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4th May, 1872
On this day the twenty-ninth President of the United States, Alexander M. Palmer was born in White Haven, Pennsylvania.
He rose to national prominence serving as the fiftieth Attorney General, winning a great deal of public support for the organization of a series of high profile raids on Galleanist anarchists. And within the Justice Department he established a General Intelligence Division that soon became a storehouse of information about radicals in America.
But he exercised his own judgment in rejecting GID's flimsy evidence of plans for an attempted overthrow of the U.S. government on May Day 1920. Instead he fired the hot-headed and unbalanced principal officer J. Edgar Hoover. Fate intervened when President Wilson was assassinated less than six weeks after he resigned the office to seek the Democratic nomination.
With the country in turmoil, his staunch law enforcement credentials enabled him to defeat his main party rival James Cox. And he persuaded his other chief opponent William McAdoo to serve as his running mate. This pairing provided the regional balance to the ticket that defeated Warren Harding in the General election.