Born in Christian County, Kentucky, Adlai Ewing Stevenson I was twice elected into the United States House of Representatives and eventually became the 23rd Vice President of the United States. This rigid and ambitious Congressman from Illinois also served as the Assistant Postmaster General of the United States. He was infamous for firing more than 40,000 republican candidates and replacing them with democratic candidates. This earned him quite a bit of animosity from the Republican-controlled Congress but he became very popular with the Democratic leaders. He was a supporter of the free-silver lobby over the gold-standard. He was much respected for his dignified demeanour and his non-partisan manner of doing things. A lawyer by profession, Adlai Stevenson I became acquainted with prominent attorneys like Stephen A. Douglas and Abraham Lincoln, at the young age of 23, when he started off his law practice. He was also named associate justice of the Supreme Court for Columbia district. He was in favour of low tariffs and a soft-money policy. He also unsuccessfully fought for Governor of Illinois.
- Adlai Stevenson I was born in Christian County, Kentucky, where his family owned a farm. His parents were John Turner Stevenson and Eliza Ewing Stevenson.He attended the Blue Water School in Kentucky. In 1852, his family’s tobacco crops were destroyed by frost; as a result they relocated to Bloomington, Illinois. In Illinois, his father owned a sawmill.He went to the Illinois Wesleyan University, located in Bloomington and later graduated from Centre College, Danville, Kentucky.In 1858, he was admitted to the bar and began his practice in Metamora, in Woodford County, Illinois. At 23, this young lawyer became acquainted with prominent attorneys like Stephen A. Douglas and Abraham Lincoln.Career
- During the Civil war, he held his first public office as an aide in a court of equity, also known as master in chancery. In 1864, he was elected district attorney and also a presidential elector.In 1868, after his tenure as a district attorney came to an end, he began to practice law with a cousin, named, James S. Ewing. He relocated to Bloomington with his wife, Letitia, that year.In 1874, he was elected to the Forty-fourth Congress as a Democrat. He began to serve in this position from the following year, serving in the House of Representatives for the next two years.In 1876, he stood for re-election but suffered a narrow defeat from Rutherford B. Hayes, who was the leader of the Republican presidential ticket.In 1878, he contested on the Democratic and Greenback tickets and became victorious. In the next two presidential election years, he lost narrowly, in his final race to the Congress.In 1885, he was appointed as the first assistant postmaster general under the government of Grover Cleveland. This was the time he fired around 40,000 Republicans and appointed Democrats in their place. The move earned him the wrath of the Republicans and support of the Democrats.In 1892, he was nominated by the Democrats as a Vice-Presidential candidate. The following year, he was appointed the 23rd Vice President of the United States.In 1896, his name was mentioned as a candidate to succeed Cleveland. He was made the chairman of the Democratic National Convention. However, the move did not help him gain support.In 1900, he unsuccessfully stood for Vice President Elections along with William Jennings Bryan, who was 25 years younger than him. After the election, he resumed his law practice in Illinois.In 1908, he contested for the office of the governor of Illinois but failed to succeed. The following year, he aided the distance learning school La Salle Extension University.Personal Life & Legacy
- In 1866, he married his long time love interest, Letitia Green Stevenson. The couple had four children.He was a compulsive cigar smoker and as a result was diagnosed with mouth cancer. In 1893, he had to undergo surgery for the same.He died at the age of 78. He was laid to rest at the Evergreen Cemetery in Bloomington, Illinois.In his honour, the Centre College, Danville, Kentucky, United States built the Stevenson House, a residence hall after him.Trivia
- He served as the 23rd Vice President of United States. He was the first ex-Vice President ever to win re-nomination for the post with a different Presidential candidate.
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