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Encyclopedia > Wendell Willkie
Wendell L. Willkie
Wendell L. Willkie

Wendell Lewis Willkie (February 18, 1892October 8, 1944) was a lawyer in the United States and the Republican nominee for the 1940 presidential election. He lost to Franklin D. Roosevelt and never held any political office. Born in Elwood, Indiana, the son of Herman Willkie, he remains the only native of Indiana to be nominated as the presidential candidate for a national party. He was also a named partner at the now New York-based law firm of Willkie Farr & Gallagher. Image File history File linksMetadata Download high-resolution version (1839x1953, 776 KB) File links The following pages on the English Wikipedia link to this file (pages on other projects are not listed): Wendell Willkie Metadata This file contains additional information, probably added from the digital camera or scanner used to... Image File history File linksMetadata Download high-resolution version (1839x1953, 776 KB) File links The following pages on the English Wikipedia link to this file (pages on other projects are not listed): Wendell Willkie Metadata This file contains additional information, probably added from the digital camera or scanner used to... February 18 is the 49th day of the year in the Gregorian Calendar. ... 1892 (MDCCCXCII) was a leap year starting on Friday (see link for calendar). ... October 8 is the 281st day of the year in the Gregorian Calendar (282nd in leap years). ... Year 1944 (MCMXLIV) was a leap year starting on Saturday (the link is to a full 1944 calendar). ... The Republican Party, often called the GOP (for Grand Old Party, although one early citation described it as the Gallant Old Party) [1], is one of the two major political parties in the United States. ... Presidential electoral votes by state. ... FDR redirects here. ... Elwood is a city in Madison County, Indiana, United States. ... Official language(s) English Capital Indianapolis Largest city Indianapolis Area  Ranked 38th  - Total 36,418 sq mi (94,321 km²)  - Width 140 miles (225 km)  - Length 270 miles (435 km)  - % water 1. ... Founded in 1888, Willkie Farr & Gallagher LLP is an international law firm with eight offices in six countries including offices in New York, Washington, Paris, London, Milan, Rome, Frankfurt and Brussels. ...


Political life

Willkie was educated at Indiana University, where he was a member of the Beta Theta Pi fraternity. After fighting in World War I, Willkie moved to Akron, Ohio and soon gained status in the local Democratic Party. In 1929, Willkie became a legal counsel for the New York-based Commonwealth & Southern Corporation, the country's largest electric utility holding company. He rose through the ranks of the company, and became president in 1933. He had been an active campaigner at the 1932 Democratic National Convention, and might have seemed an unlikely candidate to challenge either Roosevelt or one of the president's favorite New Deal programs. He initially backed former Cleveland mayor, Newton D. Baker, in 1932, but once FDR captured the nomination, Willkie supported him and contributed to his campaign. He was enthusiastic to help the USA out of the great depression. Indiana University, founded in 1820, is a nine-campus university system in the state of Indiana. ... Beta Theta Pi (ΒΘΠ) is a college social fraternity founded at Miami University in Oxford, Ohio, USA, where it is part of the Miami Triad. ... Combatants Allied Powers: Russian Empire France British Empire Italy United States Central Powers: Austria-Hungary German Empire Ottoman Empire Bulgaria Commanders Nicholas II Aleksei Brusilov Georges Clemenceau Joseph Joffre Ferdinand Foch Herbert Henry Asquith Douglas Haig John Jellicoe Victor Emmanuel III Luigi Cadorna Armando Diaz Woodrow Wilson John Pershing Franz... Nickname: The Rubber Capital of the World Location within the state of Ohio Country United States State Ohio County Summit Mayor Don Plusquellic (D) Area    - City 161. ... Official language(s) None Capital Columbus Largest city Columbus Largest metro area Cleveland Area  Ranked 34th  - Total 44,825 sq mi (116,096 km²)  - Width 220 miles (355 km)  - Length 220 miles (355 km)  - % water 8. ... The Democratic Party is one of two major political parties in the United States, the other being the Republican Party. ... 1929 (MCMXXIX) was a common year starting on Tuesday (link will take you to calendar). ... Nickname: Big Apple, Gotham Location in the state of New York Coordinates: Country United States State New York Boroughs The Bronx Brooklyn Manhattan Queens Staten Island Settled 1613  - Mayor Michael Bloomberg (R) Area    - City 1,214. ... An electric utility is a company (often a public utility) that engages in the generation, transmission, and distribution of electricity for sale generally in a regulated market. ... A holding company is a company that owns enough voting stock in another firm to control management and operations by influencing or electing its board of directors. ... Year 1933 (MCMXXXIII) was a common year starting on Sunday. ... The 1932 Democratic National Convention was held in Chicago, Illinois from June 27 - July 2, 1932. ... Nickname: The Forest City Motto: Progress and Prosperity Location in Cuyahoga County, Ohio, USA Coordinates: Country United States State Ohio County Cuyahoga Founded 1796 Incorporated 1836 Mayor Frank G. Jackson (D) Area    - City 82. ... Newton Diehl Baker (December 3, 1871 - December 25, 1937) was an American politician in the Democratic Party, and a notable figure in the Progressive movement. ... 1932 (MCMXXXII) was a leap year starting on Friday (the link will take you to a full 1932 calendar). ...

