world leadership for the United States
- Staff campaigners campaigned in New Hampshire for Eisenhower while, he was on duty in Europe, he returned to the United States after he won
- March 11, 1952, Eisenhower won the New Hampshire primary by 50% to 38% and won all of the Republican delegates. The next day he officially announced his candidacy
- Taft won six primaries and Ike won five, Taft had a lead in the number of delegates entering the convention
- On March 2, 1952, Truman withdrew from the race after he lost the New Hampshire primary to Estes Kefauver
- Truman supported as a successor Illinois Governor Adlai Stevenson (declined to run) or Vice President Alben Barkley
- Kefauver won twelve of sixteen primaries, but was not a favorite of the bosses
- The South supported Georgia Senator Richard Russell
- “I wish you would let me know what you intend to do.” Truman wrote to Eisenhower in December 1951
- “I do not feel that I have any duty to seek a political nomination.”Eisenhower’s response
- “A man who really understands the problems of the world.” Thomas Dewy referring to Dwight Eisenhower
- “International bankers, the Dewey organization allied with them, Republican New Dealers.” Robert A. Taft about the draft Eisenhower movement, supporters
- “Any American who would have that many other Americans pay him that compliment would be proud or he would not be an American.” Dwight Eisenhower’s reaction to winning the New Hampshire primary
- “The boys in the smoke-filled rooms have never taken very well to me.” Estes Kefauver
- “I just don’t want to be nominated for the Presidency. I have no ambition to be President. I have no desire for the office, mentally, temperamentally, or physically.”"Well, what’ll you do if we nominate you anyway?” “Guess I’ll have to shoot myself.” Exchange between Adlai Stevenson and a Democrat about the nomination
- Democratic 15, 38.7% delegates
- Republican 13, 39.0% delegates
Republican Jul 01, 1952
- Robert A. Taft: 2,794,736, 35.84%
- Dwight David Eisenhower: 2,050,708, 26.30%
- Earl Warren: 1,349,036, 17.30%
- Harold Edward Stassen: 881,702, 11.31%
- Thomas H. Werdel: 521,110, 6.68%
- George T. Mickelson: 63,879, 0.82%
- Douglas MacArthur: 44,209, 0.57%
Democratic Party: Jul 01, 1952
- C. Estes Kefauver: 3,169,448, 64.55%
- Edmund G. “Pat” Brown: 485,578, 9.89%
- Richard B. Russell, Jr.: 371,179, 7.56%
- Matthew Mansfield Neely: 191,471, 3.90%
- Robert J. Bulkley: 184,880, 3.77%
- Hubert Horatio Humphrey, Jr.: 102,527, 2.09%
- Adlai Ewing Stevenson II: 81,096, 1.65%
- Dwight David Eisenhower: 64,911, 1.32%
- Harry S Truman(I): 62,345, 1.27%
- Unpledged: 46,361, 0.94%
Conventions (Dates & Locations):
- Republican National Convention: July 7-11, 1952, International Amphitheatre; Chicago, 1st ballot, Dwight D. Eisenhower (New York), Richard M. Nixon of (California)
- Democratic National Convention: July 21-26, 1952, International Amphitheatre; Chicago, Sam Rayburn (Texas) 3rd ballot, Adlai E. Stevenson (Illinois), John J. Sparkman (Alabama)
Convention Turning Points:
Republican National Convention:
- Robert Taft led Dwight Eisenhower in the delegate count at the convention’s commencement
- Eisenhower won the first ballot by a 595–500 margin
- After shifts from several states, Eisenhower won the nomination with 845 votes
- Eisenhower chose as his running mate Sen. Richard M. Nixon of California tp placate western conservatives
Democratic National Convention:
- Kefauver led in delegates at the commencement of the convention
- Truman refuse to endorse any candidate, 11 candidates at the convention vying for the nomination
- After Adlai Stevenson’s rousing speech welcoming the delegates to the convention prompting the delegates to chose Steven as the compromise candidate
- Party nominated Adlai E. Stevenson on the third ballot despite his reluctance
- First candidate legitimately drafted to the nomination since Garfield in 1880
Number of Ballots to Choose Nominees:
Republican Party Nomination:
Presidential 1st Ballot After Shifts
- Dwight D. Eisenhower 595 845
- Robert A. Taft 500 280
- Earl Warren 81 77
- Harold Stassen 20 0
- Douglas MacArthur 10 4
- Thomas E. Dewey 1 0
Democratic Party Nomination:
