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1956 Presidential Elections - History


1956 Elections Eisenhower VS stevenson

With the 1956 elections approaching the primary question was whether President Eisenhower would run for a second term. He had suffered a heart attack in 1955. In February, he announced his decision to seek a second term. He was immediately nominated for re-election by the Republicans in San Francisco. The only question was whether Nixon would remain on the ticket. Eisenhower decided in favor of keeping Nixon on as his running mate.

At the 1956 Democratic convention, in Chicago, the delegates renominated Adlai Stevenson. The only drama at the convention occurred when Stevenson opened up to the convention body to decide on his Vice Presidential running mate. John F. Kennedy opposed the veteran Senator Estes Kefauver for the nomination. Senator Kefauver won.

Stevenson faced almost insurmountable odds, in opposing the very popular incumbent President. Stevenson attempted to contrast his vigor, with Eisenhower's health problems. Stevenson made proposals regarding benefits for senior citizens, health, education, natural resources, and economic policies. He also called for the end of the draft and the creation of a professional army. Stevenson further called for a Test Ban Treaty on Atomic weapons with the Soviet Union. Stevenson's efforts were unsuccessful. Eisenhower won a landslide victory on November 6, 1956.


1956 Presidential Election (FDR's Two Term Presidency)

The United States Presidential Election of 1956 pitted incumbent President Dwight D. Eisenhower against his Presidential predecessor Adlai Stevenson II. The election is often considered a vital part of the Cold War, as it would determine whether the United States would fall behind or would leap ahead of the Soviets.

From 1933-1953, with the exception of Charles Adams III, and the start of the Great Depression, all Presidential elections had put a Democrat into the Presidency. This was largely the result of President Franklin D. Roosevelt's two terms as President from 1933-1937 then again from 1941-1945, and then the term served out by his vice-President Henry A. Wallace from 1945-1949, then a term served by Illinois Governor Adlai Stevenson II, grandson of Grover Cleveland's VP Adlai Stevenson I, from 1949-1953.

The primary issue of debate during the Presidential campaign was the recently concluded Korean War. Both political parties, the Republicans and the Democrats, believed that their candidate was responsible for the victories of the Korean War. The Republicans arguing that it was under Eisenhower's leadership as General that ended the Korean War two years earlier then its predicted ending date of 1953, and Democrats arguing that it was under Stevenson and not Eisenhower that the Korean War, a rumor proven to be true in 1957, elimaiting any chance of Stevenson successfully running in 1960.

Pro-Eisenhower supporters, on the other hand, asserted that their candidate was the one who practically forced Stevenson to use an atomic bomb and end the warfare decisively for a Democratic victory. Eisenhower was regarded in high international esteem, and was favored publicly by both Syngman Rhee and Chiang Kai-shek, and had a 99% approval rating when starting his second term in January 1957.


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Republican Party Edit

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 A. Taft from Ohio, the longtime leader of the Republican Party's conservative wing Governor Earl Warren of California, who appealed to Western delegates and independent voters and former Governor Harold Stassen of Minnesota, who still had a base of support in the Midwest.

The moderate Eastern Republicans were led by New York Governor Thomas E. Dewey, the party's presidential nominee in 1944 and 1948. The moderates tended to be interventionists, who felt that America needed to fight the Cold War overseas and confront the Soviet Union in Eurasia they were also willing to accept most aspects of the social welfare state created by the New Deal in the 1930s. The moderates were also concerned with ending the Republicans' losing streak in presidential elections they felt that the personally popular Eisenhower had the best chance of beating the Democrats. For this reason, Dewey himself declined the notion of a third run for president, even though he still had a large amount of support within the party. The GOP had been out of power for 20 years, and the sentiment that a proper two-party system needed to be reestablished was strong it was also felt that a Republican Party in control of the White House would have more incentive to rein in unpopular demagogues such as Wisconsin Senator Joseph McCarthy.

The conservative Republicans, led by Taft, were based in the Midwest and parts of the South. The Midwest was a bastion of conservatism and isolationist sentiment, dislike of Europeans, in particular Great Britain, was common, and there was a widespread feeling that the British manipulated US foreign policy and were eager to kowtow to the Soviet Union, although attitudes were beginning to change among the younger generation who had fought in World War II. Taft had unsuccessfully sought the Republican nomination in the 1940 and 1948 presidential elections, losing both times to moderate candidates from New York (Wilkie and Dewey). By now aged 63, Taft felt that this was his last chance to run for president thus, his friends and supporters worked extra-hard to ensure that he would win the nomination.

