1948

PRESIDENTIAL CAMPAIGN & ELECTIONS

OVERVIEWS & CHRONOLOGIES: 1948

By Bonnie K. Goodman, BA, MLIS

OVERVIEW

Election Year: 1948

Election Day Date: November 2, 1948

Winning Ticket:

  • Harry Truman, Alben Barkley, Democratic 24,179,347 49.55% 303 57.1%

Losing Ticket(s):

  • Thomas Dewey, Earl Warren, Republican 21,991,292 45.07% 189 35.6%
  • J. Strom Thurmond, Fielding Wright, State’s Rights 1,175,930 2.41% 39 7.3%
  • Henry Wallace, Glen Taylor, Progressive 1,157,328 2.37% 0 0.0%
  • Norman Thomas, Tucker Smith, Socialist 139,569 0.29% 0 0.0%
  • Other (+) – – 150,069 0.31% 0 0.0%

Voter Turnout: 53.0%

Central Forums/Campaign Methods for Addressing Voters:

  • Stumping, whistle-stop tours, speeches, radio, ads, newspapers, editorials, television

Election Law/Campaign Finance Changes:

  • 22nd Amendment of the United States Constitution (1947) limits the number of terms a President can run to two four-year terms

Incumbent President and Vice President on Election Day:

Harry S. Truman, Democratic, 1945-1953

Population: 1948: 146,631,000

Nominal GDP (billions of dollars): $269.1 Real GDP (billions of 2005 dollars): $1,854.2 GDP Deflator (index 2005=100%) 14.51 Population (in thousands): 146,631
Nominal GDP per capita (current dollars): $1,835 Real GDP per capita (year 2005 dollars): $12,645

Number of Daily Newspapers: 1,426 (1950)

Average Daily Circulation: 53,829,000 (1950)

Households with:

  • Radio: 40,700,000 (1950)
  • Television:  975,000 (1948)

Method of Choosing Electors: Popular vote

Method of Choosing Nominees:

  • National party convention;
  • Presidential preference primaries

Central Issues (Nomination/Primaries):

  • President Franklin Roosevelt’s death on April 12, 1945 at the verge of the end of World War II, left Vice President Harry Truman as President “‘Good God, Truman will be President!'” Cabell Phillips New York Times, White House press corps
  • Republican Party in the 1946 midterm elections won control of both houses of the United States Congress and a majority of state governorships. (Senate 51–45;  House 246–188).  Republican campaign slogan “Had Enough?” and removing the four C’s: controls, confusion, corruption, and Communism
  • Economy, domestic issues: high taxes, rising cost of living, labor strife, corruption in Washington
  • Foreign affairs: Cold War, “capitalism” vs “communism”; Marshall Plan ( European economic recovery)
  • Truman Doctrine of Containment, Expansion of Communism, Stalin: Eastern Europe and Mao Zedong: China
  • May 1948 Harry Truman had a 36 percent approval rating according to Gallup, soft on Communism
  • Public opinion polls showed Republicans prime for recapturing the White House in 1948

Leading Candidates (Nomination/Primaries):

Democratic Party candidates:

  • Harry S. Truman, President (Missouri)
  • Richard Russell, Jr., Senator (Georgia)
  • Harley M. Kilgore, Senator (West Virginia)
  • Alben W. Barkley, Senator (Kentucky)

Republican Party nomination

  • Thomas E. Dewey, Governor of New York
  • Robert Taft, Senator (Ohio)
  • Harold E. Stassen, Former Governor of Minnesota
  • Arthur H. Vandenberg, President pro tempore of the Senate (Michigan)
  • Earl Warren, Governor of California
  • Douglas MacArthur, General of the Army, (Arkansas)

Main Controversies (Nomination/Primaries):

  • In the public-opinion polls Truman trailed Republican nominee Dewey by double digits
  • “Dump” Truman movement, to drop Truman from the nomination
  • Civil-rights package (February 1948) threatened Democratic disunity from the South led by South Carolina Governor Strom Thurmond
  • Loss of liberals and Southern conservatives from Democratic New Deal coalition

Campaign Innovations (Nomination/Primaries):

