The Presidential Election 1956


Map Code: Ax00089

Eisenhower had enjoyed a successful presidency, ending the Korean War and overseeing economic growth. A second term in office was put in doubt in 1955 when he suffered a heart attack. A full recovery led to his renomination, but he then underwent abdominal surgery. Eisenhower’s ill-health turned focus upon the choice of vice president, and Nixon was once again voted as running mate. The Democrats nominated Adlai Stevenson II to rerun, a repeat of the 1952 election, with Estes Kefauver for vice president. The two parties agreed on the key issues of the day – continuing peace, NATO, strong international relations and the limitation of Soviet influence – but Democratic support was weakened when Stevenson received Soviet support on his position on the testing of nuclear weapons. Both parties used television advertising, and Eisenhower had the support of more than half the country’s newspapers. Eisenhower-Nixon enjoyed a comfortable win, but unusually the Democrats maintained the House of Representatives and the Senate.

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