Talk:Adlai Stevenson II

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Proposed move 2011[edit]

The following discussion is an archived discussion of a requested move. Please do not modify it. Subsequent comments should be made in a new section on the talk page. No further edits should be made to this section.

The result of the move request was: pages moved by rough consensus. Arbitrarily0 (talk) 02:55, 2 August 2011 (UTC)



– Doesn't really meet the criteria for primary topic. His grandfather Adlai Stevenson I was Vice-President and was the first Adlai Stevenson, so likely quite a few people who are coming here are actually looking for him. You also have Adlai Stevenson III as a possible topic. Adlai Stevenson needs to be either a disambiguation page, or AS I needs to be mentioned in the hatnote Purplebackpack89≈≈≈≈ 21:19, 25 July 2011 (UTC)

  • Support: He is the one I think of first but a former Vice President is extremely notable as well, so no clear primary topic. –CWenger (^@) 06:25, 26 July 2011 (UTC)
  • Oppose. He meets all the criteria of WP:PRIMARYTOPIC: more than 3 times the pageviews of the other three combined in June, more incoming links, and a quick search of Google Books shows in the real world Adlai Stevenson usually means the presidential candidate. Few readers are surprised to find this article at this title - fewer than 3% go on to the dab page. No objection to mentioning the others in the hatnote though. Station1 (talk) 08:15, 26 July 2011 (UTC)
  • Support pageview count distorted because he is at the undabbed page.--TonyTheTiger (T/C/BIO/WP:CHICAGO/WP:FOUR) 20:32, 26 July 2011 (UTC)
    Yes, slightly, but even in the extremely unlikely event that every single pageview of all 3 other Adlais came thru this article, still more than 2/3 of readers landing here want this article, and in reality closer to 97%. A move would incovenience a large majority with no benefit to the minority clicking on a hatnote. Station1 (talk) 04:35, 27 July 2011 (UTC)
Station, your 97% figure is way too high Purplebackpack89≈≈≈≈ 17:56, 28 July 2011 (UTC)
Why do you think so? It is based on the fact that over 97% of readers arriving at this article in June did not go on to click on the dab page. Of course a few might have given up instead or got to one of the other Adlais via a different route, but on the other hand a few might have clicked on the dab page out of curiosity. But even if only 90% or 80% or 70% really want this article, why would we want to inconvenience a definite majority when the minority won't even get any benefit; it's still one click for them whether it's through a dab page or a hatnote. Station1 (talk) 08:09, 29 July 2011 (UTC)
The traffic stats for 2010 were 239986 hits for Adlai Stevenson versus 49301 hits for Adlai E. Stevenson I. This is less than a 5-fold advantage that normally doesn't meet the WP:PRIMARYTOPIC threshold, even before you factor in that the former is at the undisambiguated name. –CWenger (^@) 18:47, 28 July 2011 (UTC)
I believe very few editors would agree that a 5x advantage is necessary for a primary topic. I think we'd have only a fraction of the primary topics we do, if that were the case. The guidelines only say much more than the next topic (which is of course subjective, but imo even 190685 is much more than 49301) and more than all other topics combined, which this article definitely and easily meets. Station1 (talk) 08:09, 29 July 2011 (UTC)
I hear an order of magnitude as a common threshold. We should also throw in 20080 hits for Adlai Stevenson III and 4960 hits for Adlai Stevenson IV, so it's now closer to a 3:1 advantage. And again, this is all with Adlai Stevenson II at the undisambiguated name. –CWenger (^@) 16:09, 29 July 2011 (UTC)
The above discussion is preserved as an archive of a requested move. Please do not modify it. Subsequent comments should be made in a new section on this talk page. No further edits should be made to this section.

1960 campaign[edit]

His name was put into nomination, why isn't this mentioned?Ericl (talk) 14:23, 17 August 2011 (UTC)

Alger Hiss[edit]

Stevenson didn't testify before HUAC. He gave a sworn statement.

Agreed. I have corrected the inaccurate claim. Stevenson actually gave a private, sworn deposition to lawyers regarding Hiss's character. His "defense" of Hiss, based on a brief period of working with him in the 1930s (they were not close friends or associates), consisted of telling the lawyers that Hiss's reputation for integrity, loyalty, and veracity was "good". That's a long way from the distorted claims of Joseph McCarthy and Richard Nixon - then Eisenhower's running mate - in the 1952 presidential campaign that Stevenson had actively defended Hiss and was a close associate or friend of Hiss. McCarthy repeatedly ("accidentally") even confused the two men's first names in the campaign, stating "Alger...I mean Adlai" in his speeches.70.145.229.162 (talk) 17:29, 11 May 2013 (UTC)

