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Dole's Presidential Campaign Essay

1287 words - 6 pages

When one reflects upon the various characteristics of all the previous presidents in the history of America, one trait has remained unchanged: they have all been male. In well over 200 years and 57 presidential elections, the United States has never elected a woman as president. Still more telling, a woman has never even been nominated to run for president at the top of the ticket of a major national political party in the U.S., and only two, Geraldine Ferraro and Sarah Palin, have been selected for the number two slot. Nevertheless, women have been running for the nation’s highest office even before they earned the right to vote in 1920 with the passage of the 19th Amendment. In 1872 Victoria Claflin Woodhull became the first woman to run for President of the United States and was unanimously nominated by the Equal Rights Party (Gutgold 5). Many believe today’s female politicians are treated unfairly, but it nothing compared to the treatment Woodhull received. She was nicknamed “Mrs. Satan” by her opponents and was arrested on the day of the election (Watson and Gordon 14). Regardless, Woodhull has been a trailblazer for the women that have followed in her footsteps. Other notable women who have ran for the presidency include Margaret Chase Smith, Shirley Chisholm, Patricia Schroeder, Elizabeth Dole, Carol Mosley Braun, Hillary Clinton, and Michelle Bachmann. What follows is a closer examination of the campaign of Elizabeth Dole. More specifically, special attention will be placed on the personal and career experiences she emphasized to voter, what campaign issues she focused on and why, her treatment by the media, and reasons why she ultimately did not succeed.
Elizabeth Dole, the spouse of former U.S. Senate Majority Leader, Republican vice-presidential nominee, and Republican presidential nominee Bob Dole, began her short quest to become the Republican nominee for the 2000 presidential election in March 1999 (Gutgold 106). Technically she had only formed an exploratory committee and never officially declared her candidacy. Even so, leading up to her decision to seek the presidency, she had amassed a substantial and impressive list of personal, academic, and career achievements to run on. In 1958 Dole graduated from Duke University with a degree in political science, and she then went on to earn her master’s degree in education from Harvard in 1960 (Clift and Brazaitis 152). Shortly after that she attended Harvard Law School which had only 23 other women in her class out of 550 students (152). Following the completion of her education, Dole began working for the White House Office of Consumer Affairs in both the Johnson and Nixon Administrations (Gutgold 109). Other notable positions she held during her career include serving for a time as the U.S. Secretary of Transportation under President Ronald Reagan, as the U.S. Secretary of Labor under President George H. W. Bush, and as the President of the American Red Cross (Gutgold...

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