Archives spotlight: Dan Evans’ keynote speech at the 1968 Republican National Convention

Archives spotlight: Dan Evans’ keynote speech at the 1968 Republican National Convention

Borrowing from the title of Legacy Washington’s current exhibit, 1968 was “the year that rocked Washington.”

From the civil rights movement to Vietnam and to growing concerns about the environment, it was a turbulent era in our history. With a passion for these issues and many more, Dan Evans went to Miami in August 1968 to deliver the keynote address of the Republican National Convention, at which Richard Nixon accepted the party’s nomination for president.

Evans, who was in his first term as Washington’s governor, was famous for his ability to work across the aisle as a strong believer in social progressiveness, the environment, and fiscal conservatism. He touched on all of these subjects without attacking anyone, which was rare even then. Here is an excerpt from his speech:

“Today, as never before, the nation demands new leadership: the fresh breeze of new energy; a full and honest reassessment of national goals; a new direction for its government; and a new hope for its citizens. Just as surely as we are assembled here this evening, there still remains a savage war in Vietnam and a savage war in the hearts of men seeking justice. And we cannot survive the both of them together for very much longer.”

See the transcript of the entire speech here, courtesy of the University of Washington.

MyNorthwest.com interviewed Evans in 2016 about the speech.

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