Council on Foreign Relations[edit]

Why is there no mention of the CFR? — Preceding unsigned comment added by 71.219.224.19 (talk) 07:38, 16 January 2012 (UTC)

Primary topic[edit]

You know who is not actually "extremely notable"? An obscure nineteenth century vice president. This Adlai Stevenson is clearly the primary topic for the name. We ought to go back to the way it was before. john k (talk) 14:32, 11 August 2012 (UTC)

1948 Victory[edit]

Changed: "he defeated incumbent Republican Dwight H. Green in the Truman landslide" to "he defeated incumbent Republican Dwight H. Green on President Truman's coattails." Truman did not win by anything approaching a landslide.Ctnelsen (talk) —Preceding undated comment added 00:14, 1 December 2012 (UTC)

I would happily update the citation for the Eleanor Roosevelt support of Stevenson in his 1956 bid for the presidency, but am not sure how. In any event, here is the source.

Roosevelt, Eleanor. On My Own. Pages 162-163.

Pioneercynthia (talk) 23:44, 29 March 2013 (UTC)

Differing account of accidental shooting[edit]

In today's Slate, there is an article about this aspect of Stevenson's life which suggests (and cites an apparently reliable source for) a different account of the incident in which the young Stevenson looks far more reckless:

That's the official story. But in his thorough 1976 biography, Adlai Stevenson of Illinois, John Bartlow Martin tells a different tale. An anonymous eyewitness whom Martin interviewed claims that "Adlai took the gun from the other boy, pointed it at one of the girls, Ruth Merwin, and pulled the trigger." This, honestly, sounds more believable than the other story, and more in line with what we know about how unintentional child shooting deaths generally happen.

Martin's biography does not otherwise appear to be cited here. Is there a reason for this that is not immediately apparent? If there isn't, can and should we put this in the article? It seems relevant—Stevenson was the son of a prominent political family even at that time, and I have little trouble imagining that rules were bent to spare the family with a story that lets him off the hook a little more (although from today's perspective an unintended discharge that results in a death caused by someone untrained attempting the manual of arms with a working weapon in front of a party crowd is still very poor gun safety and negligent). Daniel Case (talk) 05:34, 4 December 2013 (UTC)

The Slate article is based on a single source - John Bartlow Martin - and Martin's explanation of the shooting is based on speculation, and is one of only several versions of the shooting. The version in the article is from Porter McKeever's biography, and in her book The Stevensons: A Biography of an American Family historian Jean Baker notes that Buffie Ives, Stevenson's sister, "angrily rejected [Martin's] interpretation" of the shooting. Furthermore, even Martin in his book notes that "according to most versions" the shooting happened as described in this article, while only "one eyewitness" described the shooting as portrayed by Martin and The Slate article. Martin's biography (Adlai Stevenson of Illinois) is an excellent biography (I own a copy), but Martin's version of the shooting is based on a single eyewitness and is counter to most other eyewitness accounts and versions of the shooting. Of course, that doesn't mean that Martin's version is incorrect, but to replace the current version of the shooting with the one mentioned in The Slate article would be to endorse a version of the shooting that is based on speculation and is contrary to the official version. I agree that the Martin version should be mentioned, but it should not replace the version which is already cited and is considered by most Stevenson biographers to be the "official" version of the shooting. 2602:304:691E:5A29:A849:DBEC:E381:C93F (talk) 20:12, 11 January 2014 (UTC)

Requested move 2013[edit]

The following discussion is an archived discussion of a requested move. Please do not modify it. Subsequent comments should be made in a new section on the talk page. Editors desiring to contest the closing decision should consider a move review. No further edits should be made to this section.

The result of the move request was: not moved. Only the nominator supports moving the article. Armbrust The Homunculus 10:18, 18 December 2013 (UTC)


WP:PRIMARYTOPIC Gamaliel (talk) 23:50, 5 December 2013 (UTC)

My page move was reverted due to a preexisting consensus, but a 2-1 consensus of three editors should not be permanently binding. The guideline WP:PRIMARYTOPIC is clear. When you say Adlai Stevenson without qualifiers, this is the person who comes to mind, not any of the others. This Stevenson is the first and dominant result in searches in Google, Google Image, Google Books, JSTOR, and the Encyclopedia Britannica. Page view statistics on Wikipedia show this as well. In the last month alone, this page has been viewed 21 thousand times, compared to a mere 1-3 thousand for the others. This is a no-brainer. Gamaliel (talk) 23:50, 5 December 2013 (UTC)

Survey[edit]

