Richard M. Nixon: “Silent Majority” Speech

(1969)

On November 3, 1969, President Richard M. Nixon delivered, via television, his Address to the Nation on the War in Vietnam, about his plans for ending the war in Vietnam. The address is often referred to as the “Silent Majority” Speech, for near its end he appealed for support from “the great silent majority of my fellow Americans”—that is, those who supported his policies but did not speak up. Nixon was implicitly contrasting these mainstream Americans with vocal opponents of his policies who protested and demonstrated against the war, as they had in October of that year in Washington, D.C.


In his address, Nixon outlined the reasons for U.S. involvement in Vietnam and defended that involvement. He also summarized the steps he had taken to pursue peace talks, emphasizing that those talks were failing because of the recalcitrance of the North Vietnamese negotiators. He announced the policy of turning combat operations over to the South Vietnamese while continuing to...

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Richard M. Nixon (Library of Congress)

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