I Like Ike: Dwight Eisenhower, 1952

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The Saturday Evening Post was one of the most popular weekly magazines in the country for the first half of the twentieth century. General Dwight Eisenhower’s portrait, painted by Norman Rockwell, was featured on the cover on October 11, 1952, just weeks before the election. The smiling, relaxed portrait of the World War II commander reflected—and contributed to—his widespread popularity among voters. Courtesy of National Portrait Gallery via Smithsonian Institution.

Dwight Eisenhower won the election of 1952 in a landslide and became a widely celebrated president who led the country during an era of economic prosperity.  Prior to his presidential candidacy, however, Eisenhower was a political outsider; he had no public party affiliation and had never even voted.  

Like Jackson and Taylor, Eisenhower was a military hero, most famous for his service as a five-star general and commander of the Allied forces in Europe during World War II. In 1948, Eisenhower was courted as a candidate by both the Democratic and Republican parties, but declined to run. In 1952, however, he declared that he was a Republican and agreed to run for president on a platform of opposition to communism, the Korean War, and corruption.

Eisenhower initially resisted pressure to actively campaign, and was still serving as a NATO commander in Europe during the first several months of his candidacy. He returned to campaign during the summer of 1952 and, already a household name, Eisenhower’s heroic, yet down-to-earth demeanor and catchy “I like Ike” slogan propelled him to victory.