Warren, although highly popular in California, refused to campaign in the presidential primaries and thus limited his chances of winning the nomination. He did retain the support of the California delegation, and his supporters hoped that, in the event of an Eisenhower–Taft deadlock, Warren might emerge as a compromise candidate.

After being persuaded to run, 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, and by the time the convention opened, the race for the nomination was still too close to call. Taft won the Nebraska, Wisconsin, Illinois, and South Dakota primaries, while Eisenhower won the New Jersey, Pennsylvania, Massachusetts, and Oregon primaries. Stassen and Warren only won their home states of Minnesota and California respectively, which effectively ended their chances of earning the nomination. General Douglas MacArthur also got ten delegates from various states (mostly Oregon), but had made it clear from early in the race that he had no interest in being nominated.

Republican Convention Edit

When the 1952 Republican National Convention opened in Chicago, most political experts rated Taft and Eisenhower as neck-and-neck in the delegate vote totals. Eisenhower's managers, led by Dewey and Massachusetts Senator Henry Cabot Lodge Jr., accused Taft of "stealing" delegate votes in Southern states such as Texas and Georgia. They claimed that Taft's leaders in these states had unfairly denied delegate spots to Eisenhower supporters and put Taft delegates in their place. 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". Although Taft and his supporters angrily denied this charge, the convention voted to support Fair Play 658 to 548, and Taft lost many Southern delegates. Eisenhower also received two more boosts, firstly when several uncommitted state delegations, such as Michigan and Pennsylvania, decided to support him, and secondly when Stassen released his delegates and asked them to support Eisenhower, whose moderate policies he much preferred to those of Taft. The removal of many pro-Taft Southern delegates and the support of the uncommitted states decided the nomination in Eisenhower's favor.

However, the mood at the convention was one of the most bitter and emotional in American history. When Senator Everett Dirksen from Illinois, a Taft supporter, pointed at Dewey on the convention floor during a speech and accused him of leading the Republicans "down the road to defeat", mixed boos and cheers rang out from the delegates, and there were even fistfights between some Taft and Eisenhower delegates.

In the end, Eisenhower narrowly defeated Taft on the first ballot. To heal the wounds caused by the battle, he went to Taft's hotel suite and met with him. Taft issued a brief statement congratulating Eisenhower on his victory, but he was bitter about what he felt was the untrue "stealing delegates" charge, and he withheld his active support for Eisenhower for several weeks after the convention. In September 1952 Taft and Eisenhower met again at Morningside Heights in New York City, where Taft promised to support Eisenhower actively in exchange for Eisenhower agreeing to a number of requests. These included a demand that Eisenhower give Taft's followers a fair share of patronage positions if he won the election, and that Eisenhower agree to balance the federal budget and "fight creeping domestic socialism in every field". Eisenhower agreed to the terms, and Taft campaigned hard for the Republican ticket. [5] In fact, Eisenhower and Taft agreed on most domestic issues their disagreements were primarily on foreign policy. [6]

Though there were initial suggestions that Warren could earn the party's vice presidential slot for the second successive election if he withdrew and endorsed Eisenhower, he ultimately chose not to do so. Eisenhower himself had been partial to giving the VP nod to Stassen, who had endorsed Eisenhower of his own accord and had generally similar political positions. The party bosses, however, wanted to find a running mate who could mollify Taft's supporters, as the schism between the moderate and conservative wings was so severe that in the worst case it could potentially lead to the conservatives bolting and running Taft as a third-party candidate.

Eisenhower had apparently given little thought to choosing his running mate. When asked, he replied that he assumed the convention would pick someone. The spot ultimately fell to the young California Senator Richard Nixon, who was seen as being in the exact center of the GOP. Nixon was known as an aggressive campaigner and a fierce anti-communist, but as one who shied away from some of the more extreme ideas of the party's right wing, including isolationism and dismantling the New Deal. Most historians now believe that Eisenhower's nomination was primarily due to the feeling that he was a "sure winner" against the Democrats most of the delegates were conservatives who would probably have supported Taft if they felt he could have won the general election.

Despite not earning the presidential or vice presidential nomination, Warren would subsequently be appointed as Chief Justice in October 1953, while Stassen would hold various positions within Eisenhower's administration.


Missouri Presidential History, And Poll Showing Clinton Leads Trump! Will Missouri Be Again a Bellwether State?

