About the Award
Established in 1992, the Margaret Chase Smith American Democracy Award is named after the former U.S. Senator from Maine, who jeopardized her career by speaking out against the red-baiting tactics of Senator Joseph P. McCarthy in the 1950s.
Award recipients are recognized for individual acts of political courage, uncommon character and selfless action in the realm of public service.
Margaret Chase Smith Award Recipients:
2017 - The Little Rock Nine
2016 - Mr. Richard Fulton, former Member of Congress and Nashville mayor
2015 - Mr. Fred Gray, civil rights activist/attorney
2014 - Mr. Paul Caranci, former Rhode Island Official
2013 - No Award
2012 - Mr. John Walsh, victims' rights advocate
2011 - Dr. Condoleezza Rice, former U.S. Secretary of State
2010 - No Award
2009 - Hon. Sandra Day O'Connor, former Supreme Court Justice
2008 - Ruby Duncan, civil rights activist/founder of Operation Life Community Development Corp
2007 - Hon. John J. Sirica, chief judge presiding over the Watergate Scandal
2006 - No Award
2005 - Morris Dees and Joseph Levin, Jr., co-founders of the Southern Poverty Law Center
2004 - Former New York City Mayor Rudy Giuliani, leadership response to 9/11 terror attacks
2003 - Former U.S. Senate Majority Leader Bob Dole, ADA legislation
2002 - Former President Jimmy Carter, world peace & democracy advocate
2001 - Robert Parrish Moses, founder of the Algebra Project
2000 - Former U.S. Sen. Nancy Kassebaum Baker, opposed apartheid in South Africa
1999 - Doris "Granny D" Haddock, campaign finance reform advocate
1998 - George J. Mitchell, peace agreement in Northern Ireland
1997 - Eunice Kennedy Shriver, founder of the U.S. Special Olympics
1996 - Daisy Bates, civil rights advocate
1995 - Jim and Sarah Brady, gun safety advocates
1994 - Elizabeth Dole, President of the American Red Cross
1993 - Rosa Parks, civil rights heroine/advocate
1992 - Former U.S. Senator Margaret Chase Smith
Nomination & Selection Information
Each year, NASS member offices receive a nominating packet that includes instructions and deadline information for submitting a nomination. The recipient is selected by a vote of the full membership. At least three nominations must be received in order to move forward with the balloting process.
The designated recipient is announced at the NASS summer meeting. Presentation of the award takes place at the following NASS winter conference in Washington, DC.