For Willkie President

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This button was for the campaign of Wendell Willkie, a Republican who opposed incumbent president Franklin D. Roosevelt in 1940. With the two-term limit tradition rather than law, Roosevelt ran for an unprecedented third term with Henry Wallace as his running mate. Willkie, a businessman from New York, campaigned against Roosevelt's New Deal programs as wasteful and ineffective in ending the Great Depression. He also portrayed FDR as too eager to have America join World War II, and instead advocated military aid, but not necessarily troops, to the Allies. Yet Willkie was hurt by being a symbol of big business, which many felt helped cause the economic crisis in the first place. Roosevelt won with 54.7% of the vote to Willkie's 44.8%, 449 electoral votes to 82.

Willkie had changed his party registration to Republican in 1939. He did not run in the 1940 primaries, but was seen as an alternative to isolationist Thomas Dewey. After the 1940 election, Willkie served as President Roosevelt's informal envoy to Great Britain and supported the Lend-Lease program, which supplied fool, oil, and war materiel such as planes, ships, and weapons to Allied nations during World War II. Willkie died in 1944.

Catalog ID PO0405