|‹ 1956 1964 ›|
|United States Presidential election, 1960|
|November 8, 1960|
|Candidate||John Edgar Hoover||Thomas R. Sullivan||Dan White|
|Running mate||Camden Brown||Charles D. Ewing||John J. Williams|
|Green denotes Hoover/Brown, Blue denotes Sullivan/Ewing, Red denotes White/Williams|
The United States Presidential election of 1960 was held on November 8, 1960, to elect a President for the term starting January 20, 1961 and ending January 20, 1965. The incumbent President Thomas Sullivan of the Democratic Party stood for reelection to a second term against former FBI Director and National Security Advisor John Edgar Hoover, running on the American Liberty Party ticket in an insurgent campaign, and Governor Daniel White of Montana, the Nationalist candidate. Hoover won a narrow but clear victory both in the popular vote and in the electoral college, defeating Sullivan to become the only President in the 20th century elected without having held any elected office, high military rank or Cabinet-level appointment (in 1960, National Security Advisor was still not a Cabinet-level position), and the first President since the early 1800s to win without being a Democrat of Nationalist.
The election was contested in the context of a deep ongoing recession triggered by the worldwide financial crisis of 1958, from which the United States had weathered but not fully recovered from, and more significantly was seen in the shadow of the emerging Cold War, with France having recently defeated traditional American ally Turkey in the Black Sea War and with nuclear weapons technology now in the possession of France, whom US politicians had believed intended to attack the United States since the 1940s. Hoover ran as a patriotic conservative and a foreign policy hawk, promising to "close to the gap of readiness for a potential war that exists between us and the Empire of France" and vowing to match French technological, economic and military achievements both with government investment and private sector incentives, which he also argued would jump-start the economy. Four years after his own insurgent campaign to victory, Sullivan's reliance upon the traditional Democratic coalition failed to produce results, as he was forced to defend the South from Hoover's campaign, which sought to exploit Sullivan's weaknesses there amongst party leaders and conservative Southern Democrat voters. White, while a popular small-government advocate from Montana, ran what was regarded as an inept campaign and was seen as only helping drive traditional Nationalist voters over to Hoover.