Richard M. Nixon

Richard Nixon served as Vice-president of the United States from 1953 to 1961 and as President of the United States from 1969 to 1974. Nixon was the Republican nominee for President in 1960 and campaigned actively in Virginia. Nixon tried to keep Virginia in the Republican column for presidential elections and to further erode Virginia white voter's historic allegiance to the Democratic Party. In an October 3, 1960 speech at Capitol Square in Richmond, Nixon challenged John F. Kennedy to state "exactly where he stands" on the Democratic Party platform. Nixon hoped to win over conservative Democratic voters and argued that "Thomas Jefferson would turn over in his grave" if he could read the Democratic platform. Nixon also took aim at Democrats who charged the Eisenhower administration with presiding over the largest expansion to date of Soviet and communist influence across the globe. Nixon spoke briefly about civil rights, conceding that "some of you don't approve" of the Republican plank supporting the 1957 Civil Rights Act. Nixon argued that civil rights issues were a national not just a Southern problem and pledged to do something to resolve the racial tensions in the country. Tying himself to the principles of Jefferson and Wilson, both Virginians, Nixon argued that the Republican Party was the party of fiscal conservativism and governmental restraint. Nixon's trip to Virginia was his seventh to the South and his second to Virginia. (Richmond Times-Dispatch, October 4, 1960)