The American Pageant (12th Edition)

Chapter 38 – Page 887

Our Critique

887 “[In 1952] Republicans enthusiastically chose General Dwight D. Eisenhower on the first ballot. As a concession to the hard-line anticommunist wing of the party, the convention selected as ‘Ike’s’ running mate California senator Richard M. Nixon, who had distinguished himself as a relentless red-hunter.”

When the textbook refers to political liberals, they are never “hard-line” or ultra-liberals. But conservatives are “hard-line” and the textbook identifies Nixon as a “hard-line anticommunist” who “had distinguished himself as a relentless red-hunter.” Such a statement seems to dismiss the presence of so many communists in the US government—many of whom were smuggling classified documents to Russia in the hopes Stalin could use some of them to gain an advantage over the United States.

The issue was brought up by Whittaker Chambers, an ex-communist who testified under oath that Alger Hiss and other key State Department officials had been members of the Communist Party actively stealing documents for Russia. Nixon, as a patriot, followed up on Chambers’s revelations and eventually Alger Hiss was proven to be a Communist Party agent and went to prison for perjury for having denied it. Nixon and Eisenhower blended well: Eisenhower was a general and hero of World War II; Nixon was also heroic in helping root out treason in government, so that the victory won on the battlefield would be maintained in peacetime. The textbook seems resentful and dismissive of Nixon—which we see again three paragraphs later in the negative caricature of his televised “Checkers” speech.