Missouri, the “Show Me” State, the state of President Harry Truman, has been a bellwether state since 1904.

From 1904 to 2004, Missouri voted with the winner every time except 1956, when Adlai Stevenson defeated Dwight D. Eisenhower by 4,000 votes.

In 2008, like in 1956, they voted for the losing Presidential nominee, John McCain, over Barack Obama, but again by only about 4,000 votes.

In 2012, however, the bellwether reputation was harmed when Mitt Romney won over Barack Obama by 259,000 votes!

Presently, Hillary Clinton is shown as leading Donald Trump for the election in Missouri, so if they end up as the nominees of their parties, and the polls stay consistent, then Missouri will return to being a bellwether state, assuming that Clinton wins the Presidency, which is highly likely!

Missouri is not considered a “swing” state, but it could be part of the winning party’s majority for the 26th out of the last 29 national elections for the Presidency!

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1956: A presidential election to remember

The 1952 and 1956 presidential elections between Republican Dwight Eisenhower and Democrat Adlai Stevenson might stand as the last time that the American people had a choice between two capable candidates with clear and reasonable philosophies of government. During World War II, Eisenhower had been Commanding General, European Theater of Operations. Somewhat like Colin Powell following the Vietnam War, Eisenhower did not have an affiliation with a political party and both the Democrats and Republicans were ready to hand him their nomination in 1952, almost regardless of his views.

Eisenhower did not declare himself a Republican until shortly before entering the presidential race in 1952. Ike and the GOP seemed like a good fit. It may be hard to understand now, but back then, Republicans liked their candidates to be reserved, cautious, thoughtful, deliberate and amiable. That was Ike.

Democrats preferred a cerebral spark. Franklin Roosevelt inspired Americans with unorthodox policies in the New Deal. Harry Truman “gave ’em hell” while steering America back to prosperity. Adlai Stevenson had been a reformer while governor of Illinois and was ready to protect, preserve and continue the New Deal.

The 1952 election was of an era very different from today. It was two years before Brown v. Board of Education and 12 years before meaningful civil rights legislation.

For most Americans, 1952 and 1956 presented a choice between two fair and competing philosophies of government. Each in its own way reflected viewpoints that characterized the approaches of previous presidents.

Eisenhower won handily in both 1952 and 1956. As an affable paternal figure, it was more than coincidental that he received the electoral endorsement of the American people three years after the “Father Knows Best” program became a popular radio show and before it became a mainstay of American television. Ike was the battle-tested grandfather America had a long history of electing military generals. His victories made him the last in a line of 12 former generals elected to the Presidency. Perhaps this is part of the reason why the 1956 election reflected the end of an era.

In 1948, four years before the first Eisenhower-Stevenson election, Sen. Strom Thurmond of South Carolina had walked out of the Democratic convention and formed a third party, the Dixiecrats. The signature issue of the Dixiecrats was racial segregation. The party actually carried four states (Louisiana, Mississippi, Alabama, and South Carolina). But the South came back into the Democratic party in 1952, and we had an election that essentially reflected the two prevailing lines of political thinking in the U.S. Republicans presented cautious compassion with fiscal restraint. Democrats were more fervent in their compassion and saw an activist federal government as the key to meeting people’s needs.

The Eisenhower-Stevenson races presented clear-cut choices, very capable candidates, and connection by both parties with mainstream thinking in America.

In 2010, the concern is that the third-party aberrations of 1948 and 1968 may soon become the norm. The 2010 Florida senate race pitted Tea-Party backed Republican Marco Rubio against Independent Charlie Crist (the moderate governor who left the Republican party after losing the primary to Rubio) and progressive Democratic Congressman Kendrick Meek.

What is happening to the stability of our two-party system of the 1950s? Quite possibly the problem is that 1956 was the last time that America was presented with two personally stable candidates with clear agendas that were compatible with America’s mainstream.

Beginning in 1960, each election seemed to have at least one candidate with significant character flaws, serious intellectual limitations, or ideas that were too radical for America. Here’s a quick list:

  1. 1960: Richard Nixon
  2. 1964: Barry Goldwater
  3. 1968: Richard Nixon and George Wallace
  4. 1972: Richard Nixon and George Wallace
  5. 1976: POSSIBLE EXCEPTION – Gerald Ford vs. Jimmy Carter
  6. 1980: Ronald Reagan
  7. 1984: Ronald Reagan
  8. 1988: George H.W. Bush (with Dan Quayle as V.P.)
  9. 1992: George H.W. Bush (with Dan Quayle as V.P.)
  10. 1996: POSSIBLE EXCEPTION – Bill Clinton (pre-Monica) vs. Bob Dole
  11. 2000: George W. Bush (with Dick Cheney as V.P.)
  12. 2004: George W. Bush (with Dick Cheney as V.P.)
  13. 2008: John McCain (with Sarah Palin as V.P.)

