CHAPTER 1
Beginnings

Kansas has been the home of four nominees for President of the United States. The Communist party candidate, Earl Browder, the only one of the four born in the state, is seldom mentioned there. Prohibitionist John P. St. John, who ran for the office in 1884, is commonly regarded as a curiosity. Dwight D. Eisenhower, the only one to be elected, is the pride of Kansas. The state's attitude toward the fourth man, the subject of this biography, is not as easy to categorize. Kansas folk do not always know what to make of Alf Landon.

Alfred Mossman Landon's immediate family background and ancestry might have been made to order for a presidential nominee. His father was a successful businessman; his mother was a minister's daughter. On both sides of his family he came of Protestant, Englishspeaking stock, and his forebears were men who had fought in the wars against the British, who had pushed westward with the frontier, and who had farmed, taught school, preached the Gospel, and played the role of responsible citizens in the communities in which they had put down roots.

French, English, and German strains mingled in his father, John, a descendant of Landons who had emigrated to the Massachusetts Bay Colony in the 1640s to escape the troubles of the English civil war.

-3-

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Landon of Kansas
Table of contents

Table of contents

  • Title Page iii
  • Contents vii
  • Foreword ix
  • Chapter 1 Beginnings 3
  • Chapter 2 Getting Down to Business 20
  • Chapter 3 State Chairman 47
  • Chapter 4 Oil and Politics Mix 67
  • Chapter 5 from Oil Rebel to Governor 91
  • Chapter 6 the Governor in Action 118
  • Chapter 7 Affairs of State 150
  • Chapter 8 a Second Term 181
  • Chapter 9 a Long Shot 208
  • Chapter 10 a Candidate for Sure 234
  • Chapter 11 the Early Campaign 262
  • Chapter 12 Full-Time Candidate 291
  • Chapter 13 Sunflowers Do Not Bloom in November 313
  • Chapter 14 from Under the Wreckage 340
  • Chapter 15 Titular Head 353
  • Chapter 16 a Practical Liberal? 381
  • Chapter 17 Days of World Crisis 407
  • Chapter 18 Politics in Time of Peril--1940 423
  • Chapter 19 Road to War 454
  • Chapter 20 Political Opponent in Time of War 480
  • Chapter 21 the Postwar World 513
  • Chapter 22 Ten Years Down on the Farm 542
  • Chapter 23 Elder Statesman 560
  • Bibliographical Note 583
  • Achnowledgments 586
  • Index 589
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