The Election Of 1948 Essay Research Paper

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The Election Of 1948 Essay, Research Paper The Election of 1948 Term Project American Government Mr. Jansiewicz Spring, 1996 David Holland To examine the election of 1948, I believe one must start briefly with the democratic convention of the previous election. President Franklin D. Roosevelt was running for his fourth consecutive term, but there was some changing done to the ticket by the Democratic Party. Then Vice President Henry Wallace was passed over for the nomination, and the position was given to a Senator from Missouri who had served Roosevelt’s “New Deal” policies well and had been very helpful to his administration while chairing the Senate Committee to Investigate the National Defense Program in the early 1940’s. This selection was more than a formality.

Rumors of the President’s health deteriorating were abounding in Washington and “each delegate kept in mind that his selection for Vice President might become President” (Reichard 2). Roosevelt’s Death on April 12, 1945, only weeks after inauguration, elevated Truman to the highest office in the land for as close to a full term as could be imagined without having run for the position. The country was at war. Truman had no choice but to hit the ground running, and he did, at first. “The American People, eager to see that Truman could govern effectively, endorsed his first six weeks with an 87 percent approval rating, with only 3 percent disapproving, figures never achieved by any other president” (Pemberton 38). Only a little over three months later on the 22ND of

July, he and Winston Churchill came to the decision to drop the nuclear bomb on Japan, not once, but twice. As the 1948 election approached, it became evident that the front-runner for the Republican Party would be moderate Thomas Dewey, the Governor of New York. Dewey had opposed Roosevelt in 1944. Things looked good for the Republican Party. The Democrats had lost control of both the House and Senate in the 1946 election, and support for Truman seemed to be at an all time low. Indeed, the incumbent President had a rough time securing his own parties nomination for re-election. He had split the party into three separate sections. After the poor results of the 1946 elections, many liberal members of the party were unhappy with Truman. In December of 1946 a new movement was

formed. This group was called the Progressive Citizens of America, and many of it’s members were liberal democrats who favored third-party action under Henry Wallace’s (the former Vice President under Roosevelt) leadership (McCoy 153). In January of 1947 many other democrats, mostly moderates who were concerned that Truman did not have what it took to get re-elected, formed the Americans for Democratic Action (ADA). This groups main purpose was to find someone to take the place of Truman on the Democratic ticket in 1948. Several people were considered for this position including war hero and future Republican President General Dwight D. Eisenhower. Eisenhower however refused the position, but a time so late as to not allow the ADA time to court any other candidates seriously.

So Truman was not only running against a very popular Republican opponent, but two other democrats running on third party tickets. The fight looked impossible to all but maybe two or three Americans, one of the believers though being Truman. He raised civil rights issues, including establishing a permanent Commission on Civil Rights, providing federal protection against lynching, protecting more adequately the right to vote, and prohibiting discrimination in interstate transportation facilities. He also promised a bill prohibiting discrimination in federal employment and ending segregation in the military. This prompted a Southern revolt among Democrats. South Carolina Governor J. Strom Thurmond led this revolt and ran against Truman as a “Dixiecrat”, or a State’s Right