The Presidential Election 1940


Map Code: Ax00085

Lawyer and former Democratic activist Wendell L. Willkie emerged as a dark-horse Republican presidential candidate after favourites Thomas E. Dewey and Robert A. Taft failed to secure nomination. Roosevelt decided, after some reluctance, to run for a third term, with the less-popular Henry A. Wallace as running mate. In the background, World War II had broken out in Europe, but both the Democrats and Republicans were unified in favouring a strong defence programme and assisting Great Britain by sending aid. Willkie achieved plenty of support, including the backing of leading newspapers, but the international stage felt changeable and Roosevelt benefitted from a feeling of uncertainty among voters. Viewed as a constant in a time of possible crisis, he was re-elected and became the first US president to win a third term.

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