Silent Majority


Pat Buchanan – Richard Nixon

“The silent majority is an unspecified large group of people in a country or group who do not express their opinions publicly. The term was popularized by U.S. President Richard Nixon in a November 3, 1969, speech in which he said, ‘And so tonight—to you, the great silent majority of my fellow Americans—I ask for your support.’ In this usage it referred to those Americans who did not join in the large demonstrations against the Vietnam War at the time, who did not join in the counterculture, and who did not participate in public discourse. Nixon along with many others saw this group of Middle Americans as being overshadowed in the media by the more vocal minority. Preceding Nixon by half a century, it was employed in 1919 by Warren G. Harding‘s campaign for the 1920 presidential nomination. Before that, the phrase was used in the 19th century as a euphemism referring to all the people who have died, and others have used it before and after Nixon to refer to groups of voters in various nations of the world. … Thirty-five years later, Nixon speechwriter Pat Buchanan recalled using the phrase in a memo to the president. … Nixon’s silent majority referred mainly to the older generation (those World War II veterans in all parts of the U.S.) but it also described many young people in the Midwest, West and in the South, many of whom eventually served in Vietnam. The Silent Majority was mostly populated by blue collar white people who did not take an active part in politics; suburban, exurban and rural middle class voters. They did, in some cases, support the conservative policies of many politicians. Others were not particularly conservative politically, but resented what they saw as disrespect for American institutions. … In his famous speech, Nixon contrasted his international strategy of political realism with the ‘idealism’ of a ‘vocal minority.’ He stated that following the radical minority’s demands to withdraw all troops immediately from Vietnam would bring defeat and be disastrous for world peace. Appealing to the silent majority, Nixon asked for united support ‘to end the war in a way that we could win the peace.’ The speech was one of the first to codify the Nixon Doctrine, according to which, ‘the defense of freedom is everybody’s business—not just America’s business.’ …”
Wikipedia
The Atlantic: How a Conservative Wins the Presidency in a Liberal Decade
With Nixon in ’68: The Year America Came Apart By Patrick Buchanan
YouTube: Nixon’s “Great Silent Majority”, Nixon rallies the Silent Majority

About 1960s: Days of Rage

Bill Davis - 1960s: Days of Rage
This entry was posted in 1968 DNC, Nixon, Vietnam War and tagged , , . Bookmark the permalink.

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