|Margaret Chase Smith photo from Wikipedia
Today is the birth date of Margaret Chase Smith
December 14, 1897 – May 29, 1995
So little recognized for these things, Margaret Chase Smith was a woman of firsts:
* first woman in history to have her name placed in nomination for the U.S. Presidency
* first woman to be elected to both the House of Representatives and the U.S. Senate
* first woman from Maine to serve in Congress
She was also one of the earliest opponents of Senator Joseph McCarthy and many remember her “Declaration of Conscience” speech in 1950 directed at fellow Republicans (she was a staunch Republican).
Some parts of her famous speech are quoted below:
“I think that it is high time that we remembered that we have sworn to uphold and defend the Constitution. I think that it is high time that we remembered that the Constitution, as amended, speaks not only of the freedom of speech, but also of trial by jury instead of trial by accusation.”
“Those of us who shout the loudest about Americanism in making character assassinations are all too frequently those who, by our own words and acts, ignore some of the basic principles of Americanism: The right to criticize. The right to hold unpopular beliefs. The right to protest. The right of independent thought.”
“Today our country is being psychologically divided by the confusion and the suspicions that are bred in the United States Senate to spread like cancerous tentacles of “know nothing, suspect everything” attitudes.”
“But I don’t want to see the Republican Party ride to political victory on the four horsemen of calumny-fear, ignorance, bigotry and smear.”
In 1964 Smith’s name was placed in nomination for the U.S. Presidency. She lost out at the Republican Convention to Barry Goldwater.
One final Margaret Chase Smith quote:
“I believe that in our constant search for security we can never gain any peace of mind until we are secure in our own soul.”
Let’s remember this remarkable woman on this day.