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On the Road with Richard Nixon


Vice Presidential candidate Richard Nixon drew large crowds when he appeared on the campaign trail on this date in 1952. He started the day in Moorhead. His train arrived twenty minutes late, and when it did arrive, it overshot the station. The large crowd had to wait while the train backed up.

Journalists reported that crowds at all of Nixon’s stops were impressive. Fargo residents turned out to join the crowd at the Moorhead station. Nearly 2,000 people came to hear him speak from the rear platform of his thirteen-car train. Nixon told the gathering that President Truman had led a “failed administration,” and it was time for a change. He said that at the end of World War II, America was in a position to bring peace to the world, but Truman’s failed policies had resulted in strengthening Communism. He added that those responsible for such policies “should be thrown out of Washington.”

Nixon spoke extensively about the threat of Communism, but the biggest ovation was reserved for his statement that his presidential running mate, Dwight D. Eisenhower, planned to back a strong agricultural program. He said Eisenhower specifically asked him to assure the farmers that a Republican administration would not back down from price supports. Eisenhower also planned to return more control to local farmers. Nixon said that when the value of farm property drops, the entire country suffers. He stated that the Eisenhower-Nixon ticket would put the strongest priority on support for farmers.

Because of the late start, Nixon was forced to cut his speech short. He received a two minute warning in the form of a blast from the train whistle. He was still speaking as the train started to move.

His next stop was Breckenridge, where he received another enthusiastic welcome from about 1,000 people. The crowd included a contingent of students from Abercrombie who carried Nixon and Eisenhower placards.

North Dakota had not gone Democratic since 1936, and there was little reason to imagine the state would change in 1952. Many journalists felt Nixon was the most capable speaker on the campaign trail, giving Eisenhower a great boost. While many farmers worked for Democratic candidate Adlai Stevenson, a survey showed that others were won over by Nixon’s statements about farm policy. In the end, the expected outcome was realized as North Dakota did indeed go for Eisenhower.

Dakota Datebook written by Carole Butcher

Election Atlas. "http://uselectionatlas.org/RESULTS/national.php?year=1952" http://uselectionatlas.org/RESULTS/national.php?year=1952 Accessed 8 August, 2014

LA Times. "http://framework.latimes.com/2012/10/27/the-1952-eisenhower-nixon-campaign/#/0" http://framework.latimes.com/2012/10/27/the-1952-eisenhower-nixon-campaign/#/0 Accessed 8 August, 2014

Miller Center, University of Virginia. "http://millercenter.org/president/eisenhower/essays/biography/3" http://millercenter.org/president/eisenhower/essays/biography/3 Accessed 8 August, 2014

“Nixon at Breckenridge Cites Truman Losses to Communists.” Fargo Forum and Daily Republican, 23 October, 1952

“Nixon Crowds Big, Newsmen on Train Say.” Fargo Forum and Daily Republican, 23 October, 1952

“Nearly 2,000 Gather to Hear VP Candidate.” Fargo Forum and Daily Republican, 23 October, 1952

“Policy Not Changed, He Tells Crowd.” Fargo Forum and Daily Republican, 23 October, 1952