The University of Maine's
Margaret Chase Smith Center for Public Policy is named for the
Skowhegan, Maine, native who became one of the country's greatest
Starting with a special election in 1940, Margaret Chase Smith's
Congressional career spanned 33 years — the remainder of her late
husband's term in the U.S. House of Representatives, followed by four
full House terms. In 1948, she won election to the first of four U.S.
Senate terms, becoming the first woman in American history elected to
both houses of Congress.
Perhaps the most memorable act in her political career was her 1950
"Declaration of Conscience" speech, when she became the first senator to
publicly denounce Sen. Joseph McCarthy's tactics in his campaign against
Her courageous stand, in a time of fear and suspicion, was a turning
point in the nation's attitude toward "McCarthyism."
In 1964, Sen. Smith, a Republican, became the first woman to have her
name placed in nomination for the presidency by either of the two major
parties. Sen. Barry Goldwater won the nomination.
The University of Maine recognized her lifelong commitment to public
service when it created the Margaret Chase Smith Center for Public
Policy in 1989. The nonpartisan, independent research and public service
center has a mission to improve and promote the quality of public
dialogue about state, regional and national policy issues.
Sen. Smith died in 1995 at age 97.
"Lasting Impression" features a memorable person or event in UMaine