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On July 14, 1972, Democratic Presidential candidate Senator George McGovern of South Dakota selected Senator Thomas Eagleton of Missouri as his running mate. Several days after Eagleton accepted his Party’s nomination for Vice President, it was revealed that he had sought treatment for nervous exhaustion and fatigue in the 1960s. Although McGovern initially responded that he had confidence in Eagleton, he faced increasing criticism for the process used to vet his running mate. The result? Citing his desire to “not divide the Democratic Party which already has too many divisions,” Eagleton stepped down on August 1.

McGovern considered several other candidates but eventually chose R. Sargent Shriver to join him on the ticket. Although he had never held elected office, Shriver had been the Director of the Peace Corps, led the Office of Economic Opportunity, and had served as the U.S. Ambassador to France. Additionally, his connection to the Kennedy family through his marriage to Eunice Kennedy, the sister of Jack and Robert, was a bonus.


George McGovern, Thomas Eagleton, R. Sargent Shriver, 1972 Presidential Campaign