Daniel Patrick Moynihan

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Daniel Patrick Moynihan
United States Senator
from New York
In office
January 3, 1977 January 3, 2001
Preceded by James Buckley
Succeeded by Hillary Clinton
Chair of the Senate Finance Committee
In office
January 3, 1993 January 3, 1995
Preceded by Lloyd Bentsen
Succeeded by Bob Packwood
Chair of the Senate Environment Committee
In office
September 8, 1992 January 3, 1993
Preceded by Quentin Burdick
Succeeded by Max Baucus
12th United States Ambassador to the United Nations
In office
June 30, 1975 February 2, 1976
President Gerald Ford
Preceded by John Scali
Succeeded by Bill Scranton
10th United States Ambassador to India
In office
February 28, 1973 January 7, 1975
President Richard Nixon
Gerald Ford
Preceded by Kenneth Keating
Succeeded by Bill Saxbe
Counselor to the President
In office
November 5, 1969 December 31, 1970
President Richard Nixon
Preceded by Arthur Burns
Succeeded by Donald Rumsfeld
White House Urban Affairs Advisor
In office
January 23, 1969 November 4, 1969
President Richard Nixon
Preceded byPosition established
Succeeded by John Ehrlichman
(Domestic Affairs)
Personal details
Born(1927-03-16)March 16, 1927
Tulsa, Oklahoma, U.S.
DiedMarch 26, 2003(2003-03-26) (aged 76)
Washington, D.C., U.S.
Political party Democratic
Elizabeth Brennan
(m. 1955)
ChildrenMaura Moynihan
Education Tufts University (BS, BA, MA, PhD)
London School of Economics
Military service
AllegianceFlag of the United States (1912-1959).svg  United States
Branch/serviceFlag of the United States Navy (1864-1959).svg  United States Navy
Years of service1944–1947
Rank US Navy O2 infobox.svg Lieutenant (Junior Grade)
UnitUSS Quirinus (ARL-39)

Daniel Patrick "Pat" Moynihan (March 16, 1927 – March 26, 2003) was an American politician, sociologist, and diplomat. A member of the Democratic Party, he represented New York in the United States Senate and served as an adviser to Republican U.S. President Richard Nixon.


Born in Tulsa, Oklahoma, Moynihan moved at a young age to New York City. Following a stint in the navy, he earned a Ph.D. in history from Tufts University. He worked on the staff of New York Governor W. Averell Harriman before joining President John F. Kennedy's administration in 1961. He served as an Assistant Secretary of Labor under Kennedy and President Lyndon B. Johnson, devoting much of his time to the War on Poverty. In 1965, he published the controversial Moynihan Report. Moynihan left the Johnson administration in 1965 and became a professor at Harvard University.

In 1969, he accepted Nixon's offer to serve as an Assistant to the President for Domestic Policy, and he was elevated to the position of Counselor to the President later that year. He left the administration at the end of 1970, and accepted appointment as United States Ambassador to India in 1973. He accepted President Gerald Ford's appointment to the position of United States Ambassador to the United Nations in 1975, holding that position until early 1976; later that year he won election to the Senate.

Moynihan represented New York in the Senate from 1977 to 2001. He served as Chairman of the Senate Environment Committee from 1992 to 1993 and as Chairman of the Senate Finance Committee from 1993 to 1995. He also led the Moynihan Secrecy Commission, which studied the regulation of classified information. He emerged as a strong critic of President Ronald Reagan's foreign policy and opposed President Bill Clinton's health care plan. He frequently broke with liberal positions, but opposed welfare reform in the 1990s. He also voted against the Defense of Marriage Act, the North American Free Trade Agreement, and the Congressional authorization for the Gulf War. He is tied with Jacob K. Javits as the longest-serving Senator from the state of New York. [1]

Early life and education

Moynihan was born in Tulsa, Oklahoma, the son of Margaret Ann (née Phipps), a homemaker, and John Henry Moynihan, a reporter for a daily newspaper in Tulsa. [2] [3] He moved at the age of six with his Irish Catholic family to New York City. Brought up in a poor neighborhood of Hell's Kitchen, [4] he shined shoes, attended various public, private, and parochial schools, and ultimately graduated from Benjamin Franklin High School in East Harlem. He was a parishioner of St. Raphael's Church, Hell's Kitchen, and also cast his first vote in that church. [5] He and his brother, Michael Willard Moynihan, spent most of their childhood summers at their grandfather's farm in Bluffton, Indiana. Moynihan briefly worked as a longshoreman before entering the City College of New York (CCNY), which at that time provided free higher education to city residents.

