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Republican Party history from the year you were born

  • 1951: President Truman fires General Douglas MacArthur

    The five-star general, who played a key role in Pacific warfare during World War II and was a former Chief of Staff of the U.S. Army, was fired for his remarks about using U.S. nuclear weapons on China during the Cold War. The public were largely against MacArthur’s firing, and by early 1952, Truman’s approval rate fell to 22%.

  • 1952: Dwight D. Eisenhower is elected as the 34th president

    Eisenhower didn’t just defeat Democratic nominee Adlai Stevenson, he also ended a string of Democratic presidential wins dating back to 1932. He faced many major national and international events during his time in the White House, from the Korean War to the civil rights movement.

  • 1953: Eisenhower gives his Atoms for Peace address

    In his speech to the UN General Assembly, the Republican president called for the enlightenment of the American people and their allies about nuclear weapons. This led to the “Atoms for Peace” program, which did just that under the threat of Cold War nuclear warfare.

  • 1954: McCarthy is censured

    The rare decision to silence the Republican senator came after his controversial investigations of alleged communists in American society. After accusing a number of U.S. Army officers of communist sympathies, President Eisenhower finally ordered an investigation into McCarthy’s work, leading to his censorship.

  • 1955: Eisenhower deploys advisors to South Vietnam

    In one of the very earliest instances of American involvement in the Vietnam War, Eisenhower sent the first U.S. military advisors to South Vietnam in early 1955. They went to train the South Vietnamese Army for combat against the North Vietnamese.

  • 1956: Eisenhower is re-elected

    Eisenhower had a presidential election rematch with his Democratic former opponent, Adlai Stevenson, who he defeated once again. The president’s reelection campaign was bolstered by a steady American economy and a recent end to the Korean War.

  • 1957: Eisenhower sends troops to Little Rock

    Although Eisenhower was known for his more centrist conservatism, he did ultimately send federal troops to protect African American students in Little Rock, Arkansas from white segregationists' anti-Black violence as they began school at a recently desegregated high school. In doing so, his actions marked one of the first times in which the national government intervened in terms of state-by-state racial segregation.

  • 1958: Eisenhower signs legislation making Alaska a state

    The process of Alaska becoming a state was more complicated than the process for some other states, because it bordered the Soviet Union and joined the U.S. during the Cold War. However, Eisenhower ultimately signed the Alaska Statehood Act in summer 1958.

  • 1959: Eisenhower signs a bill making Hawaii a state

    Eisenhower voiced support for Hawaiian statehood early in his presidency, a step that Hawaiian citizens echoed when they voted on a referendum to accept U.S. statehood in June 1959. In August 1959, the president signed a proclamation making Hawaii the 50th state.

  • 1960: Herbert Hoover speaks at the RNC

    At the time, Hoover was the only living former Republican president. He gave a farewell speech on the opening day of the Chicago convention, returning to the place where he’d been renominated as the Republican presidential nominee in 1932.