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Alexander Wiley

Alexander Wiley
United States Senator
from Wisconsin
In office
January 3, 1939 – January 3, 1963
Preceded by F. Ryan Duffy
Succeeded by Gaylord Nelson
Personal details
Born (1884-05-26)May 26, 1884
Chippewa Falls, Wisconsin
Died May 26, 1967(1967-05-26) (aged 83)
Germantown, Pennsylvania
Nationality American
Political party Republican
Alma mater University of Michigan
Occupation Attorney, Politician

Alexander Wiley (May 26, 1884 – May 26, 1967) was a Republican who served four terms in the United States Senate for the state of Wisconsin from 1939 to 1963. When he left the Senate, he was its most senior Republican member.


Wiley was born in Chippewa Falls, Wisconsin. He received his undergraduate education at Augsburg College in Minnesota and the University of Michigan in Ann Arbor, Michigan. He received his law degree from the University of Wisconsin–Madison in 1907 and was also admitted to the bar the same year. He served as the Chippewa County district attorney from 1909 to 1915.[1]

Wiley was the Republican candidate for governor of Wisconsin in 1936, but his bid failed. Philip La Follette and the new Wisconsin Progressive Party, which split from the Republicans in 1934, won the election. In 1938, Wiley was elected to the U.S. Senate by defeating incumbent F. Ryan Duffy. In 1944, he was challenged by United States Marine Corps Captain Joseph R. McCarthy in the Republican primary. He defeated McCarthy and won the general election. Wiley, then an isolationist in foreign policy, Governor Walter S. Goodland supported Republican presidential nominee Thomas E. Dewey in the 1944 race over incumbent Franklin D. Roosevelt, and Dewey won Wisconsin's electoral votes but fell far short nationally.[2]

Wiley was re-elected two more times in 1950 and 1956. In 1956, he was challenged by U.S. Representative Glenn Robert Davis in the Republican primary, but once again prevailed. In 1962, Wiley lost his bid for a fifth term to Governor Gaylord Nelson, a liberal Democrat.

Wiley had a distinguished Senate career that included the chairmanship of both the Foreign Relations and Judiciary committees.

Wiley died in Germantown, Pennsylvania on his 83rd birthday. His interment is at Forest Hill Cemetery in Chippewa Falls, Wisconsin. During his lifetime he was a member of the Freemasons, the Knights Templar, the Elks Club, the Kiwanis, the Knights of Pythias, the Moose International, the Sons of Norway, and Sigma Phi Epsilon.


  1. ^ Wisconsin Historical Society-Alexander Wiley
  2. ^ David M. Jordan, FDR, Dewey, and the Election of 1944 (Bloomington, Indiana: Indiana University Press, 2011), p. 279, ISBN 978-0-253-35683-3

External links

United States Senate
Preceded by
F. Ryan Duffy
U.S. Senator (Class 3) from Wisconsin
Served alongside: Robert M. La Follette, Jr., Joseph McCarthy, William Proxmire
Succeeded by
Gaylord A. Nelson
Political offices
Preceded by
Pat McCarran
Chairman of the Senate Judiciary Committee
Succeeded by
Pat McCarran
Preceded by
Tom Connally
Chairman of the Senate Foreign Relations Committee
Succeeded by
Walter F. George
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