  • Republican and Democratic national conventions first ever televised Presidential nominating conventions

Major Personalities (Nomination/Primaries):

  • Strom Thurmond; Henry Wallace; Dwight Eisenhower; Jacob Arvey (boss of the Chicago Democratic organization); Frank Hague, (boss of New Jersey); James Roosevelt (eldest son of former President Franklin D. Roosevelt, and Senator Claude Pepper (Florida);

Turning Points (Nomination/Primaries):

  • Draft General Dwight Eisenhower by the Democrats and Republicans (party affiliation unknown still), Eisenhower declined both parties
  • June 1948, Truman took a “non-political” tour across the country; instead of using prepared texts, he spoke off the cuff appearing more friendlier and attract cheering crowds of supporters
  • Adopted what would the theme of his campaign, Truman attacked the Republican Congress calling them “the worst in my memory” whose interest lied in “the welfare of the better classes” than the ordinary people
  • Truman completed the tour confident he could win the election
  • The Democrats split into three factions; two formed or supported third parties and their candidates;
  • Old New Deal policies advocates, new Progressive Party, Presidential nominee, Henry Wallace.
  • Southerners who disagreed with Truman’s civil rights policies; States Rights Party, Presidential nominee, Strom Thurmond of South Carolina
  • Regular Democrats supported President Truman, Southern delegates opposition to his nomination

Primary Quotations:

  • “The serenity of this position is copper-riveted by the fact that in selecting nominees for President, my party has an unbroken tradition of never having made the same mistake twice in a row.”  Thomas Dewey, 1945
  • “If the Democratic party departs from the ideals of Franklin Roosevelt, I shall desert altogether from that party.” Former Vice President Henry Wallace
  • “life-long professional soldiers [should] abstain from seeking high political office.” Dwight Eisenhower
  • “To err is Truman, I wonder what Truman would do if he were alive.” Truman’s critics
  • “I’m going to, I’m going to, I’m pouring it on and I’m gonna keep pouring it on.” Harry Truman on his June 1948 tour about his attacks on the Republican Congress

Primaries:

  • Democratic 14 36.3% delegates
  • Republican 12 36.0% delegates

Primaries Results:

Democratic Party: Jul 01, 1948

  • Harry S Truman(I): 1,419,875, 64.65%
  • William Alexander “W. A.” Julian, 271,146, 12.35%
  • Unpledged: 161,629, 7.36%
  • Harley M. Kilgore: 157,102, 7.15%
  • W. B. Bixler: 136,401, 6.21%
  • Others: 17,160, 0.78%
  • Lynn Fellows: 11,193, 0.51%

Republican Party: Jul 01, 1948

  • Earl Warren: 771,295, 26.99%
  • Harold Edward Stassen: 627,321, 21.96%
  • Robert A. Taft: 464,741, 16.27%
  • Thomas Edmund Dewey: 330,799, 11.58%
  • Riley A. Bender: 324,029, 11.34%
  • Douglas MacArthur: 87,839, 3.07%
  • Leverett Saltonstall: 72,191, 2.53%
  • Herbert E. Hitchcock: 45,463, 1.59%
  • Edward Martin: 45,072, 1.58%
  • Unpledged: 28,854, 1.01%
  • Arthur H. Vandenberg: 18,924, 0.66%
  • Others: 5,939, 0.21%
  • Dwight David Eisenhower: 5,014, 0.18%

Conventions (Dates & Locations):

  • Democratic National Convention: July 12-14, 1948, Convention Hall; Philadelphia, Sam Rayburn (Texas), 1st ballot, Harry S. Truman (Missouri),  Alben W. Barkley (Kentucky)
  • Republican National Convention: June 21-25, 1948, Convention Hall; Philadelphia, 3rd ballot, Thomas E. Dewey (New York) Earl Warren (California)

Convention Turning Points:

Democratic National Convention:

  • Civil Rights became the main source of contention and debate at the convention
  • The South supported Georgia Senator Richard Russell in protest of Truman’s Civil Right’s policies; others left the convention to form the States Rights Party and nominate Strum Thurmond as their Presidential candidate
  • Rise to national prominence young mayor of Minneapolis, Hubert Humphrey, pushed through strong civil rights plank
  • Thirteen Alabama delegates and the entire Mississippi delegation withdrew from the convention in opposition to the civil rights plank
  • Truman was renominated on the first ballot
  • Georgia Senator Richard B. Russell, received more than 90 percent of the votes from remaining Southern delegates
  • Nominated by acclamation Alben W. Barkley, Senate Majority Leader, Kentucky, who gave a “rip-roaring keynote address” as Truman’s running-mate

Republican Party:

  • Republicans believed that victory over Truman was assured
  • Nominated California Governor Earl Warren for Vice President
  • Dewey gave an acceptance speech that was dignified, attempting to stand above politics

Number of Ballots to Choose Nominees:

Democratic Party nomination:

Presidential 1st Ballot

  • Harry S. Truman         947.5
  • Richard B. Russell      266
  • James A. Roe 15
  • Paul V. McNutt          2
  • Alben W. Barkley       1

Vice Presidential 1st Ballot

  • Alben W. Barkley       1,234

Republican Party Nomination 3rd ballot

  • Thomas E. Dewey       434      515      1094
  • Robert Taft                 224      274      0
  • Harold Stassen            157      149      0
  • Arthur Vandenberg     62        62        0
  • Earl Warren                 59        57        0
  • Dwight Green                         56        0          0
  • Alfred Driscoll            35        0          0
  • Raymond Baldwin      19        19        0
  • Joseph Martin             18        10        0
  • Carroll Reece              15        0          0
  • Douglas MacArthur    11        8          0
  • Everett Dirksen           1          0          0
  • Abstaining                   1          0          0

Third Party Candidates and Nominations:

Progressive Party nomination:

  • Presidential: Henry Wallace
  • Party convention, July 1948, in Philadelphia
  • Vice Presidential, Democratic Senator Glen Taylor (Idaho) (“Singing Cowboy”)
  • Henry A. Wallace formed the Progressive Citizens of America in 1947 and the Progressive party in 1948; promote world peace, blamed the Truman administration for the Cold War;
  • Delegates include pacifists, reformers, disaffected New Dealers, some American Stalinists, communists)
  • Progressive platform: Rejected Marshall Plan; Truman Doctrine; end the Cold War; negotiations with Russia

States’ Rights Democratic Party: (formed prior to the Democratic convention)

  • Presidential: Governor J. Strom Thurmond of South Carolina
  • Vice Presidential: Governor Fielding Wright of Mississippi
  • Convention three days after walking out of the Democratic Convention, Montgomery, Alabama
  • “Dixiecrats” states-rights segregationists
  • Delegates from thirteen states
  • Hoped to be a spoiler and have the election thrown into the House of Representatives, where the Southern states could chose opponent of civil-rights legislation to win the election

Convention Keynote Speaker:

  • Democratic National Convention: Alben W. Barkley, Senate Majority Leader

Nominating Speech Speakers (President):

Party Platform/Issues:

  • Democratic Party: Party leaders wanted a mild civil-rights platform plank in order not to completely alienate the Southern delegates and gain their support for Truman’s renomination. However, the Liberals led by Hubert Humphrey won a stronger Civil Rights plank: “racial and religious minorities must have the right to live, the right to work, the right to vote, the full and equal protection of the laws on a basis of equality with all citizens as guaranteed by the Constitution.”
  • Republican Party: bipartisan foreign policy platform: strengthening of the United Nations, the unity of Western Europe; recognition of Israel, pledged friendship with China; domestic plank: public debt reduction; opposed racial segregation (armed services); legislation to end lynching; abolition of the poll tax; pledged “vigorous enforcement of existing laws against Communists,” equal rights for women constitutional amendment; “eventual statehood for Hawaii, Alaska and Puerto Rico, and self-government for the District of Columbia.”

