John B. Anderson

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John Bayard Anderson (born February 15, 1922) is a former United States Congressman and Presidential candidate from Illinois. He was a U.S. Representative from the 16th Congressional District of Illinois and an Independent candidate in the 1980 presidential election. He was previously a member of the Republican Party. He has been a political reform leader, including serving 12 years as chair of the board of FairVote.



Anderson was born in Rockford, Illinois, where he grew up, the son of Mabel Edna (née Ring) and E. Albin Anderson, a Swedish immigrant.[1][2][3] He attended the University of Illinois, but his education was interrupted by World War II, when he enlisted in the Army in 1943. He served as a staff sergeant in the U.S. Field Artillery until the end of the war. After the war, Anderson returned to complete his education, eventually earning a Juris Doctor (J.D.) from the University of Illinois College of Law in 1946. He was admitted to the Illinois bar the same year, and commenced the practice of law in Rockford.

Soon after, Anderson moved east to attend Harvard Law School, obtaining a Master of Laws (LL.M.) in 1949. While at Harvard, he served on the faculty of Northeastern University School of Law in Boston. From 1952 to 1955, he served as the Economic Reporting Officer in the Eastern Affairs Division, as an adviser on the staff of the United States High Commissioner for Germany.

Political career

In 1956, Anderson was elected State's Attorney in Winnebago County, Illinois. Four years later, he ran for election to the United States House of Representatives in the solidly Republican 16th District of Illinois. He won the election and went on to serve in Congress for ten terms, from 1961 to 1981.

Initially, Anderson was among the most conservative members of the Republican caucus. In his second term as a Congressman, Anderson introduced a constitutional amendment that would have "recognize[d] the law and authority of Jesus Christ" over the United States.[4]

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