Following a year at CCNY, Moynihan joined the United States Navy in 1944. He was assigned to the V-12 Navy College Training Program at Middlebury College from 1944 to 1945 and then enrolled as a Naval Reserve Officers Training Corps student at Tufts University, where he received an undergraduate degree in naval science in 1946. He completed active service as gunnery officer of the USS Quirinus at the rank of lieutenant (junior grade) in 1947. Moynihan then returned to Tufts, where he completed a second undergraduate degree in sociology [6] cum laude in 1948 and earned an M.A. from the Fletcher School of Law and Diplomacy in 1949.

After failing the Foreign Service Officer exam, he continued his doctoral studies at the Fletcher School as a Fulbright fellow at the London School of Economics from 1950 to 1953. During this period, Moynihan struggled with writer's block and began to fashion himself as a "dandy," cultivating "a taste for Savile Row suits, rococo conversational riffs and Churchillian oratory" even as he maintained that "nothing and no one at LSE ever disposed me to be anything but a New York Democrat who had some friends who worked on the docks and drank beer after work." Moynihan spent 2 years as an RAF administrator at the American Air Base in Ruislip. [7]

He ultimately received his Ph.D. in history (with a dissertation on the relationship between the United States and the International Labour Organization) from the Fletcher School in 1961 while serving as an assistant professor of political science and director of a government research project centered around Averell Harriman's papers at Syracuse University's Maxwell School of Citizenship and Public Affairs. [8] [9]

Political career and return to academia

Moynihan's political career started in the 1950s, when he served as a member of New York Governor Averell Harriman's staff in a variety of positions (including speechwriter and acting secretary to the governor). He met his future wife, Elizabeth (Liz) Brennan, who also worked on Harriman's staff. [10]

This period ended following Harriman's loss to Nelson Rockefeller in the 1958 general election. Moynihan returned to academia, serving as a lecturer for brief periods at Russell Sage College (1957–1958) and the Cornell University School of Industrial and Labor Relations (1959) before taking a tenure-track position at Syracuse University (1959–1961). During this period, Moynihan was a delegate to the 1960 Democratic National Convention as part of John F. Kennedy's delegate pool.

Kennedy and Johnson administrations

Moynihan first served in the Kennedy administration as special (1961–1962) and executive (1962–1963) assistant to Labor Secretaries Arthur J. Goldberg and W. Willard Wirtz. In 1962, he authored the directive "Guiding Principles for Federal Architecture", which discouraged use of an official style for federal buildings, and has been credited with enabling "a wide ranging set of innovative public building projects" in subsequent decades, including the San Francisco Federal Building and the United States Courthouse in Austin, Texas. [11]

He was then appointed as Assistant Secretary of Labor for Policy, Planning and Research, serving from 1963 to 1965 under Kennedy and Lyndon B. Johnson. In this capacity, he did not have operational responsibilities. He devoted his time to trying to formulate national policy for what would become the War on Poverty. His small staff included Ralph Nader.

They took inspiration from historian Stanley Elkins's Slavery: A Problem in American Institutional and Intellectual Life (1959). Elkins essentially contended that slavery had made black Americans dependent on the dominant society, and that such dependence still existed a century later after the American Civil War. Moynihan and his staff believed that government must go beyond simply ensuring that members of minority groups have the same rights as the majority and must also "act affirmatively" in order to counter the problem of historic discrimination.

Moynihan's research of Labor Department data demonstrated that even as fewer people were unemployed, more people were joining the welfare rolls. These recipients were families with children but only one parent (almost invariably the mother). The laws at that time permitted such families to receive welfare payments in certain parts of the United States.

