American political leader and diplomat Adlai Ewing Stevenson II (1900-1965) was born on this day in Los Angeles, California, the grandson of Grover Cleveland's Vice President Adlai E. Stevenson.
"There are no gains without pains," he once said.
Highly-respected for his honesty and decency, Stevenson earned his law degree at Northwestern University, edited his family's newspaper, and was elected governor of Illinois in 1948.
"To act coolly, intelligently, and prudently in perilous circumstances is the test of a man-and also a nation," he said.
The statesman ran unsuccessful for the Presidency in 1952 and 1956, losing to Dwight Eisenhower. Known for his honesty and wit, Stevenson wrote most of his speeches and said, "I will make a bargain with the Republicans. If they will stop telling lies about Democrats, we will stop telling the truth about them."
He ran again for President in 1960, losing the Democratic nomination to John F. Kennedy. A year later, as the Kennedy-appointed Ambassador to the United Nations, Stevenson negotiated critical events during the Bay of Pigs Invasion and Cuban Missile Crisis.
"We cannot be any stronger in our foreign policy—for all the bombs and guns we may heap up in our arsenals—than we are in the spirit which rules inside the country. Foreign policy, like a river, cannot rise above its source," Stevenson said.
A passionate advocate for freedom, Stevenson was respected as an eloquent speaker and intelligent leader. He once said, "Each of us is born with a capacity for growth... Not just physical growth of the ability to think, to create works of beauty, to live freely and wondrously and add to the lives of others."
Find wisdom in silence.