Today in History 101: Margaret Chase Smith
|Read time: 15 min
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More Criticism than Claim – Margaret Chase Smith
However, being the only woman alongside 49 men did not keep her quiet. When Wisconsin senator Joseph McCarthy used his position to launch a broad (and often unfounded) investigation of government employees and other Americans to root out Communists (known as “McCarthyism”), Margaret was one of the first to speak out against his dangerous demagoguery.
She was bold. On the morning of June 1, 1950, she ran into Senator McCarthy. McCarthy commented, “Margaret, you look very serious. Are you going to make a speech?” “Yes,” she answered. “And you will not like it!”
In her groundbreaking speech that day, she called out his hate and character assassination. “Mr. President, I would like to speak briefly and simply about a serious national condition,” she began. “It is a national feeling of fear and frustration that could result in national suicide and the end of everything that we Americans hold dear.”
While many Republicans were appalled by McCarthy’s baseless charges, most of them kept their heads down. Smith eviscerated McCarthy and called out her colleagues for their lack of courage in standing up to him. “I don’t want to see the Republican Party ride to political victory on the Four Horsemen of Calumny—Fear, Ignorance, Bigotry, and Smear.” She and six other Republican senators signed a statement expressing their concerns known as her “Declaration of Conscience.” McCarthy mocked her and her cosigners as “Snow White and the Six Dwarfs” (that’s 29/140 characters, in case you were wondering).
She continued to oppose McCarthy at personal and political cost for four more years, until 1954, when the Senate finally censured him for his conduct and ended his career.
Smith rose in the public’s eye and questions mounted whether she would launch an unprecedented presidential run. In January 1964, her campaign manager drafted a speech to the Women’s National Press Club with two endings: one announcing that she was in, one declaring she was out.
In her speech, she dryly detailed the reasons why others thought she shouldn’t run: no woman should ever dare to aspire to the White House, that a woman on the national ticket of a political party would be more of a handicap than a strength, the odds are too heavily against her for even the most remote chance of victory, and women do not have the physical stamina and strength to run.
She concluded with the same boldness she had with McCarthy, “So, because of these very compelling reasons against my running, I have decided that I shall.” That day, she became the first woman to seek a major party’s presidential nomination.
We haven’t heard of a Madam President Margaret Chase Smith, so you can assume how her campaign turned out. Though she did not win the nomination, she sent a lasting message that resonated for many women and men. Although it’s difficult to speak up when you fear you’ll receive more criticism than claim, it is possible with courage- and when you know that history is longer than 140 characters.
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Three Questions to Ask Yourself Every Morning
If you are a parent or a non-morning person, you may not have the time or resources to copy the morning routine of a wealthy celebrity. Everyone’s morning is filled with different tasks, issues, and obstacles. However, everyone can wake up 5 minutes earlier, stand in front of the bathroom mirror, and ask themselves these three questions.
What Am I Grateful For Today?
This forces you to start the day on a positive note. Think about what 3-5 things you are grateful for in your life. This includes your family, friends, pets, a house that keeps you warm, a job that pays the bills, or a car that doesn’t break down. Those are all items that may not be perfect, but they serve a purpose and are not available to everyone.
What Did I Accomplish Yesterday?
When we first wake up, our minds tend to shift to all of the things we need to do today. Sometimes, we focus on things we didn’t accomplish the day before and begin to get overwhelmed. Instead, think about what you actually did accomplish yesterday and be proud of it. This question helps you remember that you are always moving forward towards your goals.
What Type Of Person Do I Want To Be Today?
This question helps set the tone for your attitude and gives you something to strive for. You may want to be the type of person who is kind or someone who listens and gives advice. This type of answer can differ depending on what you are doing that day and who you will be interacting with. The critical point is that you are living that day with intention and a goal in mind instead of just bouncing mindlessly from one activity to the next.
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