Mike Gravel

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Mike Gravel (2019)

Maurice Robert "Mike" Gravel (born May 13, 1930 in Springfield , Massachusetts ) is an American politician who was Senator for the state of Alaska from 1969 to 1981 . He was a member of the Democrats but switched to the Libertarian Party on March 26, 2008 . On April 17, 2006, he announced his candidacy for the 2008 presidential election , in the context of which he initially sought the nomination of the Democrats, but was unsuccessful. Since his party change he applied for the candidacy in the Libertarian Party, but could not get it. He then announced that this was the end of his political career.

Nevertheless, he ran again for the 2020 presidential election with the Democratic Party, but ended his campaign early.

Early life

Mike Gravel was born in Springfield, Massachusetts to Alphonse Gravel and Marie Bourassa (Gravel), Quebec immigrants. He attended French-speaking Catholic private schools and was raised Roman Catholic. In 1951, Gravel was drafted into the US armed forces and served in the Communication Intelligence Services and Counter Intelligence Corps until 1954 . After completing his military service, he studied economics at Columbia University in New York City, where he graduated in 1956 ( B.Sc. / Bachelor of Science ).


From 1962 to 1966, Gravel was an MP in the Alaska House of Representatives ; in the last term he was even the chairman of the house. In this role he succeeded Bruce B. Kendall in 1965 and was replaced by William K. Boardman in 1967 . He then tried to win a seat in the House of Representatives of Congress in Washington, DC , but already lost to his competitor Ralph Rivers in the Democratic Party primaries .

In 1968 he ran for one of Alaska's two seats in the US Senate. Surprisingly, he won the primary against the incumbent Senator of the Democratic Party, Ernest Gruening , a popular former governor , and also triumphed in the subsequent election against his Republican rival. He was subsequently re-elected. In the 1980 elections, Gravel lost in the Democratic primary against Clark Gruening, the grandson of his predecessor, who was defeated by the Republican Party candidate, Frank Murkowski , in the final .

Gravel also became known for reading large parts of the Pentagon papers in a filibuster in the US Senate in order to make them public. Major newspapers tried to publish these papers beforehand, but the US Department of Justice prevented this.

On March 19, 2019, Gravel announced that he would run as a candidate in the Democratic primaries for the 2020 presidential candidacy. He said: "The goal is not to win, but to bring criticism of American imperialism into the debate of the Democratic Party." On July 31, 2019, he gave up the candidacy.


During his first term in the Senate, Gravel wrote the book “Citizen Power. A People's Platform. "(1972) .

In his paper he pleaded, among other things, for a basic income that should be guaranteed to all citizens, for the financing of election campaigns by the public sector, for a progressive tax rate without any exception, for steps against the military-industrial complex , which he called “warfare state ” , for the legal suspension of voter registration and other obstacles in the electoral process, for the abolition of the death penalty, for comprehensive health care for all citizens and an end to what he called “ imperialist foreign policy ” .

The book also contains the full Declaration of Independence ( United States Declaration of Independence ) , the Bill of Rights (which at September 25, 1789 by the US Congress adopted the first ten Amendment to the Constitution of the United States ) as well as all statements and speeches of the People's Party from the presidential election of 1892.

Literature (by Mike Gravel)

  • Gravel, Mike: Jobs and More Jobs. Anchorage: Mt. McKinley Publishers, 1968
  • Gravel, Mike: Citizen Power: A People's Platform. New York: Holt, Rinehart and Winston, 1972
  • The Senator Gravel Edition: The Pentagon Papers. Beacon Press, 1972

Web links

Commons : Mike Gravel  - collection of images, videos and audio files

Individual evidence

  1. ^ A Personal Message from Mike ( Memento from March 26, 2008 in the Internet Archive )
  2. Libertarian Party picks Barr as presidential candidate ( Memento from May 26, 2008 in the Internet Archive )
  3. a b https://www.politico.com/story/2019/08/02/mike-gravel-end-presidential-campaign-1445250