Margaret Madeline Chase Smith (December 14, 1897 – May 29, 1995) was the first woman Senator and Congresswoman (Maine) in 1948.
She was an American politician. A member of the Republican Party, she served as a U.S Representative (1940–49) and a U.S. Senator (1949–73) from Maine. She was the first woman to serve in both houses of the United States Congress, and the first woman to represent Maine in either. A moderate Republican, she was among the first to criticize the tactics of McCarthyism in her 1950 speech, "Declaration of Conscience". Smith was a candidate for the Republican nomination in the 1964 presidential election; she was the first woman to be placed in nomination for the presidency at a major party's convention. Upon leaving office, she was the longest-serving female Senator in history, a distinction that was not surpassed until January 5, 2011, when Senator Barbara Mikulski was sworn in for a fifth term. To date, Smith is ranked as the longest-serving Republican woman in the Senate.
Following her departure from the Senate, Smith taught at several colleges and universities as a visiting professor for the Woodrow Wilson National Fellowship Foundation (1973–1976). She resumed her residence in Skowhegan, where she oversaw the construction of a library to hold her papers. She was awarded the Presidential Medal of Freedom by George H. W. Bush on July 6, 1989. At age 97, Smith died in her native Skowhegan in 1995, after suffering a stroke eight days earlier that had left her in a coma. She was cremated, and her ashes were placed in the residential wing of the Margaret Chase Smith Library in Skowhegan. She was the last living U.S. Senator who had been born in the 19th century.
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