Soon after the election, Roosevelt proposed legislation creating the Tennessee Valley Authority, an organization with far-reaching influence that promised to bring flood control and cheap electricity to the extremely poor Tennessee Valley. However, this organization would compete with existing power companies in the area, including Commonwealth & Southern. This prompted Willkie to become an active critic of the New Deal, especially the TVA. Willkie had stated publicly since 1930 that it would be unconstitutional for the federal government to enter the utility business, and now this was quickly becoming reality. In April of 1933, Willkie testified against the TVA legislation before the House of Representatives. His testimony compelled the House to limit the TVA's ability to build transmission lines that would compete with existing utility companies (including C & S). However, FDR got the Senate to remove those restrictions and the resulting law gave the TVA extremely broad power. Because the government-run TVA could borrow unlimited funds at low interest rates, C & S was unable to compete, and Willkie was forced to sell C & S to the TVA in 1939 for $78.6 million. Willkie formally switched parties in 1939 and began making speeches in opposition to Roosevelt's New Deal. The introduction to this article is too long. ... A flood (in Old English flod, a word common to Teutonic languages; compare German Flut, Dutch vloed from the same root as is seen in flow, float) is an overflow of water, an expanse of water submerging land, a deluge. ... Lightning strikes during a night-time thunderstorm. ... To meet Wikipedias quality standards, this article or section may require cleanup. ... Wikiquote has a collection of quotations related to: New Deal For other uses of New Deal and The New Deal, see New Deal (disambiguation). ... Year 1930 (MCMXXX) was a common year starting on Wednesday (link is to a full 1930 calendar). ... The House of Representatives is the larger of two houses that make up the U.S. Congress, the other being the United States Senate. ... 1939 (MCMXXXIX) was a common year starting on Sunday (link will take you to calendar). ... Wikiquote has a collection of quotations related to: New Deal For other uses of New Deal and The New Deal, see New Deal (disambiguation). ...

1940 election

Long before the 1940 Republican National Convention, held in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania, the three "main" candidates for the nomination were considered to be Senators Robert Taft of Ohio and Arthur Vandenberg of Michigan and Thomas E. Dewey, the "gangbusting" District Attorney from Manhattan. All three men had campaigned vigorously during the primary season, but only 300 of the 1,000 convention delegates had been pledged to a candidate by the time the convention opened. This left an opening for a dark horse candidate to emerge. The Republican National Convention, the presidential nominating convention of the United States Republican Party, is held every four years to determine the partys candidate for the coming Presidential election and the partys platform. ... Nickname: City of Brotherly Love, Philly, the Quaker City Motto: Philadelphia maneto (Let brotherly love continue) Location in Pennsylvania Coordinates: Country United States State Pennsylvania County Philadelphia Founded October 27, 1682 Incorporated October 25, 1701 Mayor John F. Street (D) Area    - City 369. ... Robert A. Taft Robert Alphonso Taft (September 8, 1889 - July 31, 1953), of the Taft political family of Ohio, was a United States Senator and sought to be the Presidential candidate of the Republican Party in 1940 and 1952. ... Official language(s) None Capital Columbus Largest city Columbus Largest metro area Cleveland Area  Ranked 34th  - Total 44,825 sq mi (116,096 km²)  - Width 220 miles (355 km)  - Length 220 miles (355 km)  - % water 8. ... Arthur Hendrick Vandenberg (March 22, 1884–April 18, 1951) was a Republican Senator from the state of Michigan who participated in the creation of the United Nations. ... Official language(s) None (English, de-facto) Capital Lansing Largest city Detroit Area  Ranked 11th  - Total 97,990 sq mi (253,793 km²)  - Width 239 miles (385 km)  - Length 491 miles (790 km)  - % water 41. ... Thomas Dewey Thomas Edmund Dewey (March 24, 1902 – March 16, 1971) was the Governor of New York (1943-1955) and the unsuccessful Republican candidate for the U.S. Presidency in 1944 and 1948. ... A district attorney is, in some U.S. jurisdictions, the title of the local public official who represents the government in the prosecution of criminals. ... The Borough of Manhattan, highlighted in yellow, lies between the East River and the Hudson River. ... A primary election is an election in which voters in a jurisdiction select candidates for a subsequent election (nominating primary). ... A dark horse candidate is one who is nominated unexpectedly, without previously having been discussed or considered as a likely choice. ...

