Date of Award

January 2019

Degree Type

Open Access Thesis

Degree Name

Master of Arts (MA)

Department

History

First Advisor

Robert S. Weise

Second Advisor

Joshua A. Lynn

Third Advisor

Jennifer Spock

Abstract

In the fall of 1952, General Dwight D. Eisenhower and Illinois Governor Adlai Stevenson II faced off in a heated Presidential Election. The reputations of the two men followed them throughout the campaign cycle. Eisenhower was perceived as the General who defeated the Germans on the European front of WWII and was also skilled in managing the press. Stevenson was a relative unknown on the national stage, but was perceived as an intellectual who helped to reform the State Government of Illinois, becoming a favorite candidate of the Democratic Party. The fear of the spread of communism, the looming threat of another global war, and public perception all played a role in the outcome of the 1952 Election. Despite both candidates holding similar views, in the end General Eisenhower prevailed. The General’s victory can be largely attributed to this military record and determination to end the Korean War quickly, while Stevenson held similar views to those of Eisenhower but varied in his strategies. Eisenhower was viewed as a strong and trustworthy leader, making him the most popular candidate among the nervous and fearful American electorate in 1952.

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