Convention Quotations:

  • “The time has arrived for the Democratic party to get out of the shadow of states’ rights and walk forthrightly into the bright sunshine of human rights.” Minneapolis Mayor Hubert Humphrey

General Election Controversies/Issues:

  • Civil Rights
  • 80th Republican Congress

Campaign Innovations (General Election): 

  • Use of television, televised national party conventions

Major Personalities (General Election): 

  • Strom Thurmond, Henry Wallace;

Campaign Tactics:

Democratic Party:

  • Active campaign, mudslinging; extensive nationwide whistle-stop tour 21,928 miles by rail; and 275 speeches beginning on Labor Day and ending Election Day; Speeches to large crowds as “whistlestops” and big cities
  • Rear platform campaign: appearances on train platforms; and introduced his family after short speeches: “Howja like to meet my family?” his wife Bess as “the boss” and daughter Margaret as “the boss’s boss.”
  • Populist theme: Truman made the theme of his campaign running against the 80th Congress rather than his opponent Dewey “Do-Nothing Republican Congress”;

Republican Party:

  • Dewey promised a safe dignified campaign for a President to-be; ignored Truman and avoided specifics in his speeches; wanted the public to view him as s “high-minded, public-spirited, conscientious, and efficient administrator,” who could unify the country and create an effective foreign policy. Although it backfired, the public and press found him stuffy
  • October Dewey wanted to engage in a more active campaign, mudslinging, was advised against it;
  • Accused Truman of mudslinging, of there being Communists in the government, and under Truman’s watch, millions of people around the world “had been delivered into Soviet slavery after World War II.” ? Dewy usually refrained from foreign policy attacks, which was a mutually agreed upon “bi-partisanship”

Turning Points (General Election):

  • Dewey led Truman by the double-digit in the polls at Labor Day
  • Predictions of a Dewey victory; Pollsters George Gallup and Archibald Crossley and fifty political writers predicted a Dewey victory by a large margin
  • Elmo Roper poll, September 1948: Thomas E. Dewey leading Harry Truman, 41 to 31 percent “no amount of electioneering” would change the result by the election; St. Louis betting commissioner named Dewy the fifteen-to-one favorite
  • Special session Congress met on July 25; Truman called a special session of Congress as a dare to Republican Party to enact or pass any legislation from their party platform; Truman want eight social-welfare legislations passed; (Ohio Senator Robert A. Taft called an “omnibus left-wing program”) for two weeks the Congress argued and debate, but then adjourned without passing/accomplishing anything, as Truman expected. Dewey wanted Senator Taft to pass any legislation to prove Truman wrong, but Taft thought Truman was bluffing “cheap politico,” and refused
  • Truman used to the Republican lack of initiative as his main campaign slogan named the 80th Congress “the do-nothing Congress.” Commenced his extensive whistle-stop tour
  • Progressive candidate Wallace refused to repudiate the Communist party’s endorsement; he faced hostile rallies and crowds that threw eggs and rotten vegetables
  • Thurmond campaigning was confined to the South, but found it difficult to gain support, the majority still supported the Democratic Party they had for decades and controlled patronage
  • Dewey made foreign policy his main issue; charged that under Truman “our allies in war” were being treated “as enemies in peace.”; charges were irrelevant base on foreign policy realities
  • Soviet aggressions: Czechoslovakia coup February1948; West Berlin blockade, July 1948
  • Truman sent an airlift to Berlin, which supplied 2,400,000 West Berliners with food and provisions, Americans approved of Truman’s decisiveness and actions
  • Final polls: November 1, 1948: Gallup poll Dewey 49.5 percent, Truman 44.5 percent; Crossley poll: 49.9 percent for Dewey and 44.8 percent for Truman. Elmo Roper: (Dewey, 52.2 percent, and Truman, 37.1 percent): “I stand by my prediction. Dewey is in.”

Popular Campaign Slogans:

Republican:

  • “All 48 in 48’ Dewey Warren”
  • “Dewey Gets Things Done”
  • Truman for Ex-President”

Democrat:

  • “With Truman for Civil Rights”
  • “Beat High Prices”
  • “Phooey on Dewey”

Campaign Song:

  • Democratic Party: “I’m Just Wild About Harry”; “Give ’em hell, Harry!”

