Skip Content
U.S. Flag

Barry M. Goldwater: A Featured Biography

Senator Barry Goldwater

Born in Arizona in 1909 (three years before it became a state), Barry Goldwater loved exploring and photographing the rugged southwestern landscape. He considered a military career, but his father’s poor health forced him into the family business, Goldwater’s Department Store. In the 1940s he turned his attention to politics. In 1952 Goldwater defeated Senate incumbent Ernest McFarland, the Democratic floor leader. As senator, Goldwater advocated a limited federal government while championing a stronger national defense. His widely read 1960 book, The Conscience of a Conservative, brought the Arizona senator to national attention as he became a founder of the modern conservative movement. He won the Republican nomination for president in 1964 but was soundly defeated by Lyndon Johnson. Despite that defeat, Goldwater’s leadership helped to fuel conservative victories in the years ahead, particularly in 1980. Goldwater returned to the Senate in 1969 and served another 18 years, chairing the Armed Services Committee and the Select Committee on Intelligence and becoming one of America’s respected elder statesmen.

All Featured Biographies