Controversy over the War on Poverty

Moynihan issued his research in 1965 under the title The Negro Family: The Case For National Action , now commonly known as The Moynihan Report. Moynihan's report [12] fueled a debate over the proper course for government to take with regard to the economic underclass, especially blacks. Critics on the left attacked it as "blaming the victim", [13] a slogan coined by psychologist William Ryan. [14] Some suggested that Moynihan was propagating the views of racists [15] because much of the press coverage of the report focused on the discussion of children being born out of wedlock. Despite Moynihan's warnings, the Aid to Families with Dependent Children (AFDC) program included rules for payments only if no "Man [was] in the house." [16] Critics of the program's structure, including Moynihan, said that the nation was paying poor women to throw their husbands out of the house.

After the 1994 Republican sweep of Congress, Moynihan agreed that correction was needed for a welfare system that possibly encouraged women to raise their children without fathers: "The Republicans are saying we have a hell of a problem, and we do." [17]

Local New York City politics and ongoing academic career

By the 1964 presidential election, Moynihan was recognized as a political ally of Robert F. Kennedy. For this reason he was not favored by then-President Johnson, and he left the Johnson Administration in 1965.[ citation needed ] He ran for office in the Democratic Party primary for the presidency of the New York City Council, a position now known as the New York City Public Advocate. However, he was defeated by Queens District Attorney Frank D. O'Connor.[ citation needed ]

During this transitional period, Moynihan maintained an academic affiliation as a fellow at Wesleyan University's Center for Advanced Studies from 1964 to 1967. In 1966, he was appointed to the faculties of Harvard University's Graduate School of Education and Graduate School of Public Administration as a full professor of education and urban politics. After commencing a second extended leave because of his public service in 1973, his faculty line was transferred to the University's Department of Government, where he remained until 1977. From 1966 to 1969, he also held a secondary administrative appointment as director of the Harvard–MIT Joint Center for Urban Studies. [9] With turmoil and riots in the United States, Moynihan, "a national board member of ADA incensed at the radicalism of the current anti-war and Black Power movements", decided to "call for a formal alliance between liberals and conservatives," [18] and wrote that the next administration would have to be able to unite the nation again.

Nixon administration

Connecting with President-elect Richard Nixon in 1968, Moynihan joined the Executive Office of the President in January 1969 as Assistant to the President for Domestic Policy and executive secretary of the Council of Urban Affairs (later the Urban Affairs Council), a forerunner of the Domestic Policy Council envisaged as an analog to the United States National Security Council. As one of the few people in Nixon's inner circle who had done academic research related to social policies, he was very influential in the early months of the administration. However, his disdain for "traditional budget-conscious positions" (including his proposed Family Assistance Plan, a "negative income tax or guaranteed minimum income" for families that met work requirements or demonstrated that they were seeking work which ultimately stalled in the Senate despite prefiguring the later Supplemental Security Income program) led to frequent clashes (belying their unwavering mutual respect) with Nixon's principal domestic policy advisor, conservative economist and Cabinet-rank Counselor to the President Arthur F. Burns. [19]

While formulating Nixon's Guaranteed Annual Income (GAI) proposal, Moynihan conducted significant discussions concerning a Basic Income Guarantee with Russell B. Long and Louis O. Kelso.

Although Moynihan was promoted to Counselor to the President for Urban Affairs with Cabinet rank shortly after Burns was nominated by Nixon to serve as Chair of the Federal Reserve in October 1969, it was concurrently announced that Moynihan would be returning to Harvard (a stipulation of his leave from the University) at the end of 1970. Operational oversight of the Urban Affairs Council was given to Moynihan's nominal successor as Domestic Policy Assistant, former White House Counsel John Ehrlichman. This decision was instigated by White House Chief of Staff H. R. Haldeman, [20] a close friend of Ehrlichman since college and his main patron in the administration. Haldeman's maneuvering situated Moynihan in a more peripheral context as the administration's "resident thinker" on domestic affairs for the duration of his service. [21]

In 1969, on Nixon's initiative, NATO tried to establish a third civil column, establishing a hub of research and initiatives in the civil area, dealing as well with environmental topics. [22] Moynihan [22] named acid rain and the greenhouse effect as suitable international challenges to be dealt by NATO. NATO was chosen, since the organization had suitable expertise in the field, as well as experience with international research coordination. The German government was skeptical and saw the initiative as an attempt by the US to regain international terrain after the lost Vietnam War. The topics gained momentum in civil conferences and institutions. [22]

