A partial draft of the last 1956 presidential campaign speech of Dwight Eisenhower, featuring almost 50 words in his hand along with numerous underlines, circles, and cross-outs. Eisenhower, the presidential incumbent, revised the two printed pages of the speech he later delivered to supporters at the Philadelphia Convention Hall on November 1, 1956. Eisenhower’s revisions are in black colored pencil. We surmise this was most likely Eisenhower’s actual reading copy of the speech.
Eisenhower inscribed the following opening lines of the speech: “Mr. Chairman – Sen Duff + My fellow Penns [ylvanians] + My fellow Americans”. He inserted the word “political” in between “national” and “debate” in the first sentence. Interestingly, this edit, along with other changes, did not appear in newspaper transcripts of the speech. This could suggest that Eisenhower’s revisions were made at the eleventh hour, well after the speech had been submitted to the press. At the bottom of the first page, Eisenhower has scrawled a note about former U.S. Senator from Pennsylvania James H. Duff (1883-1969), who would escort the President and First Lady to the Speaker’s platform at the Convention Hall.
On the second page, Eisenhower has inserted “though I am a party member” before the clause “before all else.” He added “and this Administration” to the third sentence, and replaced the word “personal” with “simple”. Eisenhower added “of which I speak to you tonight” to the last sentence. Eisenhower’s heavy underlining of certain significant words or phrases indicates special emphasis; among the words highlighted are “I”, “Republicans”, and “Americans.”
Eisenhower gave this address on November 1, 1956, just five days before the national presidential election. Our two pages represent the first part of a longer speech discussing the achievements of and challenges to the Eisenhower Administration. International geopolitics informed much of Eisenhower’s speech. In November 1956, Eisenhower had condemned the brutal suppression of the Hungarian Revolution by the Soviet Union, and he had also objected to the Israeli, British, and French invasion of Egypt. In the address, Eisenhower reaffirmed America’s commitment to freedom, peace, and democracy.
Five days later, the Republican Eisenhower-Nixon team would handily defeat Democrats Adlai Stevenson and Estes Kefauver. Eisenhower commanded 86% of the Electoral College and more than 57% of the popular vote.
Provenance: Malcolm Forbes Collection.