Henry Wallace's 1948 Presidential Campaign and the Future of Postwar Liberalism
Publication Year: 2013
Published by: The University of North Carolina Press
Title Page, Copyright Page
In the election of 1948, Henry A. Wallace set out to challenge conventional wisdom. At a time when both major parties supported President Harry Truman’s foreign policy, Wallace claimed that militarists and international bankers had taken over the government and were deliberately leading the nation down the road to war. Though public opinion polls...
1 A Frenchman Named Duclos: The Communists and the Origins of the Progressive Party
The origins of Henry A. Wallace’s Progressive Party occasioned heated debate among political partisans throughout the presidential campaign, and they remain a topic of some controversy. Beginning in 1948, critics of the Progressive Party contended that the Communists, on orders from Moscow, had conceived the idea, organized the party according to a “detailed...
2 I Shall Run as an Independent Candidate for President: Launching Gideon’s Army
After reading a New York Times translation of the Zhdanov manifesto in mid-October 1947, Michael Straight, the young publisher of the New Republic, grew worried. As he would reveal thirty-five years later, Straight was no stranger to the international communist movement. During the 1930s, he had been involved with Soviet espionage as an associate of the ...
3 One Robin Doesn’t Bring No Spring: Early Victories and Mounting Attacks
Before February 17, 1948, few people outside of New York City had even heard of Leo Isacson, the American Labor Party (ALP) nominee for Congress who was running in a special election to be held that day in the Bronx. The next morning, however, news of Isacson’s astonishing two-toone victory grabbed front-page headlines across the country. In trouncing...
4 Wall Street Is in the Saddle: Henry Wallace’s Critique of Containment
As the New Party’s fortunes appeared to be on the upswing, Wallace’s views, particularly on foreign policy, came under closer scrutiny. Since late 1947, the former vice president had been denouncing the Marshall Plan in particular as an imperialist plot hatched by Wall Street bankers. Wallace had initially supported Secretary of State George C. Marshall’s proposals for...
5 Like a Silken Thread Running Through the Whole Thing: Lead-Up to the National Convention and the Crafting of a Third Party Platform
On the morning of July 23, 1948, Henry Wallace arrived by day coach at Philadelphia’s Broad Street Station. Senator Glen Taylor of Idaho, his intended running mate, and a crowd of some fifteen hundred ardent supporters welcomed their standard-bearer with songs, cheers, and waving banners. Acknowledging their adulation, a beaming Wallace declared,...
6 The Whole Place Has Gone Wallace Wacky: The Founding Convention of the Progressive Party
On the evening of Friday, July 24, attention shifted from press conferences, platform writing, and other preliminaries to the opening of the convention itself. With great fanfare, some thirty-two hundred delegates and alternates crowded into steaming Convention Hall to baptize their new “people’s party.” Under blazing television lights—a new attraction in...
7 Rolling Downhill: Post-Convention Fallout and Dropouts
“It was a great convention,” Frederick Schuman wrote to Beanie Baldwin three days after leaving Philadelphia. “You did a magnifi cent job. It’s a good platform. The extent of the smear campaign encourages me. The boys are afraid we are going places. Let’s go!” Henry Wallace shared Schuman’s unbridled optimism. Referring to the third party’s previous...
8 Too Damned Long in the Woods to Be Fooled by Weasels: Youth, Labor, Spies, and the Post-Convention Campaign
Though the quarrels within state and local party organizations raised some concern, the national leaders of the Progressive Party focused primarily on mobilizing two core constituencies—youth and organized labor—as they prepared for the fall campaign. From the outset, the Wallace crusade had demonstrated a special appeal to young people. Not surprisingly, the...
9 Thirty Years Too Soon: Gideon’s Army Invades Dixie
On August 29, 1948, Henry A. Wallace boarded a plane to Norfolk, Virginia, thereby launching a weeklong, seven-state southern tour that would provide his third party crusade with many of its most dramatic moments. Wallace’s decision to challenge segregation in the heart of the Jim Crow South grabbed front-page headlines throughout the country, winning the Progressive Party the most sustained media coverage it would receive during...
10 Truman Defeats Wallace: Denouement
As he made the long walk from the Yankee Stadium home-team dugout to the podium erected at second base, the deafening cheers and shouts from the throng of nearly fifty thousand people struck a stark contrast to the less welcoming salutations Henry Wallace had received throughout most of Dixie. If nowhere else, the Progressive Party’s standard-bearer could...
The final election results proved a devastating blow to the Progressive Party and all those associated with it. The presidential ticket finished an embarrassing fourth behind the Dixiecrats, polling only 1.1 million votes, 2.37 percent of those cast. The narrowness of Wallace’s appeal was equally striking. Thirty-seven percent of his nationwide total came from New York City. In California, his second strongest state, 53 percent of the votes came ...
Publication Year: 2013
OCLC Number: 842264682
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