Year
1968
Month Day
November 05

Richard Nixon elected president

Winning one of the closest elections in U.S. history, Republican challenger Richard Nixon defeats Vice President Hubert Humphrey. Because of the strong showing of third-party candidate George Wallace, neither Nixon nor Humphrey received more than 50 percent of the popular vote; Nixon beat Humphrey by less than 500,000 votes. 

Nixon campaigned on a platform designed to reach the “silent majority” of middle class and working class Americans. He promised to “bring us together again,” and many Americans, weary after years of antiwar and civil rights protests, were happy to hear of peace returning to their streets. Foreign policy was also a major factor in the election. Humphrey was saddled with a Democratic foreign policy that led to what appeared to be absolute futility and agony in Vietnam. Nixon promised to find a way to “peace with honor” in Vietnam, though he was never entirely clear about how this was to be accomplished. The American people, desperate to find a way out of the Vietnam quagmire, were apparently ready to give the Republican an opportunity to make good on his claim.

During his presidency, Nixon oversaw some dramatic changes in U.S. Cold War foreign policy, most notably his policy of detente with the Soviet Union and his 1972 visit to communist China. His promise to bring peace with honor in Vietnam, however, was more difficult to accomplish. American troops were not withdrawn until 1973, and South Vietnam fell to communist forces in 1975. Nixon's presidency was eventually marred by the Watergate scandal

FACT CHECK: We strive for accuracy and fairness. But if you see something that doesn't look right, click here to contact us! HISTORY reviews and updates its content regularly to ensure it is complete and accurate.

ALSO ON THIS DAY

Army major kills 13 people in Fort Hood shooting spree

On November 5, 2009, 13 people are killed and more than 30 others are wounded, nearly all of them unarmed soldiers, when a U.S. Army officer goes on a shooting rampage at Fort Hood in central Texas. The deadly assault, carried out by Major Nidal Malik Hasan, an Army psychiatrist, ...read more

Mughal victory assures Akbar’s ascension

Fifty miles north of Delhi, a Mughal army defeats the forces of Hemu, a Hindu general who was trying to usurp the Mughal throne from 14-year-old Akbar, the recently proclaimed emperor. The Mughals, whose culture blended Perso-Islamic and regional Indian elements, established an ...read more

Woodrow Wilson wins landslide victory

Democrat Woodrow Wilson is elected the 28th president of the United States, with Thomas R. Marshall as vice president. In a landslide Democratic victory, Wilson won 435 electoral votes against the eight won by Republican incumbent William Howard Taft and the 88 won by third-party ...read more

King James learns of Gunpowder Plot

Early in the morning, King James I of England learns that a plot to explode the Parliament building has been foiled, hours before he was scheduled to sit with the rest of the British government in a general parliamentary session. At about midnight on the night of November 4-5, ...read more

George Foreman becomes oldest heavyweight champ

On November 5, 1994, George Foreman, age 45, becomes boxing’s oldest heavyweight champion when he defeats 26-year-old Michael Moorer in the 10th round of their WBA fight in Las Vegas. More than 12,000 spectators at the MGM Grand Hotel watched Foreman dethrone Moorer, who went ...read more

The order is given: Bomb Pearl Harbor

On November 5, 1941, the Combined Japanese Fleet receive Top-Secret Order No. 1: In just over a month's time, Pearl Harbor is to be bombed, along with Malaya (now known as Malaysia), the Dutch East Indies and the Philippines. Relations between the United States and Japan had been ...read more

George W. Bush marries Laura Welch in Midland, Texas

On November 5, 1977, 31-year-old future President George W. Bush marries 31-year-old Laura Welch at the First United Methodist Church in her hometown of Midland, Texas. Bush was the son of George H.W. Bush, the 41st president of the United States. Both father and son worked in ...read more

300 Santee Sioux sentenced to hang in Minnesota

In Minnesota, more than 300 Santee Sioux are found guilty of raping and murdering Anglo settlers and are sentenced to hang. A month later, President Abraham Lincoln commuted all but 39 of the death sentences. One of the Native Americans was granted a last-minute reprieve, but ...read more

Writers strike stalls production of TV shows, movies

Members of the Writers Guild of America, East, and Writers Guild of America, West—labor organizations representing television, film and radio writers—go on strike in Los Angeles and New York after negotiations break down with the Alliance of Motion Picture and Television ...read more

Lincoln removes General McClellan from Army of the Potomac

A tortured relationship ends when President Abraham Lincoln removes General George B. McClellan from command of the Army of the Potomac. McClellan ably built the army in the early stages of the war but was a sluggish and paranoid field commander who seemed unable to muster the ...read more

FDR re-elected for a third term

On November 5, 1940, Franklin Delano Roosevelt is re-elected for an unprecedented third term as president of the United States. Roosevelt was elected to a third term with the promise of maintaining American neutrality as far as foreign wars were concerned: “Let no man or woman ...read more