George McGovern

As the Vietnam War dragged on, the gap between parties grew and presidential campaigns needed to be different. That difference came in the efforts of George McGovern. McGovern, the son of a Wesleyan Methodist (Wheaton College’s early denominational benefactor) minister, came to Wheaton College in October 1972 as the Democratic Presidential nominee. McGovern’s speech was less of a political speech than an attempt to help evangelicals understand his theologically-informed political philosophy. This “Gospel According to McGovern” had a mixed reception. Many younger evangelicals supported McGovern, including Wheaton graduate Tom Skinner. These younger evangelicals liked how McGovern expressed real concern for hunger, war, poverty and ecology. However, older mainstream evangelicals looked to Billy Graham, who lent his support to Nixon. The Wesley Pippert Collection contains a great deal of research material on McGovern’s campaign as Pippert was assigned by United Press International to cover McGovern’s campaign.