As a Wall Street-based industrialist Willkie, who had never before run for public office, seemed an unlikely candidate but in fact he won the nomination. Indeed he had been a Roosevelt delegate at the 1932 Democratic National Convention. He had strong backing from media magnates, such as Ogden Reid of the New York Herald Tribune, Roy Howard of the Scripps-Howard chain and John and Gardner Cowles, publishers of the Minneapolis Star and the Minneapolis Tribune, as well as the Des Moines Register and Look magazine. They helped build a powerful grass roots network of supporters. The May 8 Gallup poll showed Dewey at 67% support among Republicans, followed by Vandenberg and Taft, with Willkie at a mere 3%. View up Wall Street from Pearl Street Wall Street is the name of a narrow thoroughfare in lower Manhattan running east from Broadway downhill to the East River. ... Ogden Rogers Reid (born June 24, 1925) was a member of the House of Representatives. ... The New York Herald Tribune was a newspaper created in 1924 when the New York Tribune acquired the New York Herald. ...

To isolationists Willkie seemed one of them, saying, "No man has the right to use the great powers of the Presidency to lead the people, indirectly, into war"; the next day headlines blared, "MUST AVOID WAR, WILLKIE DECLARES."

The Nazis' rapid blitz into France shook public opinion to its roots, even as Taft was telling a Kansas audience that America must concentrate on domestic issues to prevent the New Deal from using the international crisis to extend its powers at home. In New York Republican Congressman Hamilton Fish III warned that Roosevelt had become Churchill's willing accomplice in leading his nation to war against Germany to make the world safe for international communism. He denied being an isolationist, saying he was actually a non-interventionist who wanted negotiated settlements of disputes rather than American involvement in foreign wars. Nevertheless, sympathy for the British was mounting daily. By mid-June, little over one week before the convention, Gallup reported Willkie was in second place with 17% as Dewey started slipping. Willkie was stumping the country getting the votes of businessmen and German-Americans. (His father was a German immigrant.) As the delegates were arriving at Philadelphia, Gallup reported Willkie had surged to 29%, Dewey had slipped 5 more points to 47%, and Taft, Vandenberg and Hoover trailed at 8, 8, and 6% respectively. Hamilton Fish Part III (born Hamilton Stuyvesant Fish and also known as Hamilton Fish, Jr. ...

Hundreds of thousands, perhaps as many as one million, telegrams urging support for Willkie poured in, many from "Willkie Clubs" that had sprung up across the country. Millions more signed petitions circulating everywhere. At the convention itself, keynote speaker Governor Harold Stassen of Minnesota announced for Willkie and became his official floor manager. Hundreds of vocal Willkie supporters packed the upper galleries of the convention hall. Willkie's amateur status, his fresh face, appealed to delegates as well as voters. The delegations were selected not by primaries but by party leaders in each state, and they had a keen sense of the fast changing pulse of public opinion. Gallup found the same thing in data not reported until after the convention: Willkie had pulled ahead among Republican voters by 44% to only 29% for the collapsing Dewey. On the first ballot no one came close to a majority. As delegates belonging to "favorite son" candidates were released, the incessant cries of "We want Willkie" inside the hall mirrored not only public opinion at home, but the political calculus inside the heads of the delegates. They decided Dewey was a loser, and Willkie could be the big winner in the fall. Finally, on the sixth ballot, he received a majority of the ballots cast and won the nomination. Harold Edward Stassen (April 13, 1907 – March 4, 2001) was the 25th Governor of Minnesota from 1939 to 1943 and a perennial candidate for the president of the United States. ... Favorite son is a political term that can refer to two different types of politicians: A politician whose electoral appeal is mostly driven from his regional appeal, rather than his political views. ...

