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1988: The United States Ratifies the Convention

1988: The United States Ratifies the Convention

Between 1967 and 1986, Wisconsin Senator William Proxmire delivered more than 3,200 speeches arguing for passage of the UN Convention on the Prevention and Punishment of Genocide.

Despite facing strong opposition by those who believed it would diminish US sovereignty, President Ronald Reagan signed the 1948 UN Convention on the Prevention and Punishment of Genocide on November 4, 1988. Among the Convention’s most vocal advocates was Wisconsin Senator William Proxmire, who served for 32 years in the US Senate. Between 1967 and 1986, he delivered more than 3,200 speeches—one for every day that the Senate was in session—arguing for its passage.

Photo: William Proxmire (1915–2005) served in the United States Senate for the state of Wisconsin from 1957 to 1989.  US Holocaust Memorial Museum, gift of Wisconsin Historical Society.