Study Guide

William Scranton in 1964 RNC Presidential Nomination Acceptance Speech

By Barry Goldwater

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William Scranton

This guy has a seriously impressive family lineage. He's so American, his family came over on the Mayflower. He's got, on his family tree, a Supreme Court Justice (and one of Abe Lincoln's BFFs), several U.S. Congressman, a couple governors, many uber-successful business magnates, and, of course, the founders of Scranton, Pennsylvania, most notably the home of the Dunder Mifflin Paper Company.

So it probably didn't surprise too many folks when Bill Scranton followed a similar trajectory in his own life. After attending some seriously big-reputation schools (like Yale), and taking time off from studies to serve in the Air Force during WWII, he came home and became a lawyer, then a businessman, then a politician.

In 1964, he ran against Goldwater, Rockefeller, and the rest in the Republican presidential primary. Like Goldwater, he didn't really want to run, but was called into action by his fellow moderate Republicans. They thought Scranton was a good foil to Barry's ardent conservatism, but, as we know, he didn't secure the nomination.

(His campaign team did cause a little controversy with a well-timed letter that Bill never approved… and Barry's campaign did not take lightly. The letter accused Goldwater's campaign of saying "in effect that the delegates are little more than a flock of chickens whose necks will he wrung at will" (source). In fact, it was reaction to this letter that helped Barry's team write his acceptance speech.)

Scranton went back to being Governor of Pennsylvania until his term expired in 1966. After that, even though he was offered some high-profile political positions (President Nixon offered him the Secretary of State job in 1968), he decided to leave politics and return to the business world.

That is, until President Ford chose him to be a U.S. Ambassador to the United Nations. He did that until he retired and eventually moved to Montecito, California. Oprah lives there. Maybe she was his neighbor.

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