McCarthy, Eugene Joseph

The Columbia Encyclopedia, 6th ed.
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McCarthy, Eugene Joseph

Eugene Joseph McCarthy, 1916–2005, U.S. political leader, b. Watkins, Minn. He served (1942–46) as a technical assistant for military intelligence during World War II and then taught (1946–49) at the College of St. Thomas in St. Paul, Minn. As a liberal Democratic member of the U.S. House of Representatives (1949–59) and the Senate (1959–71), McCarthy gained a reputation as an intellectual in politics. In 1967 he announced his candidacy for the Democratic presidential nomination as a direct challenge to President Lyndon B. Johnson's Vietnam policies. His antiwar position won the support of many liberals and his strong showing (Mar., 1968) in the New Hampshire primary brought Sen. Robert F. Kennedy into the race and helped persuade Johnson not to seek reelection. Defeated for the nomination by Hubert H. Humphrey, McCarthy retired from the Senate and resumed (1973) teaching, but subsequently mounted several (1972, 1976, 1988, 1992) futile campaigns for the presidency. Among his books are The Limits of Power (1967) and The Year of the People (1969).

See D. Sandbrook, Eugene McCarthy: The Rise and Fall of Postwar American Liberalism (2004).

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