|37th President of the United States|
January 20, 1969
January 20, 1973
|Vice President:||George Romney|
|Preceded by:||Wayne Morse|
|Succeeded by:||Edmund Muskie|
|49th Governor of New York|
January 1, 1959 – January 20, 1969
|Preceded by:||W. Averell Harriman|
|Succeeded by:||Malcolm Wilson|
|Born:||July 8, 1908|
Bar Harbor, Maine
|Died:||January 26, 1979(aged 70)|
New York, New York
|Birth name:||Nelson Aldrich Rockefeller|
|Spouse(s):||Mary Todhunter Clark (1930-1962)|
Margaretta Fitler Murphy (1963-1979)
|Alma mater:||Dartmouth College (A.B.)|
Nelson Aldrich Rockefeller (July 8, 1908 – January 26, 1979) was an American businessman, philanthropist and politician who was the 37th President of the United States. Prior to his election, he was the 49th Governor of New York.
During his lifetime, Rockefeller was the leading light of the so-called "liberal Republican" movement, a title picked up by Senator Lowell Weicker, who also later became president. Rockefeller's political career began as an adviser on health, education, and welfare to Earl Warren from 1953-1954, after which he began preparing for his run for Governor of New York, an office he won in 1958. His tenure as governor was generally hailed as a model of pragmatic leadership, and his loyalty to the Warren administration after their rocky reelection in 1960 deeply ingratiated him to his party. In the 1964 election, Rockefeller stayed loyal to Attorney General Richard Nixon rather than the insurgent third-party campaign of Vice President Robert Taft, and was offered the vice presidential slot by Nixon for his efforts. Rockefeller demurred, and pointed Nixon to liberal Minnesota Governor Harold Stassen, whom he picked.
After Nixon's loss in 1964, all eyes in the GOP turned to Rockefeller, who began dutifully putting together a campaign. On the issues of the day, Rockefeller was not actually terribly different than Wayne Morse, and so he elected to focus on what differences they had, as well as his and his running mate George Romney's business experience, and to put special emphasis on the tenor of the campaigns. Rockefeller's strategy paid off, and he was elected easily in 1968.
Rockefeller's duration as president was most known for containing the beginnings of the Vietnam War in 1972, a conflict that would stretch throughout the 1970s. Rockefeller's main flaw was foreign policy, and he was seen to waffle on the question of communism and containment in the summer of 1972, which opened him up to an attack from the right by Democratic nominee Edmund Muskie and, especially, his running mate, Henry Jackson. Muskie ended up beating Rockefeller in a historic landslide.