In 1970, Moynihan wrote a memo to President Nixon saying, "The time may have come when the issue of race could benefit from a period of 'benign neglect'. The subject has been too much talked about. The forum has been too much taken over to hysterics, paranoids, and boodlers on all sides. We need a period in which Negro progress continues and racial rhetoric fades." [23] Moynihan regretted that critics misinterpreted his memo as advocating that the government should neglect minorities. [24]

US Ambassador

Following the October 1969 reorganization of the White House domestic policy staff, Moynihan was offered the position of United States Ambassador to the United Nations (then held by career Foreign Service Officer Charles Woodruff Yost) by Nixon on November 17, 1969; after initially accepting the president's offer, he decided to remain in Washington when the Family Assistance Plan stalled in the Senate Finance Committee. [25] On November 24, 1970, he refused a second offer from Nixon due to potential familial strain and ongoing financial problems; depression stemming from the repudiation of the Family Assistance Plan by liberal Democrats; and the inability to effect change due to static policy directives in the position, which he considered to be a tertiary role behind Assistant to the President for National Security Affairs Henry Kissinger and United States Secretary of State William P. Rogers. [25] Instead, he commuted from Harvard as a part-time member of the United States delegation during the ambassadorship of George H.W. Bush. [25]

In 1973, Moynihan (who was circumspect toward the administration's "tilt" to Pakistan) accepted Nixon's offer to serve as United States Ambassador to India, where he would remain until 1975. The relationship between the two countries was at a low point following the Indo-Pakistani War of 1971. Ambassador Moynihan was alarmed that two great democracies were cast as antagonists, and set out to fix things. He proposed that part of the burdensome debt be written off, part used to pay for US embassy expenses in India, and the remaining converted into Indian rupees to fund an Indo-US cultural and educational exchange program that lasted for a quarter century. On February 18, 1974, he presented to the Government of India a check for 16,640,000,000 rupees, then equivalent to $2,046,700,000, which was the greatest amount paid by a single check in the history of banking. [26] The "Rupee Deal" is logged in the Guinness Book of World Records for the world's largest check, written by Ambassador Moynihan to Prime Minister Indira Gandhi. [27]

In June 1975, Moynihan accepted his third offer to serve as United States Ambassador to the United Nations, a position (including a rotation as President of the United Nations Security Council) that he would only hold until February 1976. Under President Gerald Ford, Ambassador Moynihan took a hardline anti-communist stance, in line with the agenda of the White House at the time. He was also a strong supporter of Israel, [28] condemning UN Resolution 3379, which declared Zionism to be a form of racism. [29] Moynihan's wife Liz later recalled being approached in the UN galleries by Permanent PLO Observer to the UN Zehdi Terzi during the controversy. He made a remark of which she later did not remember the exact phrasing, but rendered it approximately as 'you must have mixed feelings about remembering events in New Delhi', which she and biographer Gil Troy interpreted as a threatening reference to a failed assassination plan against her husband two years earlier. [30] But the American public responded enthusiastically to his moral outrage over the resolution; his condemnation of the "Zionism is Racism" resolution brought him celebrity status and helped him win a US Senate seat a year later. [31] In his book, Moynihan's Moment, Gil Troy posits that Moynihan's 1975 UN speech opposing the resolution was the key moment of his political career. [32]

Perhaps the most controversial action of Moynihan's career was his response, as Ambassador to the UN, to the Indonesian invasion of East Timor in 1975. Gerald Ford considered Indonesia, then under a military dictatorship, a key ally against Communism, which was influential in East Timor. Moynihan ensured that the UN Security Council took no action against the larger nation's annexation of a small country. The Indonesian invasion caused the deaths of 100,000–200,000 Timorese through violence, illness, and hunger. [33] [34] In his memoir, Moynihan wrote:

The United States wished things to turn out as they did, and worked to bring this about. The Department of State desired that the United Nations prove utterly ineffective in whatever measures it undertook. This task was given to me, and I carried it forward with no inconsiderable success. [35]

Later, he said he had defended a "shameless" Cold War policy toward East Timor. [36]

Moynihan's thinking began to change during his tenure at the UN. In his 1993 book on nationalism, Pandaemonium, he wrote that as time progressed, he began to view the Soviet Union in less ideological terms. He regarded it less as an expansionist, imperialist Marxist state, and more as a weak realist state in decline. He believed it was most motivated by self-preservation. This view would influence his thinking in subsequent years, when he became an outspoken proponent of the then-unpopular view that the Soviet Union was a failed state headed for implosion.