Influential Campaign Appeals or Ads:

Democratic Party:

  • the 80th Congress “the worst in history,”
  • “gluttons of privilege”
  • “a bunch of old mossbacks”
  • “bloodsuckers with offices in Wall Street,”
  • “the party of . . . Hoover boom and Hoover depression,”
  • “the notorious ‘do-nothing’ Republican Eightieth Congress”… “stuck a pitchfork in the farmer’s back.”
  • “soothing-syrup campaign”

Money Spent (Each Campaign/Party/Overall):

Defining Quotation (Winning Candidate):

  • “The smart boys say we can’t win. They tried to bluff us with a propaganda blitz, but we called their bluff, we told the people the truth. And the people are with us. The tide is rolling. All over the country. I have seen it in the people’s faces. The people are going to win this election.” Harry Truman  final speech campaign in St. Louis
  • “Is the government of the United States going to run in the interest of the people as a whole, or in the interest of a small group of privileged big businessmen?” Harry S. Truman
  • “Senator Barkley and I will win this election, and make these Republicans like it, don’t you forget that. We’ll do that because they’re wrong and we’re right. The reason is that the people know the Democratic party is the people’s party, and the Republican party is the party of special interests and it always has been and always will be.” Harry S. Truman Address in Philadelphia Upon Accepting the Nomination of the Democratic National Convention July 15, 1948
  • “On the twenty-sixth day of July, which out in Missouri they call Turnip Day, I’m going to call that Congress back and I’m going to ask them to pass laws halting rising prices and to meet the housing crisis which they say they’re for in their platform. At the same time I shall ask them to act on other vitally needed measures such as aid to education, which they say they’re for; a national health program, civil rights legislation, which they say they’re for; [and] funds for projects needed . . . to provide public power and cheap electricity. . . . What that worst Eightieth Congress does in its special session will be the test. The American people will decide on the record.” Harry S. Truman Address in Philadelphia Upon Accepting the Nomination of the Democratic National Convention July 15, 1948

Defining Quotation (Losing Candidate):

  • “I will not get down into the gutter with that fellow.” Thomas Dewey referring to Truman
  • “Ours is a magnificent land, Don’t let anybody frighten you or try to stampede you into believing that America is finished. America’s future . . . is still ahead of us.” Thomas Dewey

Campaign Quotations:

  • “Thomas E. Dewey’s election as President is a foregone conclusion,” Leo Egan in the New York Times
  • “Dewey will be in for eight years — until ’57.” Kiplinger News Letter
  • The next President of the United States,” Life caption of Dewey on the Cover
  • “WHAT DEWEY WILL DO.” Changing Times
  • “The Communists are the closest things to the early Christian martyrs” Henry Wallace about the Communist endorsement of his party
  • “DEWEY DEFEATS TRUMAN” Chicago Tribune early election-night returns headline

Further Reading: 

  • Karabell Zachary. The Last Campaign: How Harry Truman won the 1948 Election. Random House, 2000

Lasting Legacy of Campaign:

  • The presidential election of 1948 is considered the greatest election upset in American history. Virtually every prediction (with or without public opinion polls) indicated that incumbent President Harry S. Truman would be defeated by Republican Thomas E. Dewey.
  • Truman won, overcoming a three-way split in his own party.
  • Truman’s surprise victory was the fifth consecutive win for the Democratic Party in a presidential election. Truman’s election confirmed the Democratic Party’s status as the nation’s majority party, a status they would retain until 1968.