Many saw the presidential election of 2008 was as a mandate for resuming the progressive agendas of the New Deal and Great Society. President Obama has chosen to govern more from the middle of the road. But his desire for harmony may well have planted the seeds of intense discord. President Obama has tried to make his move to the center a reflection of bi-partisan cooperation and collaboration. But the Republicans wanted no part of that, partly because their goal number one was to see President Obama fail. The situation is exacerbated by the frustrations of difficult economic times in which the rich get richer and the poor get poorer. These factors coincide with the latest incarnation of a new anti-government, anti-intellectual, anti-collaboration party, the Tea Party.

What Florida 2010 represented was a somewhat lop-sided three-party system:

  1. Intense, fervent, rigid conservative candidate with Tea Party support (Rubio)
  2. Middle of the road “mushy” candidate with no solid base (Crist)
  3. A progressive candidate who was abandoned by many in his “home party,” the Democrats, because his chances of winning were slim.

If the lessons of history prevail, the Tea Party will come and go. But these are different times our electorate may have more apathy and less critical thinking skills than ever before. So an intense right wing party could be with us for a long time. The “centrists” who Charlie Crist represented may actually have a strong following, but currently they have no anchor. The so-called moderate or even liberal Republicans can’t even buy a seat at the table of the Republican Party and the Democrats will probably continue their standoff between “Blue Dogs” (moderate to conservative Democrats) vs. progressives. Progressives no longer see the Democrats as their anchor party. They are looking for ways to regenerate their energy. The biggest asset Progressives have is that they have the most reasonable and cost-effective solutions to the nation’s problems.

Our electoral system, with the Electoral College, is designed to keep a two-party system intact. But we seem to currently have three very different philosophies of governing, each with a significant number of followers but no clear base within a party. We may have to go through the dysfunction and chaos of a three party system for the foreseeable future. If we move back to a two-party system such as in the 1950s, the jury is out on which of two of the current three parties will survive.

As an unabashed progressive, I would gladly trim my sails to return to the world of 1956 with a moderate liberal Democrat vs. a stable, mainstream Republican. How we would return to such a scenario is difficult to determine definitely fodder for more discussion. In the meantime, we would do well to spend a little time reviewing what may have been the last “good election,” 1956.


The election of 1800 marks a turning point in American political history. Its preliminaries were expressed in the Virginia and Kentucky Resolutions proffered by Thomas Jefferson and James Madison as a party platform. Its party machinery, still more essential to success, was directed by Aaron Burr, with supplemental support in Pennsylvania and South Carolina.

Burr had already established the nucleus of a political machine that was later to develop into Tammany Hall. With this organization, he swept New York City with an outstanding legislative ticket, gained control of the state assembly, and secured the electoral votes of New York for the Democratic-Republicans. He had already secured a pledge from the Democratic-Republican members of Congress to support him equally with Jefferson. Hence the tie vote (seventy-three each) that gave him a dubious chance for the presidency. The Federalist candidates were John Adams, sixty-five votes, and Charles Cotesworth Pinckney, sixty-four votes.

Publicly disclaiming any intent to secure the presidency, Burr was, nevertheless, put forward by the Federalists in order to defeat Jefferson and bring about another election. A slight majority in the House of Representatives enabled them to rally six states to Burr and divide the vote of two others, thus neutralizing the vote of the eight states that supported Jefferson. The contest was prolonged through thirty-five fruitless ballots on the thirty-sixth, by prearrangement, a sufficient number of Federalists cast blank ballots to give Jefferson ten states and the presidency.

This narrow escape from frustrating the popular will led the incoming administration to pass the Twelfth Amendment to the Constitution, separating the balloting for president and vice president, in time for the 1804 election. Jefferson covertly helped eliminate Burr in New York, and the party caucus brought George Clinton forward as candidate for the vice presidency. Burr, already divining his political ostracism, attempted to recover ground as an independent candidate for governor of New York. Representative Federalists of New England sought his support in their plans for disunion, but he refused to commit himself to such a program. The Federalists selected Pinckney as their presidential candidate, and chose Rufus King for the vice presidency. Jefferson, preeminently successful in the more important measures of his administration, was triumphantly reelected in 1804 as president with Clinton as vice president.


