President Sam Walton

17th March, 1992

On this day, former President Sam Walton, was given America's highest civilian award: the Presidential Medal of Freedom by his successor George Bush.

During his epic two-term Presidency, Walton fought a determined but only partly successful battle to get protectionist legislation through the U.S. Congress. The result was a batch of semi-voluntary measures that rewarded U.S. Companies for domestic sourcing.

Throughout his long business career, he had stuck doggedly to his core belief in "buying American," insisting that Wal-Mart stores only sold American-made products.

Tragically, he died only weeks after received the award. His successors on the board of Wal-Mart committed the long-term future of the retailer to American-made merchandise. Even though Wal-mart had lost ground to competitors such as Dollar General and Family Dollar, protectionists argued that tens of thousands of U.S. manufacturing jobs had been saved by "Uncle Sam".