CHRONOLOGY

  • April 12, 1945: President Roosevelt dies. President Franklin Roosevelt’s death at the verge of the end of World War II, leaves Vice President Harry Truman as President “‘Good God, Truman will be President!'” Cabell Phillips New York Times, White House press corps
  • May 8, 1945: “Germany surrenders, ending World War II in Europe.”
  • July 17-August 2, 1945: Potsdam Conference (United States, Britain, and the Soviet Union representatives attend)
  • August 6, 1945: “United States drops an atomic bomb on Hiroshima, Japan.”
  • August 9, 1945: “United States drops an atomic bomb on Nagasaki, Japan.”
  • August 14, 1945: Japan surrenders, ending World War II in the Pacific.
  • September 12, 1946: “Secretary of Commerce Henry Wallace criticizes U.S. foreign policy in a speech in New York City.”
  • September 20, 1946: “Truman asks for, and receives, Wallace’s resignation.”
  • November 5, 1946: In the Mid-Term elections, the Republican Party wins control of both houses of the United States Congress and a majority of state governorships. (Senate 51–45;  House 246–188).  Republican campaign slogan “Had Enough?” and removing the four C’s: controls, confusion, corruption, and Communism
  • January 4, 1947: Henry A. Wallace forms the Progressive Citizens of America in New York last week-end by an … The thinking of the PCA is personified by Henry A. Wallace …
  • March 12, 1947: Truman delivers his “Truman Doctrine” speech to Congress  ($400 million appropriation to fight the spread of Communism in Greece and Turkey), policy of containment.
  • May 22, 1947: Truman signs the “Truman Doctrine” appropriation approved by Congress for Greece and Turkey.
  • June 5, 1947: “George Marshall proposes economic aid to Europe in an address at Harvard University. Officially titled the Economic Recovery Program, the package becomes known as the “Marshall Plan.””
  • June 20, 1947: “Truman vetoes the Taft-Hartley Act.”
  • June 23, 1947: Congress overrides Truman’s veto of the Taft-Hartley Act.
  • June 28, 1947: Prohibition Party Convention nominates Claude Alonzo Watson for President.
  • July 26, 1947: Congress passes the National Security Act, which creates the National Security Council, the Central Intelligence Agency, the Department of Defense, and the National Security Resources Board.
  • July 29, 1947: Vegetarian Party Convention convenes in the Hotel Commodore, New York City during the sessions of the American Naturopathic Association. Convention nominates John A. Maxwell for President, and associate magazine editor Symon Gould for Vice President.
  • January 17, 1948: the Progressive Citizens of America endorses Henry A. Wallace for President. Wallace tells “600 cheering delegates to the annual PCA convention today that the way to end inflation was “to take the profit out of it.””
  • February 1948: Soviet Czechoslovakia coup
  • February 1948: Civil-rights package threatens Democratic disunity from the South led by South Carolina Governor Strom Thurmond.
  • Draft General Dwight Eisenhower by the Democrats and Republicans (party affiliation unknown still), Eisenhower declines both parties
  • April 2, 1948: “Congress passes the European Recovery Program (the “Marshall Plan”)”
  • May 14, 1948: “United States recognizes the state of Israel.”
  • May 1948: Harry Truman has a 36 percent approval rating according to Gallup, appears soft on Communism.
  • 1948: Public opinion polls show Republicans prime for recapturing the White House. Truman trails the Republican nominee Dewey by double digits
  • 1948: There is a “Dump” Truman movement working to drop Truman from the nomination. There is a loss of liberals and Southern conservatives from Democratic New Deal coalition.
  • June 1948: Truman takes a “non-political” tour across the country; instead of using prepared texts, he speaks off the cuff appearing friendlier and attracts cheering crowds of supporters. He adopts what would be the theme of his campaign, Truman attacked the Republican Congress calling them “the worst in my memory” whose interest lied in “the welfare of the better classes” than the ordinary people. Truman completed the tour confident he could win the election
  • June 19, 1948: The New York Times reports that domestic issues are the main campaign issues.
  • June 21-25, 1948: Republican National Convention convenes at Convention Hall in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania nominates on the 3rd ballot, Thomas E. Dewey (New York) for President and Earl Warren (California) for Vice President.  Republicans believe that victory over Truman was assured; The convention nominates California Governor Earl Warren for Vice President;
  • June 28, 1944: Thomas E. Dewey gives an address accepting the Presidential Nomination at the Republican National Convention in Chicago. The speech is dignified, and attempts to stand above politics.
