Harry Truman's announcement threw the Democratic Party into a kind of confusion it has not known for 20 years. Not since Franklin Roosevelt was nominated at Chicago in 1932 have Democrats faced an open convention.

Receptive? While Truman said nothing publicly about a successor, many believed his choice was Illinois' Governor Adlai Stevenson. There was no doubt that most Fair Deal officeholders looked on him as the heir presumptive. Stevenson still insisted that he is running only for re-election in Illinois, but he immediately began talking like a man establishing his availability for a draft. In a television interview, he...

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