1956 United States presidential election in Delaware

The 1956 United States presidential election in Delaware took place on November 6, 1956, as part of the 1956 United States presidential election. State voters chose three [4] representatives, or electors, to the Electoral College, who voted for president and vice president.

Delaware was won by incumbent President Dwight D. Eisenhower (R–Pennsylvania), running with Vice President Richard Nixon, with 55.09% of the popular vote, against Adlai Stevenson (D–Illinois), running with Senator Estes Kefauver, with 44.62% of the popular vote. [5] [6]

1956 United States presidential election in Delaware
Party Candidate Votes %
Republican Dwight D. Eisenhower (inc.) 98,057 55.09%
Democratic Adlai Stevenson 79,421 44.62%
Write-in 510 0.29%
Total votes 177,988 100.00%
  1. ^"United States Presidential election of 1956 - Encyclopædia Britannica" . Retrieved July 5, 2017 .
  2. ^ Although he was born in Texas and grew up in Kansas before his military career, at the time of the 1952 election Eisenhower was president of Columbia University and was, officially, a resident of New York. During his first term as president, he moved his private residence to Gettysburg, Pennsylvania, and officially changed his residency to Pennsylvania.
  3. ^
  4. "The Presidents". David Leip . Retrieved September 27, 2017 . Eisenhower's home state for the 1956 Election was Pennsylvania
  5. ^
  6. "1956 Election for the Forty-Fourth Term (1961-65)" . Retrieved July 5, 2017 .
  7. ^
  8. "1956 Presidential General Election Results - Delaware" . Retrieved July 5, 2017 .
  9. ^
  10. "The American Presidency Project - Election of 1956" . Retrieved July 5, 2017 .

This Delaware elections-related article is a stub. You can help Wikipedia by expanding it.


General election campaign

In the ensuing campaign, television was relied on by both parties. All four candidates campaigned in people’s living rooms as never before, striving for a new “homey” touch. Both Democratic candidates as well as Nixon stumped around the country. Stevenson led the attack on the administration and called for “a New America,” but he found himself often engaged in front-page debate with the vice president rather than with the president.

The issue of communist infiltration in the government had been prominent in 1952, following Sen. Joseph McCarthy’s unsubstantiated charge in February 1950 that communists had infiltrated the State Department, but it had receded from public consciousness by 1956, particularly after McCarthy’s condemnation by the Senate. Not having to respond to that issue in the campaign, Stevenson instead focused his attention elsewhere. He outlined a major federal program on behalf of the country’s aging citizens. He criticized the military draft as fast becoming an obsolete way of maintaining the armed forces, but he encountered quick opposition from both his opponents and found little support elsewhere. Urging an end to H-bomb testing, and contending that such tests could not really be kept secret from the world’s scientists, Stevenson found the president unyielding, and former president Truman had “no comment” on the matter. On Oct. 17 Soviet Premier Nikolay Aleksandrovich Bulganin wrote to President Eisenhower, “We fully share the opinion recently expressed by certain prominent figures in the United States concerning the necessity and the possibility of concluding an agreement on the matter of prohibiting atomic weapon tests.” The statement embarrassed the Democrats, and Eisenhower bluntly termed it an interference by a foreign government in U.S. internal affairs.

Much campaign oratory was devoted to such issues as inflation, price supports for farm crops, the Soil Bank Program, the influence of big business on government, federal aid to education, assignment of credit for the Social Security Act amendments, and ending the war in Korea (see Korean War). Republicans argued that the cost of living had been “remarkably stabilized,” while Democrats claimed that it was at “the highest point in history.”

Despite partisanship in the campaign, on vital matters the parties stood together: for peace, for a strong and secure country, for considerable reliance on the UN, for taking measures to diminish Soviet influence, and for continuing close and friendly relations with the United Kingdom, France, and Japan, as well as with the peoples of the Southern Hemisphere.

Eisenhower enjoyed a huge advantage politically. More than three-fifths of the country’s newspapers endorsed the president, while only about one in six backed Stevenson. The repudiation of the two Democratic candidates at the polls was equally overwhelming. They won only seven states (six Southern states plus Missouri), with 73 electoral votes, while the Eisenhower-Nixon ticket won 457 electoral votes. Eisenhower won 57.4 percent of the popular vote, bettering his 1952 total by 2.5 percent and defeating Stevenson by nearly 10 million votes. Democrats, however, maintained the House of Representatives and the Senate only once before in American history (1848) had the presidential office been won by a party that did not achieve a majority in either house of Congress.

