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Wendell Lewis Willkie

Willkie was born in 1892 and received a law degree from Indiana University, Wendell Willkie joined a private law firm in Akron, Ohio in the 1920's. In 1924, he attended the Democratic National Convention as a delegate lobbying for the League of Nations and against the Ku Klux Klan. Between 1929 and 1933, he went from counsel to the Commonwealth and Southern Corporation to president and chief executive officer. Willkie engaged in a series of legal battles with the Tennessee Valley Authority (TVA), the primary competitor of Commonwealth's Tennessee Electric Power Company. Accusing TVA of offering unfair rates, Willkie took them to court. Eventually, he did sell TEPCO to TVA for seventy-eight million dollars. Despite his record as a registered Democrat and his lack of experience in public office, Willkie garnered the 1940 Republican nomination for the presidency against Roosevelt. Willkie advocated an increase in the amount of aid to Allied forces in Europe, but this caused him to lose favor with many Republican isolationists in the electoral college. After he lost the election, Willkie nonetheless supported Roosevelt's internationalist stance. In 1942, at Roosevelt's request, he embarked on a tour of Asia and began a movement to implement some body of international law that would promote self-determination in all nations. In 1944, Willkie again sought the Republican nomination, but dropped out early on.