  • July 3, 1948: Socialist Workers Party National Convention convenes in the Irving Plaza Hall, New York City, and nominates Farrell Dobbs (New York) for President and Grace Carlson (Minnesota) for Vice-President.
  • July 12-14, 1948: Democratic National Convention convenes at Convention Hall in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania. Sam Rayburn (Texas) serves as chairmen. Convention nominates on 1st ballot, Harry S. Truman (Missouri) for President and Alben W. Barkley (Kentucky) for Vice President.  Civil Rights becomes the main source of contention and debate at the convention. Hubert Humphrey, young mayor of Minneapolis rises to national prominence by pushing through a strong civil rights plank in the platform. The South supports Georgia Senator Richard B. Russell in protest of Truman’s Civil Right’s policies, he receives more than 90 percent of the votes from remaining Southern delegates. Truman is renominated on the first ballot. Alben W. Barkley, the Senate Majority Leader (Kentucky) gives a “rip-roaring keynote address” is chosen as Truman’s running-mate, and is nominated by acclamation.
  • July 11, 1948: Thirteen Alabama delegates and the entire Mississippi delegation withdrew from the convention in opposition to the civil rights plank; left the convention to form the States Rights Party.
  • July 17, 1948: States’ Rights Democratic Party: (formed prior to the Democratic convention); nominates Governor J. Strom Thurmond of South Carolina for President, and Governor Fielding Wright of Mississippi for Vice President.  Convention three days after walking out of the Democratic Convention, Montgomery, Alabama; “Dixiecrats” states-rights segregationists; Delegates from thirteen states. The party hopes to be a spoiler and have the election thrown into the House of Representatives, where the Southern states could chose an opponent of civil-rights legislation to win the election
  • July 1948: Progressive Party convention convenes in Philadelphia. The delegates consist of Old New Deal policies advocates, and pacifists, reformers, disaffected New Dealers, some American Stalinists, and communists. Founder and former Vice President and Secretary of Commerce Henry Wallace is nominated for President, and Democratic Senator Glen Taylor (Idaho) (“Singing Cowboy”) is nominated for Vice President. The party promotes world peace and blames the Truman administration for the Cold War. The Progressive platform rejects Marshall Plan, the Truman Doctrine, and supports an end to the Cold War through  negotiations with Russia.
  • June 24, 1948: West Berlin blockade: “The Soviet Union blockades the overland access routes to West Berlin.”
  • June 26, 1948: Truman sends an airlift to Berlin, which supplied 2,400,000 West Berliners with food and provisions, Americans approve of Truman’s decisiveness and actions.
  • July 25, 1948: Special session of the 80th Congress meets. Truman calls a special session of Congress as a dare to Republican Party to enact or pass any legislation from their party platform; Truman wants eight social-welfare legislations passed including housing, civil rights, and price controls. Ohio Senator Robert A. Taft calls it an “omnibus left-wing program”. For two weeks the Congress argues and debate, but then adjournsd without passing/accomplishing anything, as Truman had expected. Dewey wants Senator Taft to pass any legislation to prove Truman wrong, but Taft thought Truman was bluffing “cheap politico,” and refuses. Truman uses Republican lack of initiative as his main campaign slogan named the 80th Congress “the do-nothing Congress.” Commences his extensive whistle-stop tour
  • July 30, 1948:? “President Truman and Governor Dewey meet at the International Airport at Idlewild for the opening of the International Air Show, marks the first time in modern American history, according to available records, that opposing Presidential candidates of the two major parties appear together at a public function and speak from the same rostrum.”
  • August 11, 1948: “Governor J. Strom Thurmond of South Carolina, formally accepts the States Rights party nomination for the Presidency in Houston, Texas and links Harry S. Truman, Thomas E. Dewey and Henry A. Wallace together charging they would lead America to “the rocks of totalitarianism.””
  • September 4-November 1948: Truman actively campaigns with an extensive nationwide whistle-stop tour 21,928 miles by rail. He gives 275 speeches beginning on Labor Day and ending Election Day. Truman addresses large crowds at “whistlestops” and big cities Rear platform campaign. Truman appearances on train platforms, and introduces his family after short speeches: “Howja like to meet my family?” his wife Bess as “the boss” and daughter Margaret as “the boss’s boss.”
  • September 4, 1948: President Truman and Governor Dewey contend for the allegiance of American Federation of Labor members in Labor Day messages written for The American Federationist, the AFL’s monthly magazine.