Presidential 3rd Ballot
- Adlai Stevenson 273 324.5 617.5
- Estes Kefauver 340 362.5 275.5
- Richard B. Russell 268 294 261
- W. Averell Harriman 123.5 121 0
- Alben W. Barkley 48.5 78.5 67.5
- Robert S. Kerr 65 5.5 0
- Paul A. Dever 37.5 30.5 0.5
- Hubert Humphrey 26 0 0
- J. William Fulbright 22 0 0
- Scattering 26.5 13.5 8
Third Party Candidates & Nominations:
Convention Keynote Speaker:
Nominating Speech Speakers (President):
- Republican Party: Condemned the Roosevelt and Truman administrations; emd the war in Korea, end “communist subversion”; support for the Taft-Hartley Act, restricted activities of labor unions
- Democratic Party: Continuing agricultural price supports; repeal of the Taft-Hartley Act; eradication of discrimination; Convention speeches vigorously defended the Korean War.
General Election Controversies/Issues:
- Accusations that Republican Vice-Presidential candidate Richard Nixon had secret slush fund; Eisenhower considered dropping Nixon from the ticket;
- Eisenhower’s support for McCarthyism;
- K1C3; “the mess in Washington”
Campaign Innovations (General Election):
- Use of television to speak with the voters; Richard Nixon’s Checker’s Speech
- Eisenhower: sound bites/ads “Ike for President” “You like Ike, I like Ike, everybody likes Ike”
- Stevenson bought 30-minute blocks on TV for long speeches, but no one watched, too long
Major Personalities (General Election): Senator William Jenner, Indiana; Senator Joseph R. McCarthy, Wisconsin; General George C. Marshall
Campaign Tactics: Stumping
- Republican strategy “Attack! Attack! Attack!”; focus on stay-at-homes, rather than independent voters; advertising: “packaging” Eisenhower as a product; “merchandising Eisenhower’s frankness, honesty, and integrity”; equally television and personal appearances. Eisenhower commercials major feature especially towards the end of the campaign; Stumping, 33,000 miles, by plane, and gave two hundred speeches, forty were televised.
- Eisenhower never took the low road in attacks against the Democrats and Stevenson, Senators Jenner and McCarthy, and running mate, Richard Nixon. Nixon were charge of the attacks
- Stevenson stumped; witty campaigner; but also serious about the issues
Turning Points (General Election):
- Eisenhower’s early moderation on the issues did not drum up support and the campaign was lackluster
- In September, Eisenhower had a two-hour conference with Senator Taft in New York appeasing party right-wingers. Issued a statement, and the main campaign would be “liberty against creeping socialism,” K 1 C 2 formula
- October 3, 1952, Milwaukee, Eisenhower intended to defend his friend General George C. Marshall, who William Jenner called a “front man for traitors”, and Joseph McCarthy who called Marshall a “traitor”, the passage was in the press release, but pressure from Republican party leaders forced Eisenhower to omit it from the speech
- September 18, the New York Post headlined “SECRET NIXON FUND” “Secret Rich Men’s TrustFund Keeps Nixon in Style Far Beyond His Salary” “Fund Keeps Nixon in Style Far Beyond His Salary.” Accused Sixty-six Californians of setting up a “slush fund” with over $18,000 for Nixon, while he was a Senator. Became front page news over the country
- Taft defended Nixon, party leaders and Eisenhower considered dropping Nixon from the ticket, how could Eisenhower run against corruption, if there was corruption within the ticket
- September 23, Richard Nixon gave his “Checkers” speech on television defended his fund as legitimate, accounted his personal finances, recounted his humble upbringing, and the simple style his family lives. Attracted the largest television audience to date; the Republican national headquarters received thousands of letters, cards, and telegrams in support of Nixon
- Dwight D. Eisenhower ”I Shall Go to Korea” Speech, 1952, October 25, 1952 Eisenhower announced he would end the Korean War and travel to Korea if elected; became the front page story; Democrats called it a “grandstand gesture,” but the American public approved and, although the polls had Eisenhower in a slight lead, now showed he was certain to win. Stevenson claimed later that he had considered announcing to go to Korea, but decided against it. “For all practical purposes, the contest ended that night.” A reporter
