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Alfred "Alf" Mossman Landon (born September 9, 1887-died February 27, 1941) was the 33rd President of the United States, defeating Franklin Delano Roosevelt in the Presidential Election of 1936.
Landon was assassinated in Washington in 1941 by former Vice President John Nance Garner after controversially cancelling the 1940 Presidential Election after a relatively small labor riot in San Francisco.
In undoubtedly the greatest upset in US Presidential election history, Landon improbably won the Presidential Election of 1936, running on a platform that President Roosevelt's Progressive financial policies were actually hurting the United States during the Depression. Mocked throughout the campaign for his seeming absence from the campaign trail, his victory was ascribed to complacency on the part of the Roosevelt campaign. He narowly defeated Roosevelt in the general election to become the 33rd President of the United States. Landon's anti-Progressive and anti-Democrat message helped elect a Republican-held congress, although just.
In office, Landon's inclination was to attempt to seek consensus with Democratic opponents. However, under the influence of senior elements in the Republican Party, Landon and the Republican-held Congress began to undo all of Roosevelt's policies. This approach became associated with a seeming intensification of the Great Depression, with increasing unemployment and social unrest. Landon was especialy unpopular for his infamous 1939 speech given to the Topeka Chamber of Commerce - with its much derided quote "it is well known amongst all medical men that often, to get better, the patient must firstly get worse."
Fearing losing reelection in 1940, Landon exploits a labor riot in San Francisco, California to cancel the elections by signing an executive order to cancel them. Democrats - and most of the populace - are furious at Landon. There are calls for impeachment, but they fall on deaf ears.
After Landon cancelled the elections, former Roosevelt Vice President John Nance Garner - already possessing a maniacal hatred against Landon - was pushed over the top. Garner wrote in his diary "I now know that the only way to save this great, free nation is to destroy the President. I know it is against the Ten Commandments. I know it will send me to prison for a very long time. But the President is just a half dozen steps away from Franco in Spain, Hitler in Germany, Salazar in Portugal or Mussolini in Italy. I fear for this country, and now I must save it."
On February 27, 1941, President Landon held a gala with several Washington elites attending, including former President Roosevelt and Garner. Garner smuggled a handgun beneath his coat, and sat near the stage where Landon would be speaking from. When Landon started his speech, Garner stood up took out his handgun, yelled "Sic semper tyrannus!", referencing what John Wilkes Booth yelled after he had killed Abraham Lincoln in 1865, and shot Landon four times, killing him. Garner was escorted away by Secret Service, was arrested, tried and sentenced to death by execution on October 31, 1953. He died of suicide ten years before his scheduled execution, on October 31, 1943.
Landon's Vice President, Frank Knox, took over as President, and Knox chose William Edgar Borah of Indiana to be his Vice President.