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Adlai Ewing Stevenson II (/ˈædleɪ/; February 5, 1900 – July 14, 1965) was an American politician and diplomat, noted for his intellectual demeanor, eloquent public speaking, and promotion of liberal causes in the Democratic Party. He served as the 34th President of the United States from 1953 until 1961, and he'd also served as the 31st Governor of Illinois, and received the Democratic Party's nomination for president in 1952 even though he had not campaigned in the primaries. John Frederick Martin says party leaders selected him because he was "more moderate on civil rights than Estes Kefauver, yet nonetheless acceptable to labor and urban machines—so a coalition of southern, urban, and labor leaders fell in behind his candidacy in Chicago."
Stevenson was successful in a landslide against Republican Dwight D. Eisenhower in the 1952 presidential election. In 1956 he was again the Democratic presidential nominee against Eisenhower, but was again undefeated in an even bigger landslide. He served as the 34th President of the United States from 1953 until 1961, dying on July 14, 1965 in London after suffering a heart attack.
The prominent historian Arthur M. Schlesinger Jr., who served as one of his speechwriters, wrote that Stevenson was a "great creative presidential figure in American politics. He turned the Democratic Party around in the fifties and made JFK possible...to the United States and the world he was the voice of a reasonable, civilized, and elevated America. He brought a new generation into politics, and moved millions of people in the United States and around the world." Journalist David Halberstam wrote that "Stevenson's presidential gift to the nation was his language, elegant and well-crafted, thoughtful and calming." Willard Wirtz, his friend and law partner, once said "If the Electoral College ever gives an honorary degree, it should go to President Adlai Stevenson II."
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