August 20, 1956 – Republican Convention – Day One – Great American Rituals.
The 1956 Republican National Convention was held by the Republican Party of the United States at the Cow Palace in San Francisco, California, from August 20 to August 23, 1956. U.S. Senator William F. Knowland was temporary chairman and former speaker of the House Joseph W. Martin Jr. served as permanent chairman. It renominated President Dwight D. Eisenhower and Vice President Richard M. Nixon as the party’s candidates for the 1956 presidential election.
Eisenhower was expected to be renominated by acclamation at the Convention until a lone delegate decided to vote for a fictitious candidate named “Joe Smith”. He voted the same when Nixon was nominated.
The 1956 GOP convention was held after that year’s Democratic National Convention. This was unusual, as since 1864, in every election but 1888, Democrats had held their convention second. It has become an informal tradition that the party holding the White House (which, accordingly, in 1956 had been the GOP) hosts their convention second, but it is unclear when this tradition began (Democrats had held the White House and held their conventions second between 1936 and 1952, but it is unclear whether they scheduled their conventions second in these years because of their White House incumbency, or whether they scheduled them second because it was traditional that Democratic National Conventions
A reminder of just how much has changed in the race for the Presidency.
For example – this short address by Utah Senator Wallace Bennett:
Sen. Wallace Bennett (R-Utah): “Our country has always recognized that people grow old. It’s part of the divine plan. And we’ve always gone out of our way to provide for those people. Never has that been more vigorously demonstrated than during the present Administration. More than ten million more Americans were made eligible for Social Security payments. Payments were raised for seven million more, who were already eligible. When the Republican Congress replaced the Democrat Congress in 1953, only 47% of our aged were eligible for Social Security benefits. Under Republican legislation 75% are covered. Social Security coverage was extended to Farmers by a Republican Congress. It was extended to 200 thousand Domestic workers by a Republican Congress. It was extended to 250 thousand Ministers by a Republican Congress. To a hundred thousand home workers – to over 3 million state and local Government employees, to fifty thousand Federal employees – all by a Republican Congress. The same Republican Congress that created the Department of Health, Education and Welfare. But the job is not finished, the program should be broadened, and it will be by a Republican Congress.”
Here is a one hour extract from the days activities for August 20, 1956 as reported by CBS Radio and their continuing gavel-to-gavel coverage of the 1956 Democratic and Republican Conventions.