Black and white photograph of Goldwater and white text on a black background
Barry Goldwater (1909-1998) was a U.S. Senator from Arizona would ran as the Republican candidate against Lyndon Johnson in the 1964 presidential election. Goldwater is credited with pushing the Republican Party to the far right of their previous moderate platform with the assistance of supporters like Ronald Reagan, who gave a stirring national television speech shortly before the election titled “A Time for Choosing.” Goldwater published The Conscience of a Conservative, and is seen as the founder of the modern conservative political movement. His most famous quote “Extremism in the defense of liberty is no vice” from his acceptance speech for the Republican nomination resulted in the Johnson campaign depicting Goldwater as a proponent of nuclear war. In a hotly debated campaign Goldwater strongly criticized Johnson’s liberal domestic policies and defended his stand against the Civil Rights Amendment. Goldwater was defeated when incumbent Johnson won the election with over 60% of the popular vote.
Once a staunch supporter of Nixon, Goldwater was among those Republican leaders who visited the White House on August 7, 1974 to compel the president that he needed to resign in the wake of the Watergate Scandal. After retiring from the Senate, Goldwater began to express more libertarian views and at the end of his life, became a strong supporter of libertarian politics, and supported the removal of the ban against homosexuals in the military.