Re-examining Tricky Dick and the Pink Lady: Helen Gahagan Douglas, Gender, and New Deal Liberalism in the United States Senate Election in California, 1950Public Deposited
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This thesis examines the 1950 United States Senate election in California that pitted the New Deal liberal Helen Gahagan Douglas against the hard-line anti-communist Richard Nixon. By considering the election within the context of a changing economic landscape, the push to re-traditionalize gender norms following the upheaval of wartime the Douglas - Nixon senate race is a powerful example of how the subtle use of gender and sexism in political contests has historically been used to discredit women candidates. In this thesis I work to situate the Douglas vs. Nixon race within the broader nexus of American anti-communism and the politics of containment while combating some of the historical myths surrounding Douglas to demonstrate the extent to which gender and the re-orientation of liberal political philosophy in the postwar period contributed to the political defeat of one of the most promising political women of the twentieth century.
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