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Margaret Chase Smith for President

Margaret Chase Smith for President Campaign Button, 1964

Margaret Chase Smith for President Campaign Button, 1964

Item 12114 info
Margaret Chase Smith Library

By 1964, Republican Sen. Margaret Chase Smith of Maine had a national following.

She was first elected to the House of Representatives in 1940, following the death of her husband, Rep. Clyde H. Smith. In 1948, she was elected to the U.S. Senate, the first woman elected in her own right (not following the death of a spouse who held the office).

She was well known for her 1950 "Declaration of Conscience" speech that denounced the communist-hunting tactics of fellow Republican Sen. Joseph McCarthy.

She also was well known as sometimes the only -- or one of two -- women in the U.S. Senate and as a member of the Armed Services and Appropriations committees.

She had challenged President John F. Kennedy's defense policies and received considerable publicity for her comments.