Moynihan, Daniel Patrick

Moynihan, Daniel Patrick
born March 16, 1927, Tulsa, Okla., U.S.
died March 26, 2003, Washington, D.C.

U.S. scholar and politician.

He grew up in poverty in New York City. After serving in the U.S. navy in World War II, he attended Tufts University, where he earned a doctorate in 1961. From 1961 to 1965 he worked at the U.S. Labor Department, where he cowrote a controversial report that attributed the educational problems of African Americans to the instability of urban African American families. He taught at Harvard (1966–77) and held advisory posts in the administration of Richard Nixon. He was ambassador to India (1973–75) and U.S. representative to the UN (1975–76). He ran successfully for the U.S. Senate from New York in 1976; though he was a Democrat, his candidacy was opposed by many Democratic liberals. Reelected three times, he retired in 2001. In 2000 he received the Presidential Medal of Freedom.

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▪ 2004

      American scholar and politician (b. March 16, 1927, Tulsa, Okla.—d. March 26, 2003, Washington, D.C.), had a long career in both academe and public service—serving in the administrations of four presidents and then being elected to four terms in the U.S. Senate—during which he was known for the depth of his intellect and for his ability to recognize and define important issues and their political ramifications ahead of other people. Among the problem areas he explored were race relations, automobile safety, and architectural preservation, and he was among the earliest to foresee the disintegration of the Soviet Union. Following navy service in World War II and education at Tufts University, Medford, Mass., and the London School of Economics, Moynihan began his political career, working on election campaigns and on the staff of New York Gov. Averell Harriman before moving (1961) to Washington, D.C., to take a post in the Department of Labor. His 1965 report titled The Negro Family: The Case for National Action, but more commonly known as the Moynihan Report, caused enormous controversy by focusing on single-parent families as a cause of poverty among African Americans. Moynihan joined the faculty of Harvard University in 1966, then became an adviser to Pres. Richard Nixon, and, while returning intermittently to Harvard over the following few years, also served as ambassador to India from 1973 to 1975 and ambassador to the UN in 1975–76. In 1976 he won the first of his Senate terms. Serving until 2001, Moynihan concerned himself with such issues as government secrecy, welfare reform, and the need to strengthen the Social Security system.

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▪ United States senator and sociologist
born March 16, 1927, Tulsa, Oklahoma, U.S.
died March 26, 2003, Washington, D.C.

      American scholar and Democratic Party politician, U.S. senator from New York state from 1977 to 2001.

      Moynihan grew up in poverty in New York City and, after service in the U.S. Navy in World War II, attended Tufts University (Medford, Massachusetts) on the GI Bill of Rights (B.A., 1948) and Tufts's Fletcher School of Law and Diplomacy (M.A., 1949), later receiving a Ph.D. from Fletcher (1961). His first taste of politics came in 1953 as a Democratic campaign worker in New York City, and he held various public and party posts in New York state in the 1950s.

      During the 1960s Moynihan was in Washington, D.C., and, while serving in the Department of Labor, cowrote The Negro Family: The Case for National Action, popularly called the Moynihan Report, which held that many of the educational problems of American blacks resulted from the instability of black urban families. The report caused a storm of controversy and made Moynihan famous. He became a professor at Harvard in 1966, held advisory posts in the Richard M. Nixon (Nixon, Richard M.) administration, and served as U.S. ambassador to India (1973–75) and permanent representative to the United Nations (1975–76). Moynihan's political stance defied easy characterization. He campaigned vigorously for Senator Henry Jackson's ill-fated presidential bid in 1976; when that bid failed, Moynihan put himself into the race for U.S. senator in New York. He won the election despite the opposition of liberal Democrats, and he was reelected in 1982, 1988, and 1994. After serving four terms as senator, Moynihan decided not to run for reelection in 2000; he was succeeded by Hillary Rodham Clinton (Clinton, Hillary Rodham). Moynihan remained active in politics, and in 2001 he became cochairman of a presidential committee studying possible reforms to the Social Security retirement system. Among his numerous honours is the Presidential Medal of Freedom (2000). He is buried at Arlington National Cemetery.

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Universalium. 2010.

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