Adlai E. Stevenson

Stevenson, Adlai Ewing (1900–1965, American statesman)

Adlai Ewing Stevenson, 1900–1965, American statesman, b. Los Angeles; grandson of Adlai Ewing Stevenson (1835–1914). A graduate (1922) of Princeton, he received his law degree from Northwestern Univ., was admitted (1926) to the bar, and practiced law in Chicago. He entered government service as special counsel to the Agricultural Adjustment Administration (1933–34) and later served as assistant general counsel to the Federal Alcohol Bureau (1934) and as an assistant to the U.S. Secretary of the Navy (1941–44). In 1945 he became special assistant to Secretary of State Stettinius and attended the San Francisco Conference that founded the United Nations. He was a member of the U.S. mission to the UN General Assembly in 1946 and 1947. In 1949, Stevenson was elected Democratic governor of Illinois by an unprecedented majority; his record of reforms in office brought him national prominence, and he was drafted (1952) to be the Democratic presidential candidate. Despite an eloquent campaign, he was decisively defeated by Dwight D. Eisenhower. In 1956, Stevenson campaigned actively and successfully for renomination but was defeated by Eisenhower by an even greater margin. In 1960 he was a more reluctant contender for the Democratic nomination, which he lost to John F. Kennedy. In 1961, President Kennedy appointed him U.S. Ambassador to the United Nations, with cabinet rank. He held this position until his death. Despite his electoral defeats, Stevenson won enormous respect and admiration as an eloquent spokesman for liberal reform and for internationalism. Stevenson's works include A Call to Greatness (1954), Friends and Enemies (1959), and Putting First Things First (1960). His papers were edited by Walker Johnson (8 vol., 1972–79). His oldest son, Adlai Ewing Stevenson 3d, 1930–, b. Chicago, served as U.S. senator from Illinois (1970–81). He ran unsuccessfully for governor of Illinois in 1982 and 1986.

See biographies of the elder Stevenson by K. S. Davis (1957, repr. 1967), S. G. Brown (1961), H. J. Muller (1967), and B. Cochran (1969); J. H. Baker, The Stevensons (1996).

The Columbia Encyclopedia, 6th ed. Copyright© 2014, The Columbia University Press.

Selected full-text books and articles on this topic

How We Drafted Adlai Stevenson
Walter Johnson.
Knopf, 1955
Friends and Enemies: What I Learned in Russia
Adlai E. Stevenson.
Harper, 1959
Slanted News: A Case Study of the Nixon and Stevenson Fund Stories
Arthur Edward Rowse; Erwin D. Canham.
Beacon Press, 1957
The Other State Department: the United States Mission to the United Nations: Its Role in the Making of Foreign Policy
Arnold Beichman.
Basic Books, 1968
Librarian’s tip: Chap. 9 "Adlai Stevenson, 1961-1965"
Notable U.S. Ambassadors since 1775: A Biographical Dictionary
Cathal J. Nolan.
Greenwood Press, 1997
Librarian’s tip: "Adlai E. Stevenson (1900-1965)" begins on p. 331
Eisenhower and the Mass Media: Peace, Prosperity, & Prime-Time TV
Craig Allen.
University of North Carolina Press, 1993
Librarian’s tip: Includes discussion of Adlai E. Stevenson in multiple chapters
Still Seeing Red: How the Cold War Shapes the New American Politics
John Kenneth White.
Westview Press, 1998
Librarian’s tip: Discussion of Adlai E. Stevenson begins on p. 90
Warriors' Words: A Consideration of Language and Leadership
Keith Spencer Felton.
Praeger Publishers, 1995
Librarian’s tip: "Adlai Ewing Stevenson: Eloquence Offers Its Neck" begins on p. 131
American Orators of the Twentieth Century: Critical Studies and Sources
Bernard K. Duffy; Halford R. Ryan.
Greenwood Press, 1987
Librarian’s tip: "Adlai Ewing Stevenson (1900-65) U.S. Statesman" begins on p. 383
Presidential Campaigns
Paul F. Boller Jr.
Oxford University Press, 1996 (Revised edition)
Librarian’s tip: Chap. Forty-Two "The Eisenhower Landslide" and Chap. Forty-Three "Another Eisenhower Landslide"
Candidates 1960: Behind the Headlines in the Presidential Race
Eric Sevareid.
Basic Books, 1959
Librarian’s tip: Chap. 7 "'Uneasy Politician': Adlai E. Stevenson"
Eleanor: The Years Alone
Joseph P. Lash.
W. W. Norton, 1972
Librarian’s tip: Chap. XII "'Madly for Adlai'"
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