Richard Nixon: The Shaping of His Character

By Fawn M. Brodie | Go to book overview
Save to active project


The Dragon Slayer

When I first came to Washington in 1946, I was a bit naïve
about public service, I suppose, a kind of dragon slayer


IN THE CONGRESSIONAL ELECTION OF 1946 Nixon was not asked to slay dragons but to defeat a saint. Jerry Voorhis, his New Deal liberal opponent, had been in office ten years and was still popular in a district that was predominantly conservative Republican. Nixon was one of many who believed, mistakenly, that Voorhis had inspired the film Mr. Smith Goes to Washington, a story of the triumph of innocence and integrity over evil forces in Congress. 2 The Republicans had been desperate enough even to advertise for a candidate. Walter Dexter, former president of Whittier College, had been offered the spot, but had refused because he felt he could not win and had suggested Nixon. Herman Perry, a Whittier banker and friend of Nixon's parents, had invited him to fly home to be looked over and had been authorized to pay his expenses.

Nixon met with the local party leaders and in a vigorous speech attacked the New Deal for stifling initiative by pernicious controls. The returning veterans, he said, wanted jobs, not government handouts, and he promised an aggressive campaign "on a platform of practical liberalism." When he finished, committee organizer Roy O. Day said with satisfaction, "That is saleable merchandise." 3

When told that he was the committee choice, Nixon wrote exultantly to Day:

I am going to see Joe Martin and John Phillips and try to get what dope I can on Mr. Voorhis' record. His "conservative" reputation must be blasted.... I am really hopped up over this deal, and I believe we can win. 4

Notes for this page

Add a new note
If you are trying to select text to create highlights or citations, remember that you must now click or tap on the first word, and then click or tap on the last word.
Loading One moment ...
Project items
Cite this page

Cited page

Citations are available only to our active members.
Sign up now to cite pages or passages in MLA, APA and Chicago citation styles.

Cited page

Bookmark this page
Richard Nixon: The Shaping of His Character


Text size Smaller Larger
Search within

Search within this book

Look up

Look up a word

  • Dictionary
  • Thesaurus
Please submit a word or phrase above.
Print this page

Print this page

Why can't I print more than one page at a time?

While we understand printed pages are helpful to our users, this limitation is necessary to help protect our publishers' copyrighted material and prevent its unlawful distribution. We are sorry for any inconvenience.
Full screen
/ 574

matching results for page

Cited passage

Citations are available only to our active members.
Sign up now to cite pages or passages in MLA, APA and Chicago citation styles.

Cited passage

Welcome to the new Questia Reader

The Questia Reader has been updated to provide you with an even better online reading experience.  It is now 100% Responsive, which means you can read our books and articles on any sized device you wish.  All of your favorite tools like notes, highlights, and citations are still here, but the way you select text has been updated to be easier to use, especially on touchscreen devices.  Here's how:

1. Click or tap the first word you want to select.
2. Click or tap the last word you want to select.

OK, got it!

Thanks for trying Questia!

Please continue trying out our research tools, but please note, full functionality is available only to our active members.

Your work will be lost once you leave this Web page.

For full access in an ad-free environment, sign up now for a FREE, 1-day trial.

Already a member? Log in now.

Are you sure you want to delete this highlight?