Nevertheless, Moynihan's tenure at the UN marked the beginnings of a more bellicose, neoconservative American foreign policy that turned away from Kissinger's unabashedly covert, détente-driven realpolitik. [37] Although it was never substantiated, Moynihan initially believed that Kissinger directed Ivor Richard, Baron Richard (then British Ambassador to the United Nations) to publicly denounce his actions as "Wyatt Earp" diplomacy. Demoralized, Moynihan resigned from what he would subsequently characterize as an "abbreviated posting" in February 1976. In Pandaemonium, Moynihan expounded upon this decision, maintaining that he was "something of an embarrassment to my own government, and fairly soon left before I was fired."

Career in the Senate

In November 1976, Moynihan was elected to the U.S. Senate from the State of New York, defeating U.S. Representative Bella Abzug, former U.S. Attorney General Ramsey Clark, New York City Council President Paul O'Dwyer and businessman Abraham Hirschfeld in the Democratic primary, and Conservative Party incumbent James L. Buckley in the general election. He also was nominated by the Liberal Party of New York. [38] Shortly after election, Moynihan analyzed the State of New York's budget to determine whether it was paying out more in federal taxes than it received in spending. Finding that it was, he produced a yearly report known as the Fisc (from the French [39] ). Moynihan's strong support for Israel while UN Ambassador inspired support for him among the state's large Jewish population. [40]

In an August 7, 1978 speech to the Senate, following the jailing of M. A. Farber, Moynihan stated the possibility of Congress having to become involved with securing press freedom and that the Senate should be aware of the issue's seriousness. [41]

Moynihan's strong advocacy for New York's interests in the Senate, buttressed by the Fisc reports and recalling his strong advocacy for US positions in the UN, did at least on one occasion allow his advocacy to escalate into a physical attack. Senator Kit Bond, nearing retirement in 2010, recalled with some embarrassment in a conversation on civility in political discourse that Moynihan had once "slugged [Bond] on the Senate floor after Bond denounced an earmark Moynihan had slipped into a highway appropriations bill. Some months later Moynihan apologized, and the two occasionally would relax in Moynihan's office after a long day to discuss their shared interest in urban renewal over a glass of port." [42]

Moynihan continued to be interested in foreign policy as a Senator, sitting on the Select Committee on Intelligence. His strongly anti-Soviet views became far more moderate when he emerged as a critic of the Reagan administration's hawkish tilt in the late Cold War, as exemplified by its support for the Contras in Nicaragua. Moynihan argued there was no active Soviet-backed conspiracy in Latin America, or anywhere. He suggested the Soviets were suffering from massive internal problems, such as rising ethnic nationalism and a collapsing economy. In a December 21, 1986, editorial in The New York Times , Moynihan predicted the replacement on the world stage of Communist expansion with ethnic conflicts. He criticized the administration's "consuming obsession with the expansion of Communism – which is not in fact going on." In a September 8, 1990 letter to Erwin Griswold, Moynihan wrote: "I have one purpose left in life; or at least in the Senate. It is to try to sort out what would be involved in reconstituting the American government in the aftermath of the [C]old [W]ar. Huge changes took place, some of which we hardly notice." [43] In 1981 he and fellow Irish-American politicians Senator Ted Kennedy and Speaker of the House Tip O'Neill co-founded the Friends of Ireland, a bipartisan organization of Senators and Representatives who opposed the ongoing sectarian violence and aimed to promote peace and reconciliation in Northern Ireland.[ citation needed ]

