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Encyclopedia > Edmund Sixtus Muskie
Edmund Muskie
Edmund Muskie

Edmund Sixtus Muskie (Edmund Marciszewski) (March 28, 1914March 26, 1996) was a Polish-American politician from Maine. He served as Governor of Maine, as a US Senator, and as US Secretary of State. He was noted for being one of the first--and leading--environmentalists in the Senate.

Muskie was born in Rumford, Maine, the son of Catholic Polish immigrants. He graduated from Bates College in 1936 and Cornell University Law School in 1939 before serving in the United States Navy during World War II.

After the war he was instrumental in building up the Democratic Party in Maine. Maine had traditionally been a Republican state, notable for being one of the two states that Alf Landon carried against Franklin Roosevelt in 1936.

He served in the Maine House of Representatives before being elected Governor in 1954. He was elected to the U.S. Senate in 1958, defeating incumbent Republican Fred Payne, and won reelection in 1964, 1970, and 1976, serving until his resignation on May 7, 1980 to become Secretary of State. He served in this capacity from 1980 to 1981 during the Jimmy Carter administration, following the resignation of Cyrus Vance.

Memorial to Edmund Muskie in his birthplace, Rumford, Maine

He was the Democratic Party's nominee for Vice-President in 1968. Before the 1972 election he was viewed as the frontrunner, a moderate establishment candidate, for the Democratic Presidential nomination. But the grassroots Iowa caucuses made the early runnings more liberal and anti-war than Muskie's perceived positions, and Muskie's perhaps surprising political inexperience - having built up the Democratic Party in his home state, he had never been in a primary battle before, and his performance was criticized - began to show. Muskie lost momentum, and after winning the New Hampshire primary by only a small margin, saw his lead fall to South Dakota Senator George McGovern. Many also blame Muskie's loss on his emotional defense of his wife, Jane Muskie, after a conservative newspaper criticized Mrs. Muskie. Muskie seemingly wept as he spoke outside the newspaper's offices, yet he would later claim that what seemed to be tears were actually melted snowflakes. Had this not been a controversy, many question whether Muskie would have won the nomination and gone on to defeat President Nixon. McGovern would go on to win the nomination before losing the election in a landslide to Richard Nixon.

See also

Preceded by:
Frederick Payne
U.S. Senators from Maine
1959 – 1980
Succeeded by:
George Mitchell
Preceded by:
Hubert H. Humphrey
Democratic Party Vice Presidential candidate
1968 (lost)
Succeeded by:
Thomas Eagleton
Sargent Shriver*
Preceded by:
Cyrus Vance
United States Secretary of State
1980 – 1981
Succeeded by:
Alexander M. Haig

* Thomas Eagleton would be the original Vice Presidential nominee in 1972. He would withdraw from the race and be replaced by Sargent Shriver.

  Results from FactBites:
Edmund Muskie - Facts, Information, and Encyclopedia Reference article (898 words)
Muskie was born in Rumford, Maine, the son of Roman Catholic Polish immigrants.
Muskie became one of the first environmentalists to enter the U.S. Senate and was a leading campaigner for new and stronger measures to curb pollution and provide a cleaner environment.
Muskie's broadcast was seen as thoughtful and definitive in comparison to the message of President Nixon, who appearing in fl and white, seemed harsh and paranoid over unrest in the nation over Vietnam and the economy.
Bates College | Edmund S. Muskie (215 words)
Edmund Sixtus Muskie was born in 1914 in Rumford, Maine.
Muskie was elected Maine's governor in 1954 and served two terms before winning election to the U.S. Senate in 1958.
Muskie was also the first chair of the Senate Committee on the Budget and served on the Foreign Relations Committee, among other committee assignments.
  More results at FactBites »



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