  • September 5, 1948: General election commences.
  • Labor Day 1948: Dewey leads Truman in the polls by the double-digits. Pollsters George Gallup and Archibald Crossley and fifty political writers predict a Dewey victory by a large margin.
  • September 1948: Elmo Roper poll has Thomas E. Dewey leading Harry Truman, 41 to 31 percent “no amount of electioneering” would change the result by the election; St. Louis betting commissioner named Dewy the fifteen-to-one favorite
  • September 7, 1948: Three main candidates reveal their fall campaign schedules. “President Truman, Governor Dewey and Henry A. Wallace all will wind up their campaigns for the Presidency in the New York metropolitan area, tentative schedules of the three rivals show.”
  • September 20, 1948: “The 1948 Presidential campaign enters its intensive phase this week, with both major party candidates, President Truman, Democrat, and Governor Dewey, Republican, on transcontinental speaking trips to the Pacific Coast.” Truman attempts to take the offensive in the campaign, Dewey tries to maintain his lead and win more of the Democratic vote. The farm vote appears undecided.
  • Sept. 20, 1948: “President Truman warned applauding Colorado audiences today that the Republican party sought national power on the “most hypocritical” platform ever written and that, if it won the election, it would try again to make the West “an economic colony of Wall Street.” GOP ‘HYPOCRISY’ HIT; President Asserts Rival Party’s Platform Sets Record for Deceit”
  • Dewey promises a safe dignified campaign for a President to-be; ignores Truman and avoids specifics in his speeches; wants the public to view him as the candidate who could unify the country and create an effective foreign policy. Although it backfires, the public and press find him stuffy.
  • October 1948: Dewey wants to engage in a more active campaign, mudslinging, but is advised against it. Dewy accuses Truman of mudslinging, of there being Communists in the government, and of Truman allowing Communists regimes to rise in Europe and Asia.
  • 1948: Progressive candidate Wallace refuses to repudiate the Communist party’s endorsement; he faces hostile rallies and crowds that throw eggs and rotten vegetables
  • 1948: Thurmond campaigns primarily in the South, finds it difficult to gain support, the majority still supported the Democratic Party they had for decades, because the party controls patronage
  • October 20, 1948: “There is virtually unanimous agreement in Florida political circles that at this time President Truman and Governor Dewey are running neck-and-neck in the race to capture the state’s eight electoral votes.”
  • October 23, 1948: While pleading for his own election on the record of the New Deal and his own administration, President Truman tonight hammers Gov. Thomas E. Dewey, his Republican opponent, as a “doctor’ with a “magic cure”, and man of “gall” who he said was given to “double-talk” and “misrepresentation.”
  • October 27, 1948: Gov. Thomas E. Dewey speaking in Cleveland and accuses President Truman of helping communism and the Soviet Union at home and abroad. “Dewey claims an alternate of appeasing and firm stand aided spread of Communist sway around half the world.”
  • October 1948: Dewey made foreign policy his main issue, he charges that under Truman “our allies in war” were being treated “as enemies in peace.” These charges are irrelevant base on foreign policy realities.
  • November 1, 1948: Final polls, Gallup poll: Dewey 49.5 percent, Truman 44.5 percent; Crossley poll: 49.9 percent for Dewey and 44.8 percent for Truman. Elmo Roper: (Dewey, 52.2 percent, and Truman, 37.1 percent): “I stand by my prediction. Dewey is in.”
  • November 1, 1948: “New York Times predicts VOTE IN THE SOUTH MAY COST TRUMAN SEVERAL STATES; Civil-Rights Revolt May Carry 4 Southern States as Dewey Gets Chance in 3 Others. The revolt of the States’ Rights Democrats against President Harry S. Truman on the civil-rights issue not only will cost him the thirty-eight electoral votes of Alabama, Louisiana, Mississippi and South Carolina, but probably will enable Gov. Thomas E. Dewey to win the eleven electoral votes of Virginia and give the Republican Presidential candidate a fair, though possibly not an even, chance to carry Florida with eight electoral votes and Tennessee with twelve electoral votes.”
  • November 2, 1948: Election Day; Harry S. Truman is elected President and Alben W. Barkley is elected Vice President. The Democratic Party regains control of both the Senate and the House of Representatives. The Chicago Tribune prematurely announces Dewey wins over Truman on their front page.
  • December 13, 1948: Presidential Electors cast the electoral vote in their state capitols.
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