The postelection statements and conduct of both the victorious and the defeated candidates for offices throughout the land particularly heartened Americans. After his second defeat for the presidency, Stevenson, still much admired by many, wryly termed himself “the foremost authority on unsuccessful presidential campaigns.” He said that he would not run again. Stevenson had tried “to set forth a philosophy, a faith and even suggest a program for modern liberalism,” he said, continuing, “I think that I have done that…and…I have no doubt at all that many of the views and ideas I have tried to express will ultimately prevail.” The augmented stature of Nixon was evident when he made a major foreign policy address in December.

For the results of the previous election, see United States presidential election of 1952. For the results of the subsequent election, see United States presidential election of 1960.


1956 United States presidential election

The 1956 United States presidential election happened on November 6, 1956. President Dwight D. Eisenhower won reelection to a second term. He defeated former Governor of Illinois Adlai Stevenson in a rematch of the 1952 presidential election.

Incumbent president Dwight D. Eisenhower won the election by 457 electoral votes. Adlai Stevenson got 73 electoral votes. Walter Burgwyn Jones got one vote by a faithless elector in Alabama.

This was the last election in which Alaska and Hawaii were not states. [3]

Eisenhower suffered a heart attack in September 1955 while in Colorado for a vacation. His doctors told him not to run for another election. However, Eisenhower announced his candidacy for re-election on television in early 1956.

  1. ↑"Voter Turnout in Presidential Elections". The American Presidency Project. UC Santa Barbara.
  2. "1956 Electoral College Results". National Archives . Retrieved February 15, 2021 .
  3. "1956 Presidential Election". 270 To Win . Retrieved December 15, 2012 .

Media related to 1956 United States presidential election at Wikimedia Commons


1956 United States presidential election in Massachusetts

The 1956 United States presidential election in Massachusetts took place on November 6, 1956, as part of the 1956 United States presidential election, which was held throughout all contemporary 48 states. Voters chose 16 representatives, or electors to the Electoral College, who voted for president and vice president.

Massachusetts voted decisively for the Republican nominee, incumbent President Dwight D. Eisenhower of Pennsylvania, over the Democratic nominee, former Governor Adlai Stevenson of Illinois. Eisenhower ran with incumbent Vice President Richard Nixon of California, while Stevenson's running mate was Senator Estes Kefauver of Tennessee.

Eisenhower carried the state with 59.32% of the vote to Stevenson's 40.37%, a Republican victory margin of 18.95%.

As Eisenhower won a decisive re-election victory nationwide, Massachusetts weighed in for this election as about 4% more Republican than the national average. This remains the last presidential election in which Massachusetts voted more Republican than the nation, [3] as the state would trend dramatically toward the Democratic Party beginning in 1960.

Once a typical Yankee Republican bastion in the wake of the Civil War, Massachusetts had been a Democratic-leaning state since 1928, when a coalition of Irish Catholic and other ethnic immigrant voters primarily based in urban areas turned Massachusetts and neighboring Rhode Island into New England's only reliably Democratic states. Massachusetts voted for Al Smith in 1928, for Franklin Roosevelt 4 times in the 1930s and 1940s, and for Harry S. Truman in 1948. However General Dwight Eisenhower, a war hero and moderate Republican who pledged to support and continue popular New Deal Democratic policies, was finally able to appeal to a broad enough coalition both to win back the White House and to flip Massachusetts back into the Republican column.

In his initial 1952 campaign, Eisenhower won back Massachusetts by a closer 54–45 margin, but the popular incumbent, who governed in a very moderate way that appealed to New England voters, was able to more than double his margin of victory in the state in the 1956 election.

Eisenhower carried 13 of the state's 14 counties, Stevenson's only victory coming from urban Suffolk County, home to the state's capital and largest city, Boston.

No Republican would carry Massachusetts in a presidential election again until Ronald Reagan won the state in 1980. Since this election, no Republican has ever carried the counties of Bristol, Hampshire and Middlesex. [4] No Republican candidate has matched Eisenhower's 1.39 million votes in any presidential election in Massachusetts since.


Watch the video: The American Presidential Election of 1956 (January 2022).