College of Arts and Sciences
Margaret Chase Smith, Elections, 1972, Maine
American Politics | History
Kobzowicz, Allison, "Margaret Chase Smith's 1972 Election: The Fall of an Institutional Giant" (2019). Senior Honors Theses. 876.
Margaret Chase Smith was the first woman to serve in both houses of Congress and was well-known by her constituents in Maine as a principled, integrous public servant. In 1972, after 24 years in the Senate, Margaret Chase Smith lost her first ever election to democratic challenger, William Hathaway. An examination of the primary source documents available at the Margaret Chase Smith Library in Skowhegan, Maine, as well as local and national newspaper coverage, finds three main reasons that Smith suffered defeat: Smith was unwilling to let go of her traditional way of campaigning, she was berated by a press that she had antagonized throughout her career, and the state of national politics caused a coalition of out-of-state forces to rise up against her.