  • Oppose - Never mind popularity and usage. Problems are the name itself and the significance of all people of the same name. The II/so-called primary guy here worked for the United Nations as the U.S. Ambassador and was an unsuccessful presidential candidate. But I don't see how II is more significant than his grandfather Adlai Stevenson I, who was the Vice President of the United States, which is a significant occupation as an Ambassador, or more than that. Well, obviously, III and IV aren't more popular and significant. Nevertheless, I is more significant than II, but II is more popular. Still, disambiguation is enough. Secondly, I haven't heard of the name until I stumbled upon this page and cleaned up the mess. But familiarity itself is not more important than the meaning of the name. Should the base name "Adlai Stevenson" refer to solely the Ambassador (popularity) or the Vice President (significant)? United Nations holds many nations and tries peace on them, and is located at NYC, and is international. The White House is big landmark in Washington, DC. II's career was worldwide, and I's was domestic. But even major events, like Cuban Missile Crisis, don't make one person more notable than the other. George Ho (talk) 00:39, 6 December 2013 (UTC)
  • This is a malformed move request. You needed to also include the move of Adlai Stevenson to another location; say, Adlai Stevenson (disambiguation). In any case, it's doubtful there's a primary topic here. I strongly oppose the move of AS2 to the base name. Too many people are going to click on the link thinking of the vice president. Both III and IV exist as well. Red Slash 17:03, 6 December 2013 (UTC)
  • 'Oppose per User:George Ho. In terms of long term significance, the vice president is clearly up there in the notability stakes with his ambassador grandson.  — Amakuru (talk) 10:22, 13 December 2013 (UTC)

Discussion[edit]