Moynihan introduced Section 1706 of the Tax Reform Act of 1986, which cost certain professionals (like computer programmers, engineers, draftspersons, and designers) who depended on intermediary agencies (consulting firms) a self-employed tax status option, but other professionals (like accountants and lawyers) continued to enjoy Section 530 exemptions from payroll taxes. This change in the tax code was expected to offset the tax revenue losses of other legislation that Moynihan proposed to change the law of foreign taxes of Americans working abroad. [44] Joseph Stack, who flew his airplane into a building housing IRS offices on February 18, 2010, posted a suicide note that, among many factors, mentioned the Section 1706 change to the Internal Revenue Code. [45] [46]

As a key Environment and Public Works Committee member, Moynihan gave vital support and guidance to William K. Reilly, who served under President George H.W. Bush as Administrator of the Environmental Protection Agency. [47]

External video
Nuvola apps kaboodle.svg Tribute to Senator Daniel Patrick Moynihan, Wilson International Center for Scholars, March 17, 1997 (part one), C-SPAN
Nuvola apps kaboodle.svg Tribute to Moynihan at the Wilson Center, March 17, 1997 (part two), C-SPAN
Nuvola apps kaboodle.svg Panel discussion on Moynihan's life and career, held at the Museum of the City of New York, October 18, 2010, C-SPAN

In the mid-1990s, Moynihan was one of the Democrats to support the ban on the procedure known as partial-birth abortion. He said of the procedure: "I think this is just too close to infanticide. A child has been born and it has exited the uterus. What on Earth is this procedure?" Earlier in his career in the Senate, Moynihan had expressed his annoyance with the adamantly pro-choice interest groups petitioning him and others on the issue. He challenged them saying, "you women are ruining the Democratic Party with your insistence on abortion." [48] [49]

Moynihan broke with orthodox liberal positions of his party on numerous occasions. As chairman of the Senate Finance Committee in the 1990s, he strongly opposed President Bill Clinton's proposal to expand health care coverage to all Americans. Seeking to focus the debate over health insurance on the financing of health care, Moynihan garnered controversy by stating that "there is no health care crisis in this country."[ citation needed ]

On other issues though, he was much more progressive. He voted against the death penalty; the flag desecration amendment; [50] the balanced budget amendment, the Private Securities Litigation Reform Act; the Defense of Marriage Act; the Communications Decency Act; and the North American Free Trade Agreement. He was critical of proposals to replace the progressive income tax with a flat tax.[ citation needed ] Moynihan also voted against authorization of the Gulf War.[ citation needed ] Despite his earlier writings on the negative effects of the welfare state, he ended by voting against welfare reform in 1996, a bill that removed unemployment benefits. He was sharply critical of the bill and certain Democrats who crossed party lines to support it.[ citation needed ]

Public speaker

Moynihan was a popular public speaker with a distinctly patrician style. He spoke with a slight stutter, which led him to draw out vowels. Linguist Geoffrey Nunberg compared his speaking style to that of William F. Buckley, Jr. [51]

Commission on Government Secrecy

In the post-Cold War era, the 103rd Congress enacted legislation directing an inquiry into the uses of government secrecy. Moynihan chaired the commission, which studied and made recommendations on the "culture of secrecy" that pervaded the United States government and its intelligence community for 80 years, beginning with the Espionage Act of 1917, and made recommendations on the statutory regulation of classified information.

The commission's findings and recommendations were presented to the President in 1997. As part of the effort, Moynihan secured release from the Federal Bureau of Investigation of its classified Venona file. This file documents the FBI's joint counterintelligence investigation, with the United States Signals Intelligence Service, into Soviet espionage within the United States. Much of the information had been collected and classified as secret information for over 50 years.

After release of the information, Moynihan authored Secrecy: The American Experience [52] where he discussed the impact government secrecy has had on the domestic politics of America for the past half century, and how myths and suspicion created an unnecessary partisan chasm.

Personal life

Moynihan was criticized after reportedly making offensive comments towards a woman of Jamaican descent at Vassar College in early 1990. [53] During a question-and-answer session, Moynihan told Folami Grey, an official at the Dutchess County Youth Bureau, "If you don't like it in this country, why don't you pack your bags and go back where you came from". This incident caused a protest in which 100 students took over the college's main administration building in response to his comments.

