George McGovern

Born Jul 19, 1922

George Stanley McGovern, is an historian, author, and former U.S. Representative, U.S. Senator, and the Democratic Party presidential nominee in the 1972 presidential election. McGovern grew up in Mitchell, South Dakota, where he was a renowned debater. He volunteered for the U.S.  Army Air Forces upon the country's entry into World War II and as a B-24 Liberator pilot flew 35 missions over German-occupied Europe.… Read More

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Learn about the memorable moments in the evolution of George McGovern.


1922 Birth Born on July 19, 1922.


1940 17 Years Old 1 More Event
He graduated in 1940 in the top ten percent of his class. … Read More
1941 18 Years Old 1 More Event
In April 1941, McGovern began dating fellow student Eleanor Stegeberg, who had grown up in Woonsocket, South Dakota. … Read More
1942 19 Years Old 1 More Event
In January 1942 he drove with nine other students to Omaha, Nebraska, and volunteered to join the United States Army Air Forces. … Read More


1943 20 Years Old 1 More Event
In February 1943, during his junior year, he and a partner won a regional debate tournament at North Dakota State University that featured competitors from thirty-two schools across a dozen states; upon his return to campus, he discovered that the Army had finally called him up. … Read More
Around April 1944, McGovern went on to advanced flying school at Pampa Army Airfield in Texas for twin-engine training on the AT‑17 and AT‑9. … Read More
In January 1945, McGovern used R&R time to see every sight that he could in Rome, and to participate in an audience with the Pope. … Read More
1946 - 1949 6 More Events
Meanwhile, McGovern had become a popular if politically outspoken teacher at Dakota Wesleyan, with students dedicating the college yearbook to him in 1952.


1953 - 1958 7 More Events
1960 37 Years Old 1 More Event
In 1960, McGovern decided to run for the U.S. Senate and challenge the Republican incumbent Karl Mundt, a formidable figure in South Dakota politics whom McGovern loathed as an old-style McCarthyite. … Read More
McGovern assumed the post on January 21, 1961. … Read More
In April 1962, McGovern announced he would run for election to South Dakota's other Senate seat, intending to face incumbent Republican Francis H. Case. … Read More


1963 - 1967 14 More Events
As a senator, McGovern was an exemplar of modern American liberalism. He became most known for his outspoken opposition to the growing U.S. involvement in the Vietnam War. He staged a brief nomination run in the 1968 presidential election as a stand-in for the assassinated Robert F. Kennedy. … Read More
…  In 1969, McGovern was named chair of the Commission on Party Structure and Delegate Selection, also known as the McGovern–Fraser Commission; due to the influence of former McCarthy and Kennedy supporters on the staff, the commission significantly reduced the role of party officials and insiders in the nomination process, increased the role of caucuses and primaries, and mandated quotas for proportional black, female, and youth delegate representation. … Read More
1970 - 1971 5 More Events
McGovern's long-shot, grassroots-based 1972 presidential campaign found triumph in gaining the Democratic nomination but left the party badly split ideologically, and the failed vice-presidential pick of Thomas Eagleton undermined McGovern's credibility.


1973 50 Years Old 1 More Event
On January 20, 1973, a few hours after Richard Nixon was re-inaugurated, McGovern gave a speech at the Oxford Union that talked about the abuses of Nixon's presidency; it brought criticism, including from some Democrats, for being ill-mannered.
McGovern displayed the political resiliency he had shown in the past. In the 1974 U.S. Senate elections, McGovern faced possible political peril due to having neglected the state during his long presidential campaign, and by May 1973, he had already begun campaigning for reelection. … Read More
1976 - 1978 3 More Events
1980 57 Years Old 1 More Event
In the 1980 Senate election in South Dakota, McGovern was one of several liberal Democratic senators targeted for defeat by the National Conservative Political Action Committee (NCPAC), which put out a year's worth of negative portrayals of McGovern. … Read More
1981 58 Years Old 1 More Event
Nevertheless, he refused to believe that American liberalism was dead in the time of Reagan; remaining active in politics, in January 1981 he founded the political organization Americans for Common Sense. … Read More


McGovern attempted another presidential run in the 1984 Democratic primaries. … Read More
1988 - 2000 8 More Events
McGovern's book The Third Freedom: Ending Hunger In Our Time was published in January 2001; with its title making reference to Roosevelt's Four Freedoms speech, it proposed a plan whereby chronic world hunger could be eliminated within thirty years.
2003 81 Years Old 1 More Event
From around 2003 to 2005, McGovern owned a bookstore in his summer home of Stevensville in Montana's Bitterroot Valley, until deciding to sell it due to lack of sufficient market.
2006 84 Years Old In October 2006, the $8.5 million George and Eleanor McGovern Library and Center for Leadership and Public Service was dedicated at Dakota Wesleyan University. … Read More
McGovern's wife Eleanor was too ill to attend the ceremony, and she died of heart disease on January 25, 2007, at their home in Mitchell.
In January 2008, McGovern wrote an op-ed in the Washington Post calling for the impeachment of President George W. Bush and Vice-President Dick Cheney, saying they had violated the U.S. Constitution, transgressed national and international law, and repeatedly lied to the American people. … Read More
2009 - 2011 2 More Events
By January 2012, he was promoting his latest book, What It Means to Be a Democrat.
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