  • We can't substitute our own personal opinion for what sources and databases tell us. I work in a college library and just looked at all the history textbooks assigned for the classes here. They all mention only one Stevenson. I checked the catalog, we own numerous biographies of this Stevenson, none of the others. Stevenson was an important figure in 20th century American history and being an obscure 19th century vice president, of which there were 23, does not automatically trump that. Whatever metric we use to measure the comparison, this Stevenson is more significant. Gamaliel (talk) 00:50, 6 December 2013 (UTC)
  • There you go, calling the vice president obscure and the II guy significant just because the II guy was mentioned in many textbooks. According to the article, the II guy tried to make a difference, but his role was just trying to make peace. Well, he proposed peace for the North Vietnam, but the President of the U.S. rejected the peace plan and went for the Vietnam War. As for the vice president, probably look at this and that and that (which also mentions II). The grandfather also tried presidency twice, but lost elections. George Ho (talk) 03:26, 6 December 2013 (UTC)
  • There are more sources discussing the vice president of Grover Cleveland: [1][2][3][4][5]. According to sources, under Amendment XII, Stevenson would have been President should anything fatal would have happened to President Cleveland. Also, Vice President of the United States is a bigger role and responsibility than an UN Ambassador. George Ho (talk) 03:37, 6 December 2013 (UTC)
  • "just because the II guy was mentioned in many textbooks"? Seriously? This is exactly what we are supposed to do, to measure importance through academic sources. I'm aware of the role of the vice-president, as I'm sure you are aware that many vice presidents are figures of marginal importance and little power, relatively speaking. Are there sources about this vice president? Sure, but that doesn't prove anything. In fact, one of your own sources says that the VP was "one of the least remembered" vice presidents, which makes my case more than it makes yours. Did that VP run for president? Yes, but he received only a "smattering" of votes in the primary and isn't even mentioned in the Wikipedia article for the election. The UN Ambassador also ran for president, twice in the general election in two historically significant campaigns. I agree that the vice president is generally more notable than a UN Ambassador, and if that were the only evidence we had at hand, you would be correct in your opposition. But every VP isn't automatically more notable than every UN Ambassador, and the sources that you dismiss make it clear that this particular UN Ambassador is more historically important than this particular VP. Gamaliel (talk) 04:10, 6 December 2013 (UTC)
  • I wasn't dismissing the sources regarding the II. I just can't weigh significance by numbers of sources and schools. Reading WP:PRIMARYTOPIC again, a long-term significant topic must have "greater enduring notability and educational value". Words, like numerous, many, sources, all, and textbooks, imply usage and popularity. A "value" would imply something worth educating. Reading the II article again, he died in 1965 of a heart attack, making him unable to prevent more terrible years of Vietnam War. I'm unsure why the schools name after the II guy, but that would still imply popularity, unless the school educates people about the II guy, making him significant. Well, my middle school names after Luther Burbank, but I barely know or remember that guy, and the school barely teaches the person whom the school names after. At least my high school names after Benjamin Franklin, more well-known figure who discovered electricity. George Ho (talk) 04:46, 6 December 2013 (UTC)
  • I've supplied more than enough metrics to satisfy WP:PRIMARYTOPIC. I'm baffled that you'd dismiss textbooks, the Encyclopedia Britannica, etc. as weighing "popularity" over historical significance. What metrics would you personally accept as a measure of historical significance? Gamaliel (talk) 04:50, 6 December 2013 (UTC)
  • The I guy in his VP years fired many Republicans in favor of Democrats, favored silver, and opposed gold. The II guy in UN years accused Soviet Union of trying to install missiles in Cuba. Well, could that make I guy more significant than II guy, or the other way around? Or equally significant? I wonder if what you did would make you more significant than the other person of the same name. To be honest, "historical significant" would to me mean worth something educating not just for popularity, but influence, as well. I'm unsure about how one is more influential than the other. But both guys were somehow influential, and III and IV would have been more influential, but that won't happen. --George Ho (talk) 05:01, 6 December 2013 (UTC)
  • The academic sources I've cited are a measure of significance over popularity. You have yet to clarify why you reject these sources as measures of mere popularity or what sources you would accept as measures of significance. I should also reiterate that many of the sources you've rejected are cited by WP:PRIMARYTOPIC. Gamaliel (talk) 20:08, 6 December 2013 (UTC)
  • How do academic sources indicate greater significance? Academic sources indicate notability and significance, not "greater notability" and greater "educational value". They do teach the subject, but they don't make the near-forgotten vice president less notable than his grandson. And vice president's son conceived the future ambassador. George Ho (talk) 20:44, 6 December 2013 (UTC)
  • So what would be an acceptable indicator of greater significance and notability for you if you do not accept the academic sources presented here and the metrics suggested by WP:PRIMARYTOPIC? Gamaliel (talk) 21:02, 6 December 2013 (UTC)
  • What about subjects' achievements? I think they are good indicators. George Ho (talk) 21:07, 6 December 2013 (UTC)
  • Okay, according to Britannica, he "helped found the United Nations", as governor "His administration was characterized by far-reaching reforms: establishment of a merit system for state police, improved care and treatment of patients in state mental hospitals, greater state aid for schools, and a revitalized civil service", as ambassador he "help[ed] to assuage some of the worst international tensions", he held numerous political posts and published numerous books, and ran twice for president in the general election. Gamaliel (talk) 21:22, 6 December 2013 (UTC)
  • I am reading history of the UN, and I found no Adlai Stevenson. Same for United Nations article. I tried searching for him in the website, but I found references of him as a passing. From Brittanica: The vice president's father was the tobacco farmer. Adlai I studied and practiced law, served in chancery court (aka court of equity) during Civil War, became a member of House of Representatives, favored low tariffs and soft-money policy, worked for a post office under future President Cleveland, became associate justice for the supreme court of the DC, etc. George Ho (talk) 21:45, 6 December 2013 (UTC)
  • For situations like this, we've got to handle it pretty delicately. Back when Bush was president, he would outrank his dad in pageviews by a ratio of something like 3 to 1. Nobody would have ever seriously considered redirecting George Bush to the article on the younger son. (This leads to one of my favorite stories ever--while we have a disamb page for George Bush, Napoleon takes you directly to Napoleon I's article. But until 2009, if you put in fr:Napoléon you got a disambiguation page instead. Everyone has their own perspective on primary topic, it seems!) Red Slash 23:31, 6 December 2013 (UTC)
The above discussion is preserved as an archive of a requested move. Please do not modify it. Subsequent comments should be made in a new section on this talk page or in a move review. No further edits should be made to this section.

How he shot dead Ruth Merwin[edit]

Adlai Stevenson: Citizen of the World by Bill Severn - Page 23, and Almost President: The Men Who Lost the Race but Changed the Nation By Scott Farris. page 164 give rather different accounts to what is confidently stated in the WP article page here. So does the text of ref 10 a NYT article (KILLED IN STEVENSON HOME.; Girl Shot Accidentally by Former Vice President's Grandson) too. It seems the rifle was his brother's .22 hunting rifle and a repeater that Stevenson brought out for an older boy, not Stevenson, to demonstrate drill during a party. The older boy supposedly checked it was unloaded, but there was a faulty spring that left a cartridge. After the boy was through demonstrating drill, Stevenson took the gun and by some accounts pointed the gun at the girl. It doesn't say how it came to go off at that moment(another faulty spring perhaps) but she was shot in the forehead. According to Adlai Stevenson And The Killing Of Ruth Merwin some said Stevenson was aiming the gun at Miss Merwin from a balcony when it went off. Overagainst (talk) 02:42, 8 July 2014 (UTC)