Guest Essayist: Brian Chilton


At the Constitutional Convention of 1787 a Mrs. Powel of Philadelphia asked Benjamin Franklin, “Well, Doctor, what have we got, a republic or a monarchy?” to which Franklin responded, “A republic, if you can keep it.” The 1996 presidential election cycle and the twenty years hence have demonstrated the fragility of Franklin’s “If.”

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Guest Essayist – Gerald R. Ford Presidential Foundation

The Gerald R. Ford Presidential Foundation, the Grand Rapids Economic Club and the National Constitutional Center hosted “Our Constitution Works: President Ford’s Date with Destiny” on October 20, 2014 in Grand Rapids, Michigan. The following is a partial transcript of the videotaped panel discussion. Used with permission.

Doug DeVos, Gerald R. Ford Presidential Foundation Trustee, National Constitution Center Trustee and former Chair of the Grand Rapids Economic Club hosted the event. Steve Ford, son of Gerald & Betty Ford, illustrated his father’s belief in the pardon decision by retelling the story in which he personally asked his father about the pardon.

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Guest Essayist: Professor David Kopel


During the 1972 election, incumbent Republican President Richard Nixon won an astoundingly large margin, garnering 520 electoral votes. Despite his huge advantages during the election, President Nixon and his campaign operatives engaged in unethical and illegal activities during the campaign. The ultimate victim of Nixon’s crimes turned out to be Nixon himself, as he was forced to resign in 1974 after his misdeeds were uncovered. The unraveling of Nixon’s criminal conspiracies led to reforms for good government.

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Guest Essayist: John Marini

The American Mind with Charles R. Kesler: Presented by The Claremont Institute. Originally published on Jan 30, 2014 in the third segment with University of Nevada Reno Professor John Marini, Marini and Kesler discuss President Nixon and his losing battle with Washington bureaucracies. Used with permission.


John:  You have to begin to see what Nixon’s plan was after the election, and there you get a better sense of his view that this is the last time that we’re going to be able to take on the centralized bureaucratic apparatus and be able to hold it back.

Charles:  John, if Richard Nixon were a character in a western, who would he be?  Simon Legree?

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Guest Essayist: Juliette Turner


Richard M. Nixon: Thirty-Seventh President of the United States

Nickname: Red Hunter

Terms in Office: 1969-1973; 1973-1974

Fast Stats

  • Born January 9, 1913, in Yorba Linda, California
  • Parents: Francis Antony and Hannah Milhous Nixon
  • Died April 22, 1994, in New York, New York; age 81
  • Age upon Start of First Term: 56; Age upon Conclusion of First Term: 60
  • Age upon Start of Second Term: 60; Age upon Conclusion of Second Term: 61
  • Religious Affiliation: Quaker
  • Political Party: Republican
  • Height: 5 feet 11.5 inches
  • Vice President: Spiro T. Agnew (1969-1973) and Gerald R. Ford (1973-1974)

Bottom Line:

Most of Nixon’s successes came from international policy: his treaty with the Soviet Union, his negotiation to open trade with the People’s Republic of China, and his attempts to conclude the Vietnam War. In 174, a year into his second term, Nixon resigned to avoid the humiliation of impeachment after the infamous Watergate Scandal.

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Guest Essayist: Professor William Morrisey


1948: The Dixiecrats

The primary elections of 2016 have invited comparisons to political factions in American politics that haven’t appeared in such clear focus for nearly seventy years. Although the Republican Party of 1948 had papered over its divisions between moderate-to-liberal business interests on the East Coast—represented by New York Governor Thomas Dewey—and Middle-Western conservatives—represented by Robert Taft and, behind him, Herbert Hoover—Democrats split bitterly into three groups. The mainstream of the party nominated President Harry Truman; the left wing (which included democratic socialists and some communists) ran Henry Wallace on the ticket of the Progressive Party; and the segregationist, southern Democrats ran South Carolina Governor Strom Thurmond on the ticket of the States’ Rights Democratic Party or “Dixiecrats.” In one of the most famous upsets in American political history, Truman overcame his party’s fracturing and defeated Dewey, although the Dixiecrats won the combined 38 electoral votes of Louisiana, Mississippi, Alabama, and South Carolina. The Progressives failed to win a single electoral vote.

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Guest Essayist: Professor Joerg Knipprath


Franklin Delano Roosevelt, running for re-election in 1936, received 60.8% of the popular vote, second-highest popular vote percentage since that method of selecting presidential electors became dominant in the 1830s. Only Lyndon Johnson’s 61.1% over Barry Goldwater in 1964, Richard Nixon’s 60.7% over George McGovern in 1972, and Warren Harding’s 60.3% over James Cox in 1920 are on a similar scale. The electoral vote was even more lopsided, as Roosevelt defeated Kansas Governor Alf Landon 523 votes to 8 (46 states to 2). Only Ronald Reagan in 1984 (525 votes to 13; 49 states to 1 plus D.C.) and Richard Nixon in 1972 (520 votes to 17; 49 states to 1 plus D.C.) enjoyed similarly impressive margins since the modern two-party system emerged.

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