Encyclopedia of American Parties, Campaigns, and Elections

By William C. Binning; Larry E. Esterly et al. | Go to book overview
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WALLACE, GEORGE CORLEY ( 1919-1998) was a four-term Democratic governor of Alabama, and three-time presidential candidate. George Wallace gave voice to those fearful of the changes that occurred in the 1960s and 1970s in the United States.

George Wallace was born on an Alabama farm. He earned a law degree from the University of Alabama. In 1948, as a delegate to the Democratic National Convention, Wallace did not join the southern bolt from the convention in protest of the civil rights plank. In 1958 he lost the Democratic nomination for governor of Alabama, and many interpreted this loss as a result of his soft position on race issues. Wallace did win the Alabama governorship in 1962, and in his inaugural address he pledged to defend segregation.

As governor, Wallace stood at the door of the University of Alabama to block the registration of two African-American students. President John Kennedy called out the National Guard to integrate the university.

In 1964, Wallace ran for the Democratic nomination for president and won 25% of the vote in the Wisconsin primary. In 1968 he ran as the candidate of the American Independent Party, and carried five states and 46 Electoral College votes. He ran again in 1972, but left the race after an assassin's bullet left him paralyzed; he had won the Florida and Indiana primaries before he withdrew. He campaigned briefly for president in 1976, but withdrew when it was obvious his candidacy was not going to catch fire. See:AMERICAN INDEPENDENT PARTY; ELECTIONS: 1968.

Reference: Dan T. Carter, The Politics of Rage: George Wallace, The Origins of New Conservatism, and the Transformation of American Politics ( New York: Simon and Schuster, 1995).


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Encyclopedia of American Parties, Campaigns, and Elections


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