Button, George Wallace, 1968


George Wallace used the slogan “Stand up for Alabama” in his successful campaign for governor of Alabama in 1963. During his term, he made a short, unsuccessful presidential run in the 1964 Democratic primaries. Having failed in his efforts to amend the Alabama constitution so he could succeed himself in the next election, Wallace supported the 1966 gubernatorial candidacy of his wife Lurleen who campaigned as a Democrat with her husband’s slogan pledging that he would continue to make the policy decisions in her administration. Lurleen’s victory meant that George Wallace was serving as “first gentleman” of his home state when he announced his intention to run for president as an independent in the 1968 election.

His state-specific slogan was easily adapted for a national audience. Even before Wallace confirmed his intention to run for president in 1968, his supporters had prepared a pamphlet entitled “Stand Up for America.” Wallace used the slogan for his candidacy as the nominee of the American Independent Party, an anti-civil rights, pro-states’ rights party. However, in keeping with his independent tone, Wallace did not name a running mate until he was required to do so in order to appear on some states’ ballots. Just a month before the election, Wallace chose retired Air Force Chief of Staff, General Curtis LeMay. A staunch conservative, LeMay was not interested in endorsing Wallace’s segregationist platform but agreed to run with him to help promote his own views on military policy including advocating the use of nuclear weapons to end conflicts such as the war in Vietnam.

The independents ran one of the more successful third-party campaigns in American history. Finishing behind the winning Republican ticket of Richard Nixon and Spiro Agnew and the Democrats Hubert H. Humphrey and Edmund Muskie, Wallace and LeMay received 13.5% of the popular vote and won five states in the Electoral College with 46 electoral votes, the last third party to win any electoral votes.

Wallace returned to the Democratic Party following his 1968 defeat. Paralyzed from the waist down by an assassination attempt in 1972 while seeking the Democratic presidential nomination, he served three more terms as governor of Alabama and entered the Democratic race a fourth time in 1976 winning three primaries before withdrawing.

Date Made: 1968

See more items in: Political History: Political History, General History Collection, American Democracy: A Great Leap of Faith

Exhibition: American Democracy

Exhibition Location: National Museum of American History

Credit Line: Robert N. Ferrell

Data Source: National Museum of American History

Id Number: 1986.1040.448Catalog Number: 1986.1040.448Accession Number: 1986.1040

Object Name: Button

Guid: http://n2t.net/ark:/65665/ng49ca746a8-ea27-704b-e053-15f76fa0b4fa

Record Id: nmah_1052010

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