George Stanley McGovern (July 19, 1922 – October 21, 2012) was an American historian, author, U.S. Representative, U.S. Senator, and the Democratic Party presidential nominee in the 1972 presidential election.
McGovern grew up in Mitchell, South Dakota, where he was a renowned debater. He volunteered for the U.S. Army Air Forces upon the country's entry into World War II and as a B-24 Liberator pilot flew 35 missions over German-occupied Europe. Among the medals bestowed upon him was a Distinguished Flying Cross for making a hazardous emergency landing of his damaged plane and saving his crew. After the war he gained degrees from Dakota Wesleyan University and Northwestern University, culminating in a PhD, and was a history professor. He was elected to the U.S. House of Representatives in 1956 and re-elected in 1958. After a failed bid for the U.S. Senate in 1960, he was a successful candidate in 1962.
The United States is a federal constitutional republic, in which the President of the United States (the head of state and head of government), Congress, and judiciary share powers reserved to the national government, and the federal government shares sovereignty with the state governments.
The election of the President and the Vice President of the United States is an indirect vote in which citizens cast ballots for a slate of members of the U.S. Electoral College; these electors in turn directly elect the President and Vice President. Presidential elections occur quadrennially (the count beginning with the year 1792) on Election Day, the Tuesday between November 2 and 8, coinciding with the general elections of various other federal, states and local races. The most recent was the 2012 election, held on November 6. The next election will be the 2016 election, which will be held on November 8, 2016.
The United States is a federation, with elected officials at the federal (national), state and local levels. On a national level, the head of state, the President, is elected indirectly by the people, through an Electoral College. Today, the electors virtually always vote with the popular vote of their state. All members of the federal legislature, the Congress, are directly elected. There are many elected offices at state level, each state having at least an elective governor and legislature. There are also elected offices at the local level, in counties and cities. It is estimated that across the whole country, over one million offices are filled in every electoral cycle.
State law regulates most aspects of the election, including primaries, the eligibility of voters (beyond the basic constitutional definition), the running of each state's electoral college, and the running of state and local elections. The United States Constitution defines (to a basic extent) how federal elections are held, in Article One and Article Two and various amendments. The federal government has also been involved in attempts to increase voter turnout, by measures such as the National Voter Registration Act of 1993.
This article presents the historical development and role of political parties in United States politics, and outlines more extensively the significant modern political parties. Throughout most of its history, American politics have been dominated by a two-party system. However, the United States Constitution has always been silent on the issue of political parties; at the time it was signed in 1787, there were no parties in the nation. Indeed, no nation in the world had voter-based political parties. The need to win popular support in a republic led to the American invention of political parties in the 1790s. Americans were especially innovative in devising new campaign techniques that linked public opinion with public policy through the party.
Richard Milhous Nixon (January 9, 1913 – April 22, 1994) was the 37th President of the United States, serving from 1969 to 1974, when he became the only president to resign the office. Nixon had previously served as a Republican U.S. Representative and Senator from California and as the 36th Vice President of the United States from 1953 to 1961.
Nixon was born in Yorba Linda, California. He graduated from Whittier College in 1934 and Duke University School of Law in 1937, returning to California to practice law. He and his wife, Pat Nixon, moved to Washington to work for the federal government in 1942. He subsequently served in the United States Navy during World War II. Nixon was elected in California to the House of Representatives in 1946 and to the Senate in 1950. His pursuit of the Alger Hiss case established his reputation as a leading anti-communist, and elevated him to national prominence. He was the running mate of Dwight D. Eisenhower, the Republican Party presidential nominee in the 1952 election. Nixon served for eight years as vice president. He waged an unsuccessful presidential campaign in 1960, narrowly losing to John F. Kennedy, and lost a race for Governor of California in 1962. In 1968, he ran again for the presidency and was elected.
Liberalism in the United States is a broad political philosophy centered on the unalienable rights of the individual. The fundamental liberal ideals of freedom of speech, freedom of the press, freedom of religion for all belief systems, and the separation of church and state, right to due process and equality under the law are widely accepted as a common foundation across the spectrum of liberal thought. Modern liberalism in the United States includes issues such as voting rights for all adult citizens, equal rights, protection of the environment, and the provision by the government of social services, such as: equal education opportunities, access to health care, transportation infrastructure, basic food for the hungry and basic shelter for the homeless. Some American liberals, who call themselves classical liberals, neoliberals, or libertarians, support fundamental liberal ideals but disagree with modern liberal thought, holding that economic freedom is more important than equality and that providing for the general welfare exceeds the legitimate role of government.
Without a qualifier, the term "liberalism" since the 1930s in the United States usually refers to "modern liberalism", a political philosophy exemplified by Franklin Delano Roosevelt's New Deal and, later, Lyndon Johnson's Great Society. It is a form of social liberalism, whose accomplishments include the Works Progress Administration and the Social Security Act in 1935, the Civil Rights Act of 1964, the Community Reinvestment Act and the Voting Rights Act of 1965.
Since his loss in the United States presidential election, 1972, there have been numerous allusions to George McGovern in American popular culture.
In 2006, the film One Bright Shining Moment – The Forgotten Summer of George McGovern was released in the United States. Directed by Stephen Vittoria and narrated by Amy Goodman, the documentary chronicles the life and times of George McGovern, focusing on his 1972 bid for the presidency. The film features McGovern, Gloria Steinem, Gore Vidal, Warren Beatty, Howard Zinn and Dick Gregory.