A silent majority is a large amount of people who, as the term implies, constitute a majority or large amount of the population on a certain issue or issues, but have not openly expressed their opinions. This causes the opposing side to appear numerically larger, but the silent majority can often be seen on election days.
Origin of the term
The term "silent majority" first originated under Republican U.S. president Richard Nixon.
Nixon, who was elected president in 1968, promised an end to the Vietnam War. After he assumed office, Nixon decided against a quick withdrawl, as it would severely damage international trust and confidence in American leadership. However, liberal antiwar activists, who wanted a quick withdrawal regardless of its effects, were very unhappy and vocal in their unhappiness, staging at least one major protest in Washington D.C.
On November 3, 1969, Nixon gave a major speech to call for national unity and explain his plan for Vietnamization—to reduce U.S. troop presence in the country until either true peace could be achieved or until the South Vietnamese could defend themselves. At the end of his speech, Nixon called on the "great silent majority" to support his plan.
OutcomeWhile the New Left, antiwar protestors, and hippies vocally expressed their leftist views, a silent majority of Americans who had not given in to their agenda. In fact, a Gallup poll released soon after Nixon's November 1969 speech showed 77 percent of Americans in favor of Nixon's policy, despite the antiwar protests.
- Nixon's "Silent Majority" Speech. chnm.gmu.edu. Retrieved December 18, 2016.
- Nixon calls on the “silent majority” - Nov. 3, 1969 - This Day in History. History.com. Retrieved December 18, 2016.