In 1950, Vice-President Earl Warren was sworn in as president of the United States following the assassination of President Thomas E. Dewey by Oscar Collazo and Giselio Torresola, members of a radical organization demanding independence for the U.S. commonwealth of Puerto Rico.
President Warren, Part 1Warren, who had served as a district attorney and attorney general of California before winning the governorship of that state in 1942, had been expected to be reliably conservative based on his record in his home state, where, among other things, he strongly supported the World War II internment of Japanese Americans. To the dismay of the right, however, once in the White House he swiftly revealed himself as a champion of liberal causes, leading to a series of spectacular confrontations with Congress and the conservative wing of the Supreme Court.
In 1952, a bitterly divided Republican Party narrowly nominated President Warren for reelection to the office he had inherited. Supporters of Warren's opponent in the primaries, Ohio Sen. Robert Taft, registered their displeasure by staying away from the polls in droves that November, ironically helping top elect the Democratic candidate, Illinois Gov. Adlai Stevenson, whom they despised as a liberal intellectual "egghead".
In a further irony, Taft died January 31, 1953, while Warren would live on until July 9, 1974. Had Taft won the nomination in '52, his vice-president (whoever that would have been; speculation centered on Warren's fellow Californians William F. Knowland and Richard Nixon) would have assumed the presidency just as Warren had done.