Major Moments in Democratic Convention History | Reader's Digest

Major Moments in Democratic Convention History

By Caitlin O'Connell

This Thursday, President Barack Obama will address the nation from the Democratic National Convention in Charlotte, NC and accept his party’s re-nomination for president. Just in time for the start of the convention, Ken Rudin of NPR’s Political Junkie has once again rounded up his most memorable moments from convention history.

In addition to pointing out the Dems’ long-standing tradition of chattiness (in 1972, George McGovern didn’t deliver his acceptance speech until almost 2 a.m., thanks to the windbags who preceded him), Rudin takes note of key moments as far back as 1924. Here are a few of his picks:

- 1968: Americans looked on in shock as unrest over the Vietnam War combined with the assassinations of Martin Luther King, Jr. and Senator Robert Kennedy to turn the 1968 convention in Chicago into a great big street fight. Indelible images of police and protestors battling it out were broadcast along with the raucous events inside the convention hall.

- 1980: Despite a popular belief that he was the favored Democratic candidate, Senator Ted Kennedy failed to oust President Jimmy Carter for his party’s nomination. However, his concession speech marked the convention’s most dramatic moment (and one of the best speeches of his long career).

- 1984: As the first female vice presidential candidate representing a major political party, Geraldine Ferraro stole the spotlight from her running mate, Walter Mondale. Though the Mondale-Ferraro ticket would lose badly to Reagan and his VP, George H. W. Bush, Ferraro’s moving acceptance speech will be long remembered.

Though it didn’t make Rudin’s top five, I would also highlight Barack Obama’s historic nomination at the 2008 convention in Denver, CO.

MORE: See major moments in GOP convention history »

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