The Senator Who Stood Up to Joseph McCarthy When No One Else Would

Margaret Chase Smith was the first woman to serve both the House and the Senate and always defended her values, even when it meant opposing her party

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Margaret Chase Smith became the first woman ever to serve in both the House of Representatives and the Senate—and the first senator to stand up against Joseph McCarthy’s Red Scare. (Library of Congress)
smithsonianmag.com

“It is high time we stopped thinking politically as Republicans and Democrats about elections and started thinking patriotically as Americans about national security based on individual freedom.”

Those words, spoken by Margaret Chase Smith, freshman senator from Maine, never mentioned Joseph McCarthy by name, but it was abundantly clear to all who listened that her criticisms were leveled directly at him. Her speech represented a highlight for the congressional maverick with a career full of similar moments of bipartisanship.

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