You may have heard of the Silent Majority speech, but what was it? Why is it important? To learn more, read the background information below and listen to excerpts from the speech.
Nixon won the 1968 election with his campaign for ending the Vietnam War with an honorable peace. The pace of the administration's end of the war continued to spur demonstrations including the Moratorium to End the War in Vietnam in October of 1969.
Nixon delivered an address to the nation now referred to as "The Silent Majority Speech" on November 3, 1969. Nixon laid out a plan for the end of the war through the process of diplomatic negotiation and Vietnamization. At the close of the speech, he requested the support of the "great silent majority" for his plans.
Nixon's speech was enormously successful resulting in tens of thousands of letters and telegrams of support. Not only did the speech affect the war and Nixon presidency but also it promoted a political opportunity in the Republican Party to amass a New Majority and promote conservative policies. Others disagreed with the president, and voiced their opposition in letters and further demonstrations including another Moratorium later in November 1969. Included are some of the responses-both in favor and against the speech-to the President.
- Photograph of Nixon and his Chief of Staff, H. R. Haldeman, surrounded by telegrams from people reacting to the speech
- What is Nixon's reasoning behind his plan for ending the Vietnam War?
- Do you feel that Nixon makes a compelling argument with this speech?
- How do the responses to the speech reference his argument?
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