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Margaret Chase Smith (Maine) was the first woman to serve in both houses of Congress (House 1940-1949; Senate 1949-1973) and was the first women to be placed in nomination for the presidency at a major party convention (1964). She is perhaps most well-known today for her early opposition to Joe McCarthy and his tactics, first manifested in a 1950 floor speech she titled “Declaration of Conscience.”

Women in Congress has a more detailed entry on Smith and her many achievements.

So why the rose? It’s not to mark Smith as feminine, but because she wore a red rose in lapel each day. The Senate art and history website explains:

The rose that Smith wore daily in her lapel was emblematic of her long crusade to have the rose declared the official flower of the United States. Her efforts were initially thwarted by Senate Republican Leader Everett M. Dirksen, who supported the marigold. It was not until 1987, long after Senator Smith’s retirement, that Congress finally designated the rose as the national flower.

Click here for the first entry in this series. And if there’s a campaign button you’d like to see, let us know in the comments. If we have it, we’ll post it tomorrow in celebration of Election Day!

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