Popular Campaign Slogans:
- “I Like Ike”
- “Ike: For Prosperity Without War”
- “All the Way With Adlai”
- “Go Forward with Stevenson-Sparkman”
- Republican: “I Like Ike”
Influential Campaign Appeals or Ads:
- Republican: Dwight D. Eisenhower “I like Ike” “time for a change”
- “Ike for President”; “The Man from Abilene”; “High Prices”; “Sturdy Lifeboat”; “Bus Driver”; “Nixon on Corruption”; “Never Had It So Good”
- Democratic: “Ike is running like a dry creek”
Money Spent (Each Campaign/Party/Overall):
Defining Quotation (Winning Candidate):
- “The biggest fact about the Korean war, is this — it was never inevitable, it was never inescapable….It will begin with its President taking a simple, firm resolution. The 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. I shall make that trip. Only in that way could I learn how best to serve the American people in the cause of peace. I shall go to Korea. That is my second pledge to the American people.” Dwight D. Eisenhower’s ”I Shall Go to Korea” Speech, 1952, October 25, 1952
- 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 sent all the way from Texas. Black and white spotted. And our little girl-Trisha, the 6-year-old-named it Checkers. And you know the 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. Richard Nixon’s ”Checkers” Speech, 1952 September 23, 1952
- “I know that charges of disloyalty have . . . been leveled against . . . Marshall. I have been privileged for thirty-five years to know General Marshall personally. I know him, as a man and as a soldier, to be dedicated with singular selflessness and the profoundest patriotism to the service of America. And this episode is a sobering lesson in the way freedom must not defend itself.” Dwight Eisenhower, October 3, 1952,
Defining Quotation (Losing Candidate):
- “The ordeal of the twentieth century, the bloodiest, most turbulent era of the whole Christian age, is far from over. Sacrifice, patience, understanding, and implacable purpose may be our lot of years to come. Let’s face it. Let’s talk sense to the American people. Let’s tell them the truth, that there are no gains without pains, that there — 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.” Adlai Stevenson, Address Accepting the Presidential Nomination at the Democratic National Convention in Chicago, July 26, 1952
- “They tell me I laugh too much, I don’t see how in hell you could do this job without laughing about it occasionally.”…..”I’m glad the General wasn’t hurt. But I wasn’t surprised that it happened — I’ve been telling him for two months that nobody could stand on that platform.” GOP: “Grouchy Old Pessimists.”… “My opponent has been worrying about my funnybone; I’m worrying about his backbone.” Adlai Stevenson various examples of his campaign wit
- “Because we believe in a free mind, we are also fighting those who, in the name of anti-communism, would assail the community of freedom itself. . . . The pillorying of the innocent has caused the wise to summer and the timid to retreat. I should shudder for this country, if I thought that we, too, must surrender to the sinister figure of the Inquisitor, of the great accuser. . . .” Adlai Steven on the McCarthyites assaults on America’s Bill of Rights
- “And, in any case, come back in 1956. If you do, I hope to have the privilege of welcoming you again — as Governor of Illinois.” Adlai Stevenson
Significant books from the campaign:
- Johnson, Walter. How We Drafted Adlai Stevenson. New York: Alfred A. Knopf, 1955.
Lasting Legacy of Campaign:
- Farmers returned to support the Republican Party
- The South continued to move towards supporting the Republicans
- Consensus a military man was the best candidate to end the war in Korea, and deal with the Cold War and Communist subversion, landslide victory
- January 5, 1949: “Truman proposes the “Fair Deal” in his State of the Union address.”
- April 4, 1949: “Twelve nations from Europe and North America sign the North Atlantic Treaty.”
- May 12, 1949: “The Soviet Union lifts the Berlin blockade.”