Presidential campaign

Having given little thought to who he would select as his vice-presidential nominee, Willkie left the decision to convention chairman Joe Martin, who suggested Senate Minority Leader Charles L. McNary of Oregon. Despite the fact that McNary had spearheaded a "Stop Willkie" campaign late in the balloting, the candidate picked him to be his running mate and McNary was nominated by acclamation. This page may qualify for deletion as a vanity page, or may be a user page mistakenly created as an article. ... The Senate Minority Leader is a member of the United States Senate who is elected by his or her party conference to serve as the chief Senate spokesmen for his or her party and to manage and schedule the legislative and executive business of the Senate. ... Charles L. McNary Charles Linza McNary (June 12, 1874 - February 25, 1944) was a U.S. Republican politician from Oregon, best known for serving as Minority Leader of the United States Senate from 1933 to 1944. ... Official language(s) None Capital Salem Largest city Portland Area  Ranked 9th  - Total 98,466 sq mi (255,026 km²)  - Width 260 miles (420 km)  - Length 360 miles (580 km)  - % water 2. ...

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Willkie crusaded at a high emotional pitch against the New Deal and the government's alleged lack of military preparedness. During the campaign, Roosevelt preempted the military issue by expanding military contracts and instituting a military draft. Willkie supported the draft but then reversed his approach and accused FDR of warmongering. Image File history File links Willikie-pin. ... Image File history File links Willikie-pin. ...

Though it was well known among journalists at the time that Willkie was having an affair with Irita Van Doren, book editor of the New York Herald Tribune (and ex-wife of Carl Van Doren), who had helped create Willkie's speeches and public persona, this was unknown to the public at large. Carl Clinton Van Doren (September 10, 1885 _ July 18, 1950) was a U.S. critic and Pulitzer Prize_winning biographer. ...


On election day Roosevelt received 27 million votes to Willkie's 22 million, and in the Electoral College, Roosevelt defeated Willkie 449 to 82. (Wilkie carried 10 states: Maine, Vermont, Michigan, Indiana, Iowa, North Dakota, South Dakota, Nebraska, Kansas, and Colorado.) Despite his defeat, Willkie took solace in the fact that he had tallied the highest vote ever recorded by a Republican presidential candidate up to that time, and in fact had received the third-highest vote total in history, behind Roosevelt's popular-vote tallies in 1936 and 1940. Presidential electoral votes by state. ...

After 1940

After the election, Willkie became one of Roosevelt's most unlikely allies. To the chagrin of many in his party, Willkie called for greater national support for controversial Roosevelt initiatives such as the Lend-Lease Act and embarked on a new campaign against isolationism in America. On July 23, 1941, he urged unlimited aid to the United Kingdom in its struggle against Nazi Germany. That same year he traveled to Britain and the Middle East as Roosevelt's personal representative, and in 1942 visited the USSR and China in the same capacity. In 1943, Willkie wrote One World, a plea for international peacekeeping after the war. Extremely popular, millions of copies of the book sold. Also in 1943, Willkie helped to establish Freedom House together with Eleanor Roosevelt . The Lend-Lease program was a program of the United States during World War II that allowed the United States to provide the Allied Powers with war material without becoming directly involved in the war. ... Isolationism is a foreign policy which combines a non-interventionist military and a political policy of economic nationalism (protectionism). ... July 23 is the 204th day (205th in leap years) of the year in the Gregorian Calendar, with 161 days remaining. ... For the movie, see 1941 (film). ... National Socialism redirects here. ... A map showing countries commonly considered to be part of the Middle East The Middle East is a region comprising the lands around the southern and eastern parts of the Mediterranean Sea, a territory that extends from the eastern Mediterranean Sea to the Persian Gulf. ... Year 1942 (MCMXLII) was a common year starting on Thursday (the link is to a full 1942 calendar). ... Year 1943 (MCMXLIII) was a common year starting on Friday (the link is to a full 1943 calendar). ... This article is about the book One World. ... This map reflects the findings of Freedom Houses 2006 survey Freedom in the World, concerning the state of world freedom in 2005. ... Anna Eleanor Roosevelt (October 11, 1884 – November 7, 1962) was an American political leader who used her stature as First Lady of the United States from 1933 to 1945 to promote her husbands (Franklin D. Roosevelts) New Deal, as well as American Civil Rights Movement|civil rights]]. She...

