- Category : 1900-births
- Type : MGE
- Profile : 4/6 - Opportunistic / Role Model
- Definition : Split - Small (8,20,31,33)
- Incarnation Cross : RAX The Sphinx 1
American politician and statesman. An intellectual and moral giant, he ran for president of the U.S. in 1952 and 1956.
Growing up in the rural surroundings of Bloomington, IL, Adlai’s family had political ties dating back to the American Revolution. His paternal grandfather was V. P. under Grover Cleveland, his dad was the Illinois Secretary of State and his mom, a Republican, had family ties to Abe Lincoln. He traveled extensively in Europe as a young man and was not particularly successful in school as he failed his entrance exam for Princeton University three times then attended preparatory school at Choate Academy in CN and went on to Princeton where he was the editor of the "Daily Princetonian" and a member of the Quadrangle Club.
He graduated in 1922 after which he attended Harvard Law School. In 1924 he returned to Bloomington to work as an assistant editor of the "Daily Pantagraph," a newspaper his great-grandfather had started, because the ownership of the paper was in probate. While working there he reentered law school at Northwestern University and in 1926 graduated and passed the Illinois State Bar exam. He was hired by Cutting, Moore and Sidley, an old, conservative Chicago law firm. He made partner by age 35 and was earning $20,000 per year.
As a popular member of the Chicago social scene, he was a suave, urbanely sophisticated and articulate young man, joining clubs and civic organizations which furthered his political aspirations. He began government service in July 1933 when he became the special attorney assigned to Jerome Frank, general counsel to the Agricultural Adjustment Administration in Washington, D.C. In 1935 he returned to Chicago and the practice of law and became the chairman of the Chicago branch of the Committee to Defend America by Aiding the Allies, often known as the White Committee. In 1940 Stevenson was offered a position as special assistant to Colonel Frank Knox, Secretary of the Navy. December 1943 and January 1944 he was on a special mission to Sicily and Italy for the Foreign Economic Administration to report on the country’s economy. After the war Stevenson accepted an appointment as special assistant to the Secretary of State to work on a proposed world organization. He went to London as Deputy U.S. Delegate to the Preparatory Commission of the U.N. He held the position until February 1946.
In 1947 he defeated the incumbent Illinois governor, Dwight Green, in a landslide. In 1952 while still governor, he accepted the Democratic presidential nomination at their convention in Chicago. Although his distinctive speaking style earned him the reputation of being an intellectual, he was defeated by Dwight Eisenhower. After the defeat and prior to returning to a law practice he traveled throughout Asia, the Middle East and Europe, writing about his travels for "Look" magazine. He was once again nominated by the Democrats in 1956 and again lost to Eisenhower on 11/06/1956. In December 1960 John Kennedy offered Stevenson the position of U.S. Ambassador to the U.N. which he accepted only after Dean Rusk was named Secretary of State, a position he had hoped to fill. In April 1961 he suffered the greatest humiliation of his career when he was misled by the White House and publicly said the C.I.A. was not involved in the Bay of Pigs attack in Cuba. During the summer of 1961 he traveled throughout Latin America to convince leaders that Castro was a threat. October 1962 during the Cuban Missile Crisis he confronted Soviet Ambassador Zorin in an emergency meeting of the U.N. Security Council. Stevenson addressed the Economic and Social Council in Geneva 7/12/1965 then flew to London for his last official duties.
Stevenson met and married Ellen Borden, a socially prominent debutante nine years his junior, in 1928. They had three sons, Adlai III, born 1930, Borden, born 1932 and John, born 1936. Ellen wasn’t happy as she didn’t like politics and after they divorced in 1949 he took other women "friends" on his trips.
Stevenson was overweight with poor eating habits and after lunch and a U.S. Embassy broadcast in London on 7/14/1965 at 4:00 PM as he took a brisk walk, he felt faint, fell and died of a heart attack in St. George’s Hospital.