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Act with integrity and honesty. title image


Adlai Stevenson adhered to the principles of integrity and honesty. He valued honest expression and the right to free speech.

Although it cost him votes, Stevenson defended the right to free speech. As Illinois governor, he vetoed a bill requiring public employees and candidates to submit to loyalty oaths. During the 1952 campaign, he criticized the anti-communist "witch hunts" of Senator Joseph McCarthy. "Too often sinister threats to the Bill of Rights, to freedom of the mind, are concealed under the patriotic cloak of anti-communism," he said.

  from the ARCHIVE title image

The Nature of Patriotism, Address to the American Legion

Excerpt: "There are men among us who use 'patriotism' as a club for attacking other Americans. What can we say for the self-styled patriot who thinks that a Negro, a Jew, a Catholic, or a Japanese-American is less an American than he? That betrays the deepest article of our faith, the belief in individual liberty and equality which has always been the heart and soul of the American idea...."
(August 27, 1952)

Background: Stevenson faced an extremely tough audience before the American Legion. His Republican opponent, retired Gen. Dwight D. Eisenhower, served as the Supreme Commander of the Allied forces in Europe. "Ike" was a bona fide war hero who, after the war, became first supreme commander of NATO. In comparison, a self-deprecating Stevenson noted that his own unremarkable military career consisted of a stint as an "apprentice seaman in a naval training unit." Stevenson, to his credit, did not pander to these veterans and their special interests.... Although never mentioned by name, the anti-communist witch hunts of U.S. Senator Joseph McCarthy figured prominently in Stevenson's vigorous defense of free speech....

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