Barry Goldwater served five terms as a United States Senator for Arizona and was the Republican nominee for President in the Election of 1964. He is credited with reviving the conservative movement in the United States in the 1960's. Although rebuffed nationally by the electorate, he mobilized a new wave of young conservatives who transferred their support to Ronald Reagan, the winner in the election of 1980.
Goldwater was born in Phoenix, on January 2, 1909, before Arizona achieved statehood. His father's family was Jewish and had established Goldwater's, the largest department store in Phoenix. His mother's side was Yankee Episcopalian. His parents married in an Episcopalian church and Goldwater regarded himself generally as Episcopalian throughout his life, although he did not regularly attend services.
Barry Goldwater attended Staunton Military Academy in Virginia and spent a year at the University of Arizona. On the death of his father Baron, he took over the management of the family department store and became known for his Republican views in a Democratic state.
During World War II, Goldwater flew planes for the U.S. Army Air Forces in battle zones around the world. In the Asian theater, he flew the "hump" to deliver supplies to allied forces in China. Following the war, he remained in the reserves, retiring eventually as a Major General.
Goldwater first entered politics on the municipal level, being elected to the Phoenix city council on a reform slate in 1949. He defeated an incumbent Democrat to gain a United States Senate seat in 1952. He was re-elected in 1958. Although he did not run for the Senate in 1964, as he was campaigning for the presidency, but he won re-election in 1968 and twice more thereafter.
Early in his career, Goldwater established a reputation for anti-communism. He voted against the censure of Senator Joseph McCarthy in 1954, but never engaged in the sort of vilification that stained McCarthy.
Goldwater's book, Conscience of a Conservative, published in 1960, made him a hero to anti-communist and anti-New-Deal Republicans. The movement to get the 1964 Republican nomination for Goldwater was not taken seriously by establishment Republicans, who regarded him as so obviously unelectable that the convention would never nominate him.
However, Goldwater's principal opponent in 1964 was Nelson Rockefeller, whose divorce and remarriage to a younger woman created a backlash. The birth of a child to his new wife just before the California primary probably cost him that election and provided Goldwater with a huge delegate count.
After that, no plausible opponent emerged capable of stopping Goldwater. He was nominated at the national convention in xxx and gave a ringing defense of conservatism in his acceptance speech which energized his supporters but appalled moderates.
During the campaign, his tendency to speak his mind forthrightly brought him criticisms as a "loose cannon," who could not be trusted with responsibility for The Bomb. His opponent, Lyndon B. Johnson, appeared to be a proponent of peace, although ironically he escalated the Vietnam War shortly after his inauguration.
The results of the 1964 election were a landslide victory for the Democrats and Barry Goldwater not a major political factor after that. His reputation, however, was revived by the success of Reagan and he remained a sentimental favorite of conservatives. In fact, his views tended to be more libertarian on social issues like gay rights that 21st century Republican conservatives, and he had little use for public displays of religiosity.
Barry Goldwater died in Arizona on May 29, 1998.
---- Selected Quotes ----
Quotes by Barry Goldwater.
Regarding Richard M. Nixon He was the most dishonest individual I ever met in my life. President Nixon lied to his wife, his family, his friends, longtime colleagues in the US Congress, lifetime members of his own political party, the American people and the world. Memoirs, 1988