Orange text on a white background.
This button dates to the 1940 presidential election and the showdown between Franklin Delano Roosevelt and Wendell Willkie. Roosevelt won the elections of 1932 and 1936 and was running for a third time. This had never been done in American politics, and many Republicans viewed this as Roosevelt trying to become a dictator. Also, Roosevelt turned down Willkie’s challenge to a live radio debate. Button makers, independently of the Willkie campaign, had a field day making and selling buttons critical of both Franklin and Eleanor Roosevelt, and “Dictators Don’t Debate” is one of many 1940 election buttons found in collections.
CAMPAIGN SLOGANS & CANDIDATE'S NICKNAMES. Tedhake.com. (2020). Retrieved from https://www.tedhake.com/viewuserdefinedpage.aspx?pn=nicknames.
Lot Detail - Willkie Slogan Lt Red on W: "Dictators Don't Debate". Oldpoliticals.com. (2020). Retrieved from http://www.oldpoliticals.com/lot-8007.aspx.
Presidential Debates in History - Bill of Rights Institute. Bill of Rights Institute. Retrieved from https://billofrightsinstitute.org/elessons/presidential-debates-in-history/.
Willkie Campaign Buttons and Stamp, ca. 1940 - Cornell University Library Digital Collections. Digital.library.cornell.edu. Retrieved from https://digital.library.cornell.edu/catalog/ss:10637417.