- September 23, 1949: “Truman announces that the Soviet Union has detonated an atomic bomb.”
- October 1, 1949: Mao Zedong announces the establishment of the People’s Republic of China.
- January 31, 1950: “Truman announces that the United States will develop a hydrogen bomb.”
- February 9, 1950: Senator Joseph McCarthy (R-WI) speaks in Wheeling, West Virginia, and charges that the State Department employs 205 known Communists.
- February 14, 1950: “Mao and Stalin sign the Sino-Soviet alliance.”
- April 7, 1950: “The National Security Council presents NSC-68 to Truman.”
- June 25, 1950: North Korea invades South Korea.
- June 30, 1950: Korean War begins. “Truman announces that he has ordered American ground forces stationed in Japan to Korea. General Douglas MacArthur commands the U.S. (and United Nations) troops.”
- November 7, 1950: Mid-Term Elections, Republicans gain seats in both Houses.
- November 26, 1950: “China launches a massive counteroffensive against American advances in North Korea.”
- December 16, 1950: “Truman proclaims a state of national emergency and imposes wage and price controls.”
- April 5, 1951: “Julius and Ethel Rosenberg are sentenced to death following their convictions on conspiring to provide secret information to the Soviet Union.”
- April 11, 1951: “Truman relieves General Douglas MacArthur from his command of both U.S. and U.N. forces in Korea.”
- October 10, 1951: “Truman signs the Mutual Security Act, authorizing more than $7 billion for foreign economic, military, and technical aid.”
- November 15, 1951: Prohibition Convention nominates C. Stuart Hamblen for President.
- 1951-1952: American “Winter of Discontent”; stalemated Korean War; unpopular President Harry S. Truman would not commit to seeking another term.
- March 1952: Truman announces all troops would be withdrawn from the unpopular Korean War, in a decision claimed to have been made in 1951.
- March 29, 1952: “Truman declares that he will not be a candidate for re-election.” 1952: Draft Eisenhower movement.
- Republicans want to run a campaign against Truman aides’ corruption and opposition to anti-Communist Wisconsin Senator Joseph McCarthy
- Republican formula for victory, K1C3: Korea, crime, Communism, and corruption, the main issues of the campaign K1C3; “the mess in Washington”
- Republicans remained split between Thomas Dewey’s Eastern moderates and Robert Taft’s Midwestern conservative wings of the party.
- Dewey refuses to run for the president a third time and was part of the Draft Eisenhower movement.
- Taft chose to run again to preserve conservative interests.
- March 11, 1952: Eisenhower wins the New Hampshire primary by 50% to 38% and won all of the Republican delegates. The next day he officially announced his candidacy. Staff campaigners campaign in New Hampshire for Eisenhower while he is still on duty in Europe, he returns to the United States after he wins the primary.
- March 2, 1952: Truman withdraws from the Democratic Presidential nomination race after he lost the New Hampshire primary to Estes Kefauver
- Truman supported as a successor Illinois Governor Adlai Stevenson (declined to run) or Vice President Alben Barkley
- Taft wins six primaries and Ike won five, Taft has a lead in the number of delegates entering the convention
- Kefauver wins twelve of sixteen primaries, but was not a favorite of the bosses
- The South supported Georgia Senator Richard Russell
- May 5, 1952: Social Labor Party Convention nominates Eric Hass for President.
- June 2, 1952: SOC Convention Darlington Hoopes
- July 6, 1952: Progressive Party Convention nominated Vincent William Hallinan
- July 7-11, 1952: Republican National Convention convenes at the International Amphitheatre, Chicago, nominates on the 1st ballot, Dwight D. Eisenhower (New York) for President, Richard M. Nixon of (California); Taft leads Eisenhower in the delegate count at the convention’s commencement. Eisenhower wins on the first ballot by a 595–500 margin, but does not achieve a majority for the nomination. After shifts from several states, Eisenhower win the nomination with 845 votes Eisenhower chose as his running mate Sen. Richard M. Nixon of California to placate western conservatives
- July 21-26, 1952: Democratic National Convention convenes at the International Amphitheatre, Chicago, Sam Rayburn (Texas) serves as chairman. Nominates on the 3rd ballot, Adlai E. Stevenson (Illinois) for President and John J. Sparkman (Alabama) for Vice President. Kefauver leads in delegates at the commencement of the convention with 11 candidates at the convention vying for the nomination. President Truman refuses to endorse any candidate. Adlai Stevenson’s rousing speech welcoming the delegates to the convention prompts the delegates to chose Steven as the compromise candidate. Party nominates Adlai E. Stevenson on the third ballot despite his reluctance, he is first candidate legitimately drafted to the nomination since Garfield in 1880.
