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Estes Kefauver - The Great Campaigner

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To hundreds of thousands of Americans, Kefauver was the man who had exposed the darkness of organized crime and could be counted on to devote himself to the task of leading the nation. Riding on a wave of popularity, Kefauver ran for president in 1952 but lost the Democratic Party nomination. In 1956 he was chosen as Adlai Stevenson's (1900–1965) running mate in an unsuccessful bid for the White House.

Kefauver finally abandoned his presidential ambitions and returned to his legislative duties. In 1954 he took a courageous stand in supporting freedom of speech when he cast the sole senate vote in opposition to a bill outlawing the U.S. Communist Party. Kefauver sponsored a number of important foreign and domestic legislative measures. He continued his fight against monopolies as chair of the Senate Subcommittee on Antitrust and Monopoly from 1957 to 1963. The hearings covered organization and pricing practices of the steel, automobile, drug, and bread industries. The ensuing drug hearings sought to protect the public from harmful and ineffective pharmaceuticals. The investigation led to the Kefauver-Harris Drug Control Act of 1962, designed to guard against excessive pricing of prescription drugs.

Kefauver was in another antimonopoly debate in the Senate on August 8 when he became ill. He was taken to the naval hospital at Bethesda, Maryland, where he died two days later of a heart condition. Estes Kefauver was buried in the family plot in Madisonville, Tennessee.


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