Barry Goldwater was born the heir to his family's succesful department store in Phoenix, Arizona on January 2, 1909. He served in World War II, and was elected to the US Senate from Arizona in 1952.
With a reputation as a conservative within the Republican Party, he was a strong anti-Communist and opponent of large domestic social programs.
Goldwater was a major spokesperson for conservatives in the South and West, and announced his candidacy for President in January 1964. During the Republican primaries, the party was split between the liberal wing, which supported Nelson Rockefeller, and the conservative wings, which supported Goldwater.
Goldwater won the nomination, but faced a difficult campaign against Democrat Lyndon Johnson, who warned that Goldwater's proposals would eliminate Social Security and endanger world peace.
Johnson decisively defeated Goldwater, carrying all but six states. Nevertheless, Goldwater remained active in national politics, reentering the Senate in 1968.
Although he supported the war in Vietnam, he called for a volunteer army instead of the military draft. During the Watergate scandal, Goldwater initially supported President Nixon, then helped persuade him to resign after the incriminating White House tapes were released.
Although he had been viewed as an extremist in the 1950's and 1960's, he was regarded as a respected elder statesman of the Republican Party in the 1970's and 1980's, admired by supporters and opponents as a man of integrity and independence.
Goldwater's biography, entitled Goldwater, was published in 1988.