- July 26, 1952: Adlai Stevenson gives an address accepting the Presidential Nomination at the Democratic National Convention in Chicago.
- August 28, 1952: American Labor Party Convention nominates Vincent William Hallinan for President.
- August 31, 1952: Constitution Party Convention nominates Douglas MacArthur for President.
- 1952: Eisenhower stumping campaign, 33,000 miles, by plane, and gave two hundred speeches, forty were televised. Eisenhower commercials major feature especially towards the end of the campaign; sound bites/ads “Ike for President” “You like Ike, I like Ike, everybody likes Ike”
- September 2-November 1, 1952: “Truman campaigns on behalf of Democratic candidate Adlai Stevenson.”
- 1952: Stevenson stumps; witty campaigner; but also serious about the issues. Stevenson also buys 30-minute blocks on TV for long speeches, but no one watches, because they are too long.
- Eisenhower never takes the low road in attacks against the Democrats and Stevenson, Senators Jenner and McCarthy, and running mate, Richard Nixon. Nixon are in charge of the attacks
- September 1952: Eisenhower’s early moderation on the issues did not drum up support and the campaign was lackluster. Eisenhower has a two-hour conference with Senator Taft in New York appeasing party right-wingers. Issued a statement, and the main campaign would be “liberty against creeping socialism,” K1C2 formula
- September 18, 1952: the New York Post headline “SECRET NIXON FUND” “Secret Rich Men’s Trust Fund Keeps Nixon in Style Far Beyond His Salary” “Fund Keeps Nixon in Style Far Beyond His Salary.” The paper accuses Sixty-six Californians of setting up a “slush fund” with over $18,000 for Nixon, while he was a Senator. Became front page news over the country Accusations that Republican Vice-Presidential candidate Richard Nixon has a secret slush fund.
- Taft defends Nixon, party leaders and Eisenhower consider dropping Nixon from the ticket, since how could Eisenhower run against corruption, if there is corruption within the ticket
- September 23, 1952: Richard Nixon gives his “Checkers” speech on television defends his fund as legitimate, accounts his personal finances, recounts his humble upbringing, and the simple style his family lives. Nixon speech attracts the largest television audience to date; the Republican national headquarters receives thousands of letters, cards, and telegrams in support of Nixon
- October 3, 1952: In Milwaukee, Eisenhower intends to defend his friend General George C. Marshall, who William Jenner calls a “front man for traitors”, and Joseph McCarthy who called Marshall a “traitor”, the passage was in the press release, but pressure from Republican party leaders forces Eisenhower to omit it from his speech.
- October 10, 1952: “President Truman came charging into New York at night for the ninety-eighth stop on his two-week whistle-stop tour of the country by special train, continuing his appeal for the election of Gov. Adlai E. Stevenson of Illinois Democratic candidate for President, and his attack on Gen. Dwight D. Eisenhower, the Republican nominee.” Truman charges that Eisenhower’s tactics imperil nation’s morale. (NYT)
- October 25, 1952: Dwight D. Eisenhower gives ”I Shall Go to Korea” Speech. Eisenhower announces he would end the Korean War and travel to Korea if elected, which becomes the front-page story. Democrats call it a “grandstand gesture,” but the American public approves and, although the polls had Eisenhower in a slight lead, they now show he is certain to win.
- 1952: Stevenson later claims that he had considered announcing to go to Korea, but decided against it.
- November 4, 1952: Election Day; Republicans Dwight D. Eisenhower is elected President and Richard M. Nixon is elected Vice President.
- December 15, 1952: Presidential Electors cast the electoral votes in their state capitals.