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A Pact Under God: Richard Nixon, Billy Graham, and the Evangelical Movement, 1950-1974 Open Access

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The connection between religion and the Presidency has been a long explored topic of interest for historians; from George Washington to George W. Bush, historians have traced the legacy of the White House and it's connection to religious rhetoric and religious organizations. Of all the Presidents explored, Richard Nixon gets the least attention, and is largely overlooked as a President that utilized religion to further his own political goals. Despite having a long lasting friendship with Evangelical preacher Billy Graham, Nixon has been perceived as largely dealing with religious organizations, specifically religious conservatives, at a distance. In analyzing primary source documents located within the Nixon Library and Billy Graham collections, as well as reexamining popular historiography, this study has found that Richard Nixon not only utilized conservative Protestant support more frequently than previously perceived, but that his relationship with Billy Graham, was a crucial bridge in winning the vote of conservative Protestants. As early at the mid 1950s, Nixon and Graham were utilizing each other to further campaign, White House, and conservative Protestant goals. This study is important in reassessing the role Richard Nixon played in the rise of the Evangelical movement, and Christian Right of the 1970s and 1980s.

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