Dewey, Thomas Edmund

Dewey, Thomas Edmund, 1902–71, American political figure, governor (1943–55) of New York, b. Owosso, Mich. Admitted (1925) to the bar, Dewey practiced law and in 1931 became chief assistant U.S. attorney for the Southern District of New York. After briefly serving (1933) as U.S. attorney, he was appointed (1935) special prosecutor to investigate organized crime and was elected (1937) district attorney of New York county. He won a national reputation for “racket-busting.” He was the unsuccessful Republican candidate for governor of New York in 1938, but was elected governor in 1942. In 1944 he won the Republican presidential nomination, but he lost the election to Franklin Delano Roosevelt. Reelected (1946) governor, Dewey again ran for President on the Republican ticket in 1948 and, contrary to general expectation, lost the election to Harry S. Truman by a close margin. He was reelected governor of New York in 1950, and resumed private law practice on completion of his term (1955). He wrote Journey to the Far Pacific (1952) after a tour of East Asia, and Thomas E. Dewey on the Two Party System (1966).

See biographies by B. K. Beyer (1979) and R. N. Smith (1982).

The Columbia Electronic Encyclopedia, 6th ed. Copyright © 2024, Columbia University Press. All rights reserved.

See more Encyclopedia articles on: U.S. History: Biographies