In the 1944 presidential election Willkie once again sought the Republican nomination, choosing his wife's hometown, Rushville, Indiana, as his campaign headquarters. But his liberal progressive views gained little support due to the rightward shift of the Republican Party. Willkie did not support the eventual 1944 Republican nominee, Thomas Dewey. Willkie began working with the new Liberal Party of New York to launch a new national party, but his unexpected death ended that movement. Presidential electoral votes by state. ... Rushville is a town in Rush County, Indiana, United States. ... Look up liberal on Wiktionary, the free dictionary Liberal may refer to: Politics: Liberalism American liberalism, a political trend in the USA Political progressivism, a political ideology that is for change, often associated with liberal movements Liberty, the condition of being free from control or restrictions Liberal Party, members of... Progressivism is a term that refers to a broad school of contemporary international social and political philosophies. ... Thomas Dewey Thomas Edmund Dewey (March 24, 1902 – March 16, 1971) was the Governor of New York (1943-1955) and the unsuccessful Republican candidate for the U.S. Presidency in 1944 and 1948. ... The Liberal Party of New York is a minor political party active only in New York State. ...

In April, 1941 Willkie joined the law firm of Miller, Boston & Owen and shortly thereafter changed the name to Willkie, Owen, Otis, Farr & Gallagher (and presently, Willkie Farr & Gallagher LLP). Willkie Farr and Gallagher LLP is an international law firm based in New York City. ...

After surviving several heart attacks, Willkie finally succumbed, dying on October 8, 1944 at age fifty-two. Shortly before Willkie died, he told a friend, that if he could write his own epitaph and had to choose between "here lies a president" or "here lies one who contributed to saving freedom," he would prefer the latter. Eleanor Roosevelt in her October 12, 1944 My Day column eulogized Willkie as a "man of courage.... (whose) outspoken opinions on race relations were among his great contributions to the thinking of the world." She concluded, "Americans tend to forget the names of the men who lost their bid for the presidency. Willkie proved the exception to this rule." (1) Acute myocardial infarction (AMI or MI), commonly known as a heart attack, is a disease state that occurs when the blood supply to a part of the heart is interrupted. ... October 8 is the 281st day of the year in the Gregorian Calendar (282nd in leap years). ... Year 1944 (MCMXLIV) was a leap year starting on Saturday (the link is to a full 1944 calendar). ... Anna Eleanor Roosevelt (October 11, 1884 – November 7, 1962) was an American political leader who used her stature as First Lady of the United States from 1933 to 1945 to promote her husbands (Franklin D. Roosevelts) New Deal, as well as American Civil Rights Movement|civil rights]]. She... October 12 is the 285th day of the year in the Gregorian calendar (286th in leap years). ... Year 1944 (MCMXLIV) was a leap year starting on Saturday (the link is to a full 1944 calendar). ...

Willkie is buried in East Hill Cemetery, Rushville, Indiana. Rushville is a town in Rush County, Indiana, United States. ...

Willkie's legacy

Willkie's name was prominently mentioned by keynote speaker and Democratic Senator Zell Miller at the 2004 Republican National Convention. Miller, in a speech approved by key aides to President Bush, praised Willkie as a politician who embodied a non-partisan spirit of co-operation during wartime, and praised his support of President Roosevelt's creation of a military draft. He compared John Kerry negatively, and blasted the senator for being critical of President Bush's foreign policy. Miller failed to note, however, that Willkie had been a Democrat for the majority of his adult life, and had supported FDR in 1932 and 1936. Zell Bryan Miller (born February 24, 1932) is an American politician from the U.S. state of Georgia. ... 2004 Republican National Convention Logo President George W. Bush and Vice President Dick Cheney accepted their partys nomination to run for second terms. ... George Walker Bush (born July 6, 1946) is the 43rd and current President of the United States, inaugurated on January 20, 2001. ... Partisan may refer to: A member of a lightly-equipped irregular military force formed to oppose control of an area by a foreign power or by an army of occupation. ... John Forbes Kerry (born December 11, 1943) is the junior United States Senator from Massachusetts. ...

