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Thomas E. Dewey

Pursuing A Career In Law, Gangbusters, Dewey And Dutch, Beginnings Of Presidential Politics, A Narrow Loss

Born March 24, 1902 (Owosso, Michigan)
Died March 18, 1971 (Bal Harbor, Florida)

Criminal prosecutor, governor

Thomas E. Dewey was an attorney who became a national hero for his success in prosecuting organized crime in New York City. He later played a crucial role in moving the United States forward as a major world power following World War II (1939–45; war in which Great Britain, France, the Soviet Union, the United States, and their allied forces defeated Germany, Italy, and Japan). He revived the Republican Party (GOP) in the 1940s and twice ran as the GOP presidential nominee. Elected governor of New York State in 1942, Dewey served for three consecutive terms. His administration established the state university system in 1947 and took the lead in public health and transportation policies. Under Governor Dewey, New York was the first state in the nation to enact laws prohibiting racial or religious discrimination in employment and education.

"It is our solemn duty . . . to show that government can have both a head and a heart, that it can be both progressive and solvent, that it can serve the people without becoming their master."

For More Information


Karabell, Zachary. The Last Campaign: How Harry Truman Won the 1948 Election. New York: Alfred A. Knopf, 2000.

Smith, Richard Norton. Thomas E. Dewey and His Times. New York: Simon & Schuster, 1982.

Stolbert, Mary M. Fighting Organized Crime: Politics, Justice, and the Legacy of Thomas E. Dewey. Boston, MA: Northeastern University Press, 1995.

Wells, John A., ed. Thomas E. Dewey on the Two-Party System. Garden City, NY: Doubleday & Company, Inc., 1966.

Web Sites

"Presidential Politics." PBS Online. http://www.pbs.org/wgbh/amex/truman/sfeature/sf_ppolitics.html (accessed on August 15, 2004).

"Thomas Dewey (1902–1971)." Eleanor Roosevelt National Historic Site. http://www.nps.gov/elro/glossary/dewey-thomas.htm (accessed on August 15, 2004).

"Thomas Dewey." The National Archives Learning Curve. http://www.spartacus.schoolnet.co.uk/USAdeweyT.htm (accessed on August 15, 2004).

Additional topics

Law Library - American Law and Legal InformationCrime and Criminal Law