The “Checkers speech” was a televised address given by then-Senator Richard Nixon on September 23, 1952 as he was fighting to retain his spot on the national Republican ticket as the vice presidential nominee.
The speech was given in response to allegations of financial impropriety and was seen by millions of viewers across the country.
The controversy surrounding Nixon began in the summer of 1952, when it was revealed that he had accepted a number of gifts, including a black-and-white dog named “Checkers,” from supporters during his vice presidential campaign.
Critics argued that these gifts were improper and accused Nixon of using his public office for personal gain.
In response to these allegations, Nixon took to the airwaves to deliver the now-famous “Checkers speech.”
Nixon began the speech by expressing his regret that the controversy had arisen and explaining that the gifts he had received were not illegal or unethical.
He then went on to describe in detail the gifts he had received, including the dog Checkers, and explained why he believed they were not improper.
Nixon also used the speech to appeal to the American people — part of his forgotten man strategy — stating that he and his family were not wealthy and that the gifts were necessary for them to maintain a modest lifestyle.
He emphasized his humble upbringing and his commitment to public service, and asked the American people to judge him based on his record and not on the accusations being made against him.
The “Checkers speech” was a defining moment in Nixon’s political career, and is widely considered to be one of the most successful political speeches in American history.
The speech was seen by millions of viewers, and is credited with helping to save Nixon’s political career.
After the speech, many Americans expressed support for Nixon and criticized his critics for what they saw as a politically motivated attack. As a result, Nixon was able to weather the storm and eventually went on to serve as vice president under President Dwight D. Eisenhower.
Examples of “Checkers speech” in a sentence
- The Checkers speech was a turning point in Richard Nixon’s political career, and helped to save him from the allegations of financial impropriety.
- Many political analysts believe that the success of the Checkers speech was due in part to Nixon’s emotional appeal to the American people.
- The Checkers speech is often studied by students of political communication as a masterclass in how to effectively defend oneself in the face of controversy.