Moynihan's daughter, Maura Moynihan, was also criticized for racism. She was recorded on a cell phone camera in March 2021 berating a Korean-American couple in New York City. She told the couple to "go back to Communist China" and "you do not belong here" during the COVID-19 pandemic. [54] His son, John Moynihan, a writer, died in 2004. [55]

Career as scholar

As a public intellectual, Moynihan published articles on urban ethnic politics and on the problems of the poor in cities of the Northeast in numerous publications, including Commentary and The Public Interest .

Moynihan coined the term "professionalization of reform," by which the government bureaucracy thinks up problems for government to solve rather than simply responding to problems identified elsewhere. [56]

In 1983, he was awarded the Hubert H. Humphrey Award given by the American Political Science Association "in recognition of notable public service by a political scientist."[ citation needed ] He wrote 19 books, leading his personal friend, columnist and former professor George F. Will, to remark that Moynihan "wrote more books than most senators have read." After retiring from the Senate, he rejoined the faculty of the Maxwell School of Citizenship and Public Affairs at Syracuse University, where he began his academic career in 1959.

Moynihan's scholarly accomplishments led Michael Barone, writing in The Almanac of American Politics to describe the senator as "the nation's best thinker among politicians since Lincoln and its best politician among thinkers since Jefferson." [57] Moynihan's 1993 article, "Defining Deviancy Down", [58] was notably controversial. [59] [60] Writer and historian Kenneth Weisbrode describes Moynihan's book Pandaemonium as uncommonly prescient. [61]

Selected books

Awards and honors

Death and posthumous honors

In 2003, Moynihan died at the age of 76 after complications (infection) suffered from an emergency appendectomy about a month earlier. He was survived by his wife of 48 years, Elizabeth Brennan Moynihan; three grown children, Timothy Patrick Moynihan, Maura Russell Moynihan and John McCloskey Moynihan; and two grandchildren, Michael Avedon and Zora Olea. [67] [68] [69] [70] [71] [72] [73] [74]

Moynihan was honored posthumously:


The quote also adds, "The Soviet Union realized this too late. Openness is now a singular, and singularly American, advantage."

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The Commission on Protecting and Reducing Government Secrecy, also called the Moynihan Commission, after its chairman, U.S. Senator Daniel Patrick Moynihan, was a bipartisan statutory commission in the United States. It was created under Title IX of the Foreign Relations Authorization Act for Fiscal Years 1994 and 1995 to conduct "an investigation into all matters in any way related to any legislation, executive order, regulation, practice, or procedure relating to classified information or granting security clearances" and to submit a final report with recommendations. The Commission's investigation of government secrecy was the first authorized by statute since the Wright Commission on Government Security issued its report in 1957.

William L. Armstrong American politician

William Lester Armstrong was an American businessman, administrator, and politician. He was a member of the Republican Party and served as a United States Representative and Senator from Colorado. Armstrong died from cancer at the age of 79 on July 5, 2016.

Joseph H. Gale is a Judge of the United States Tax Court.

Bruce F. Caputo American lawyer and politician

Bruce Faulkner Caputo is an American lawyer and politician from New York. He is most notable for his service as a member of the New York State Assembly and the United States House of Representatives.

Presidency of Richard Nixon U.S. presidential administration from 1969 to 1974

The presidency of Richard Nixon began at noon EST on January 20, 1969, when Richard Nixon was inaugurated as 37th President of the United States, and ended on August 9, 1974, when he resigned in the face of almost certain impeachment and removal from office, the only U.S. president ever to do so. He was succeeded by Gerald Ford, whom he had appointed Vice President after Spiro Agnew became embroiled in a separate corruption scandal and was forced to resign. A prominent member of the Republican Party from California, Nixon took office after the 1968 presidential election, in which he defeated incumbent Vice President Hubert Humphrey. Although he had built his reputation as a very active Republican campaigner, Nixon downplayed partisanship in his 1972 landslide reelection.

1976 Republican Party presidential primaries

The 1976 Republican presidential primaries were a series of contests held to elect delegates to the 1976 Republican National Convention, held in Kansas City, Missouri, from August 16 to August 19, to nominate a candidate for President of the United States in the 1976 election.

