Parades, Protests and Politics

Voters Become Viewers: 1952

In 1952, America's perception of conventions changed forever with the arrival of nationwide television coverage. An estimated 70 million voters watched the Republican and Democratic Conventions.

When President Harry S. Truman declined the Democratic renomination in 1952, the party had its first open convention since 1932. Negotiations over the various nominees, debates over delegate credentials, and fights over the party loyalty oath resulted in a six-day convention, the longest in post-World War II history. Although ten Democrats were nominated, convention delegates drafted a favorite son--Adlai E. Stevenson of Illinois. President Truman not only endorsed Stevenson but flew to Chicago to ensure his nomination. Backroom negotiations at the Congress Hotel neutralized a "Stop Stevenson" movement, and his supporters clinched his nomination on the third ballot.

The traditional wheeling and dealing of politics astounded television viewers watching the 1952 Republican Convention. The race pitted Robert Taft, known as "Mr. Republican," who had a lot of political experience, against Dwight David Eisenhower, whose popularity as a national war hero North American Treaty Organization (NATO) leader would almost ensure his victory over any Democratic candidate.

To swing the nomination in their favor, Eisenhower forces proposed a "fair-play amendment." Accusing Taft of stealing delegates, they challenged the voting credentials of the Georgia, Louisiana, and Texas delegations. When the delegates favoring Eisenhower were seated, Ike won the nomination on the first ballot. The following day the convention affirmed the selection of Richard Nixon for vice president.

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Century of Progress
Chicago Fire
World's Columbian Expo
Parades, Protest and Politics
Parades, Protests and Politics Photo Gallery
Parades, Protests and Politics Artifacts
Parades, Protests and Politics Bibliography
The Pullman Era
The Stockyards
Fort Dearborn

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