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Margaret Chase Smith: A Featured Biography

Photo of Margaret Chase Smith
Margaret Chase Smith Library

On June 1, 1950, Margaret Chase Smith delivered in the Senate Chamber a "Declaration of Conscience" against McCarthyism, defending every American's "right to criticize...right to hold unpopular beliefs...right to protest; the right of independent thought." A Republican senator from Maine, Smith served 24 years in the U.S. Senate beginning in 1949, following more than four terms in the House of Representatives. She was the first woman to serve in both houses of Congress. At a time when it was unusual for women to serve in Congress, Smith chose not to limit herself to "women's issues," making her mark in foreign policy and military affairs. She established a reputation as a tough legislator on the Senate Armed Services Committee. She also became the first woman to run for president on a major party ticket in 1964. When she left the Senate in 1973, Smith retired to her home in Skowhegan, Maine, where she died in 1995, at the age of 97. In October of 2005, the Senate unveiled a new portrait of Smith.


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Related Art: Margaret Chase Smit
Senate art depicting Margaret Chase Smith.