Nelson Aldrich Rockefeller was born in Bar Harbor, Maine on 8 July 1908, the son of John D. Rockefeller Jr. and one of six children; one of his brothers was Arkansas governor Winthrop Rockefeller. Rockefeller graduated from Dartmouth College in 1930 with a bachelor degree in economics, and he worked for Chase National Bank, Rockefeller Center, and other family businesses for years. He developed an interest in Latin America while working with petroleum companies, and he became fluent in Spanish. In 1940, he was appointed Coordinator of Inter-American Affairs (CIAA) by President Franklin D. Roosevelt after Rockefeller expressed his concerns about growing Nazi influence in South America. In 1945, Rockefeller attended the United Nations founding conference in San Francisco, and he persuaded the UN to make New York City its headquarters. However, President Harry S. Truman shut down the CIAA, reversed his policies, and fired him, and Rockefeller returned to New York.
In 1952, President Dwight D. Eisenhower appointed Rockefeller to head the Advisory Committee on Government Organization, and Rockefeller oversaw the creation of the US Department of Health, Education, and Welfare (now the US Department of Health and Human Services). In 1956, he resigned from the federal government to focus on national politics, and he defeated Democratic Party incumbent W. Averell Harriman to become Governor of New York in 1958, a year that was generally seen as a year of victories for the Democrats. In 1962, 1966, and 1970, Rockefeller won re-election. He lent his name to the liberal "Rockefeller Republicans", a moderate faction of the Republican Party that supported social liberalism and fiscal conservatism. He increased the state's role in education, environmental protection, transportation, housing, welfare, medical aid, civil rights, and the arts, and he increased the sales tax to pay for increased government spending. He also turned the State University of New York into the nation's largest system of public higher education, and he supported the expansion of state parks, reformed the transportation system, created more low-income housing, advocated the total prohibition of discrimination in housing and places of public accomodation, outlawing blockbusting. As a "law and order" candidate, he doubled the size of the state police, and he also implemented harsher punishments on drug users.
In 1960, 1964, and 1968, Rockefeller sought the Republican candidacy for president; in 1960, Nixon surged ahead in popularity, while Rockefeller found himself challenged by the conservative Republican Barry Goldwater in 1964; Goldwater ultimately clinched the Republican nomination due to his right-wing views. President Nixon later adopted many of Rockefeller's views, and he made him the leader of a presidential mission to Latin America, and he called for more effective aid programs in the region. When Nixon resigned in 1974, Gerald Ford became President, and he named Rockefeller his Vice-President. Chief of Staff Donald Rumsfeld prevented Rockefeller from controlling domestic policy, but he took over the "Whip Inflation Now" program. In 1976, Rockefeller decided not to run as Ford's running mate, and Bob Dole became Ford's new running mate. In 1977, Rockefeller was awarded the Presidential Medal of Freedom by Ford. He died at one of his New York City offices from a heart attack on 26 January 1979 at the age of 70. The Rockefeller Republicans would soon die out with him, with the Establishment Republicans' power being shattered in the 2016 election.