State of the Union, a play by Howard Lindsay and Russell Crouse which was filmed by Frank Capra in 1948, is loosely inspired by Willkie and the role played in his campaign by his mistress Irita Van Doren. Howard Lindsay (March 29, 1888 - February 11, 1968) was a Broadway producer, playwright, librettist, director and actor, best known for his writing work as part of the collaboration of Lindsay and Crouse, and for his performance, with his wife Dorothy Stickney, in the long-running play Life with Father. ... Russel Crouse (February 20, 1893 - April 3, 1966) was a U.S. playwright and librettist, best known for his work in the Broadway writing partnership of Lindsay and Crouse. ... This article is about the film director. ...

Willkie is also featured as a character in Philip Roth's counterfactual history novel The Plot Against America in which Willkie opposes Charles Lindbergh in the 1944 presidential election. Philip Roth Philip Milton Roth (born March 19, 1933, Newark, New Jersey) is an American novelist. ... Counterfactual history, also sometimes referred to as virtual history, is a form of history which attempts to answer what if questions known as counterfactuals. ... The Plot Against America: A Novel (ISBN 0-618-50928-3) is a novel by Philip Roth published in 2004. ... For the U.S. Representative from Minnesota (1859 – 1924), see Charles August Lindbergh Charles Augustus Lindbergh, Jr. ...

A large dorm complex at Indiana University-Bloomington is named after him.

In a humorous reference in the Bugs Bunny animated cartoon Falling Hare, Bugs is pestered by a gremlin while trying to fly a World War II bomber. When Bugs realizes what the gremlin is, he timidly asks, "Could it be a - [whispering] gremlin?" In a foreign accent, the gremlin shouts in Bugs' ear, "It ain't Vendell Villkie!" Bugs Bunny is an Academy Award-winning fictional street-smart anthropomorphic gray rabbit who appears in the Looney Tunes and Merrie Melodies series of animated films produced by Warner Bros. ... An animated cartoon is a short, hand-drawn (or made with computers to look similar to something hand-drawn) film for the cinema, television or computer screen, featuring some kind of story or plot (even if it is a very short one). ... Falling Hare is a 1943 Merrie Melodies cartoon directed by Robert Clampett, starring Bugs Bunny. ... A gremlin is a mythological mischievous creature. ... Combatants Major Allied powers: United Kingdom France Soviet Union United States Republic of China and others Major Axis powers: Germany Italy Japan and others Commanders Winston Churchill Charles de Gaulle Joseph Stalin Franklin Roosevelt Chiang Kai-Shek Adolf Hitler Benito Mussolini Hideki Tojo Casualties Military dead: 17,000,000 Civilian...


  1. Eleanor Roosevelt, "My Day." October 12, 1944.


    • Kavanagh, Dennis. ed. A Dictionary of Political Biography: Who's Who in Twentieth Century World Politics. New York: Oxford University Press, 1998, 505.
    • Roosevelt, Eleanor. "My Day." October 12, 1944.
    • Norton, Mary Beth, et al. A People and a Nation: A History of the United States. 6th ed. New York: Houghton Mifflin Company, 2001, 724.

    Further reading

    • Barnard, Ellsworth. Wendell Willkie, fighter for freedom (1966)
    • Madison, James H., ed. Wendell Willkie: Hoosier Internationalist. Indiana U. Press, 1992. 184 pp.
    • Neal, Steve. Dark Horse: A Biography of Wendell Willkie (1989)
    • Parmet, Herbert S. and Marie B. Hecht. Never Again: A President Runs for a Third Term (1968)
    • Willkie, Wendell L. An American Program (1944)
    • Peters, Charles. Five Days in Philadelphia: The Amazing "We Want Willkie!" Convention of 1940 and How It Freed FDR to Save the Western World (2005)

    External links

    Preceded by
    Alf Landon
    Republican Party Presidential candidate
    1940 (lost)
    Succeeded by
    Thomas Dewey



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