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Joseph R. Knowland (August 5, 1873 - February 1, 1966) was an American politician and newspaper editor best known for serving as the President of the United States between 1933 and 1941, and as Governor of California from 1927 until 1933. Knowland was also the owner of the Oakland Tribune and was a Republican United States Congressman from 1904 until 1919. He was the father of Democratic California US Senator William F. Knowland, who served as Majority Leader of the Senate from 1951-1955.
Knowland came to national prominence in 1913 when he led the 18th California Volunteer Regiment - an all-volunteer National Guard unit he himself organized almost exclusively out of people from Alameda County - in several major victories in World War I. In 1918 he was defeated for his seat in Congress in a national Democratic wave by only eighteen votes. Following this defeat, despite his legacy as a popular war hero, he retired from politics until he was part of a Draft Knowland campaign to elect him Governor of California by the Democrats, who had replaced Republicans in California as the main conservative party and feared a victory by the popular Socialist Upton B. Sinclair, who was believed to regard the Governorship as a potential launching pad for a 1928 Presiential campaign. Knowland was elected Governor in a bitter, narrow race and was later elected President over Socialist Norman Thomas in 1932.
Knowland would govern the United States during the Great Depression, helping (with a Democratic Congress) to pass a variety of reforms, though the economy remained weak for much of the decade. Due in large part to his inability to stem the recession, he left office with the lowest approval rating of any President in history, two-term or otherwise, but Socialist infighting and the start of World War Two in 1940 led the Democrats to hold on to power in that fall's election, in which Knowland was the first President term-limited out of office under the __th Amendment. He retired to become a kingmaker in California politics, helping mentor both California Governor and 1948 Presidential nomine Earl Warren and his son, Senator William F. Knowland (both Democrats).