Daniel Patrick Moynihan

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Daniel Patrick Moynihan
Former U.S. Senator from New York
From: January 3, 1977 – January 3, 2001
Predecessor James Buckley
Successor Hillary Clinton
Party Democrat
Religion Roman Catholic
Military Service
Allegiance United States
Service/branch United States Navy
Service Years 1944-1947
Rank Lieutenant (junior grade)

Daniel Patrick Moynihan (1927–2003) was a four-term Democratic Senator (1977-2001) from New York, known best for his scholarly criticism of the breakdown of the family unit in poor neighborhoods. He drew upon his personal experience of growing up poor and graduating from Harlem High School. His work was cited more often by conservatives than by members of his own political party, and welfare reform was an accomplishment of the Republican Congress after it took control in 1994.

Moynihan's scholarship in the 1960s, long before he became a senator, can be summed up his famous quotation:[1]

There is one unmistakable lesson in American history: A community that allows a large number of young men to grow up in broken families, dominated by women, never acquiring any stable relationship to male authority, never acquiring any set of rational expectations about the future -- that community asks for and gets chaos... And it is richly deserved.

Moynihan had little influence in his Democratic Party. A Catholic, Moynihan disapproved of the promotion of abortion by Democrats, declaring early in his career that "you women are ruining the Democratic Party with your insistence on abortion." Moynihan supported prohibition of partial-birth abortion with this observation:[2]

I think this is just too close to infanticide. A child has been born and it has exited the uterus. What on Earth is this procedure?

Moynihan in 1976 unseated conservative Republican James Buckley, the brother of conservative television journalist William F. Buckley, Jr.

In the mid-1990s, Moynihan chaired an important Commission on Government Secrecy which opened and examined many secret files from the Cold War. In his book about his discoveries Moynihan concluded the following about Alger Hiss:[3]

Hiss was indeed a Soviet agent and appears to have been regarded by Moscow as its most important.


  • Daniel Patrick Moynihan's identification, in 1965, of the self-destructive roots of the Welfare State was prophetic.[4]


  • "Everyone is entitled to their own opinion, but not their own facts."[5]


  1. Family and Nation (1965)
  2. Human Life Review at 13 (Summer 2003).
  3. Moynihan, Daniel Patrick, Secrecy: The American Experience, pp. 145-147 (Yale Univ. Press: 1998) ISBN 0-300-08079-4
  4. [1]
  5. https://quoteinvestigator.com/2020/03/17/own-facts/

External links