Rockefeller, Nelson Aldrich

The Columbia Encyclopedia, 6th ed.

Rockefeller, Nelson Aldrich

Nelson Aldrich Rockefeller, 1908–79, U.S. public official, governor of New York (1959–73), Vice President of the United States (1974–77), b. Bar Harbor, Maine; grandson of John D. Rockefeller. A director of Rockefeller Center from 1931 to 1958, he also served in many government posts, including coordinator of the Office of Inter-American Affairs (1940–44), chairman of the International Development Advisory Board (1950–51), and chairman of the President's Advisory Committee on Government Organization (1952–58). A Republican, he defeated (1958) W. Averell Harriman for the governorship of New York, and was reelected in 1962, 1966, and 1970. As governor he expanded state services in such areas as education, transportation, housing, welfare, and environmental control. He unsuccessfully campaigned for the Republican presidential nomination in 1960, 1964, and 1968. In Dec., 1973, he resigned from the governorship to serve as chairman of the National Commission on Critical Choices for America. In 1974 President Ford nominated him for the vice presidency under the terms of the Twenty-fifth Amendment. Despite some criticism of the political uses to which he had put his vast wealth, he was confirmed by Congress. Rockefeller wrote The Future of Federalism (1968), Unity, Freedom and Peace (1968), and Our Environment Can Be Saved (1970).

See biographies by C. Reich (1996) and R. N. Smith (2014).

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