United States Mission to the United Nations

The United States Mission to the United Nations (USUN) serves as the United States' delegation to the United Nations. USUN is responsible for carrying out the nation's participation in the world body. In 1947 the United States Mission was created by an act of Congress to assist the President and the Department of State in conducting United States policy at the United Nations. Since that time, USUN has served a vital role as the Department of State's UN branch. Today, USUN has approximately 150 people on staff who serve to represent the United States’ political, economic and social, legal, military, public diplomacy and management interests at the United Nations.

Joyce Anne Barr

Joyce Anne Barr is an American diplomat and a career foreign service officer in the Department of State. She served as an Assistant Secretary of State for Administration and Chief Freedom of Information Act Officer. Prior to that, Barr was the International Affairs Advisor at the Industrial College of the Armed Forces. Her previous assignment was as the Executive Director for East Asian and Pacific Affairs (EAP) within the State Department. She served as the ambassador to Namibia from 2004 to 2007.

Nixon Family Assistance Plan (1969) Welfare program

The Family Assistance Program (FAP) was a welfare program introduced by President Richard Nixon in August 1969, which aimed to implement a negative income tax for households with working parents. The FAP was influenced by President Lyndon B. Johnson's War on Poverty program that aimed to expand welfare across all American citizens, especially for working-class Americans. Nixon intended for the FAP to replace existing welfare programs such as the Aid to Assist Families with Dependent Children (AFDC) program as a way to attract conservative voters that were beginning to become wary of welfare while maintaining middle-class constituencies. The FAP specifically provided aid assistance to working-class Americans, dividing benefits based on age, the number of children, family income, and eligibility. Initially, the Nixon administration thought the FAP legislation would easily pass through the House of Representatives and the more liberal Senate, as both chambers were controlled by the Democratic Party. In June 1971, the FAP under the bill H.R. 1 during the 92nd Congress, passed in the House of Representatives. However, from December 1971 to June 1972 H.R.1 bill that included the FAP underwent scrutiny in the Senate chamber, particularly by the Senate Finance Committee controlled by the conservative Democrats, while the Republicans were also reluctant on passing the program. Eventually, on October 5 of 1972, a revised version of H.R.1 passed the Senate with a vote of 68-5 that only authorized funding for FAP testing before its implementation. During House-Senate reconciliation, before Nixon signed the bill on October 15, 1972 the entire provision on FAP was dropped. The FAP enjoyed broad support from Americans across different regions. Reception towards the program varied across racial, regional, income, and gender differences. The FAP is best remembered for beginning the rhetoric against the expansion of welfare that was popular during the New Deal. It initiated the support for anti-welfare conservative movements that became mainstream in American political discourse during the Reagan era.


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Further reading

Primary sources

Political offices
New office White House Urban Affairs Advisor
Succeeded by
John Ehrlichman
as White House Domestic Affairs Advisor
Preceded by
Arthur Burns
Counselor to the President
Served alongside: Bryce Harlow
Succeeded by
Donald Rumsfeld
Diplomatic posts
Preceded by
Kenneth Keating
United States Ambassador to India
Succeeded by
Bill Saxbe
Preceded by
John Scali
United States Ambassador to the United Nations
Succeeded by
Bill Scranton
Party political offices
Preceded by
Richard Ottinger
Democratic nominee for U.S. Senator from New York
(Class 1)

1976, 1982, 1988, 1994
Succeeded by
Hillary Clinton
Preceded by
Charles Goodell
Liberal nominee for U.S. Senator from New York
(Class 1)

1976, 1982, 1988, 1994
Succeeded by
Hillary Clinton
U.S. Senate
Preceded by
James Buckley
U.S. Senator (Class 1) from New York
Served alongside: Jack Javits, Al D'Amato, Chuck Schumer
Succeeded by
Hillary Clinton
Preceded by
Quentin Burdick
Chair of the Senate Environment Committee
Succeeded by
Max Baucus
Preceded by
Lloyd Bentsen
Chair of the Senate Finance Committee
Succeeded by
Bob Packwood