Cover

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Frontmatter

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Contents

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Acknowledgments

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p. vii

Writing a book accrues indebtedness. This project is no exception. I would like to thank the Harry S. Truman Library Institute for a research travel grant that was instrumental in the completion of this study. I am grateful to the Graduate Committee of the J. William and Mary ...

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Introduction

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pp. ix-x

While a number of books have been written on the 1948 campaign for the presidency, none has yet fully accounted for the rhetorical importance of Harry S. Truman’s whistle-stop train tour during that remarkable campaign. An analysis focusing on the president’s major campaign speeches and whistle-stop remarks resurrects an older ...

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Text of Harry S. Truman’s Rear-Platform Remarks in Decatur, Illinois,October 12, 1948

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pp. 1-4

I appreciate most highly this cordial welcome. You know, when I first started out on these tours, I made an effort to estimate the crowds, and I found that I just couldn’t estimate them at all—and found I had to measure them by the acre. I did some figuring, and I figured out that in an acre, there are 4,850 square yards and that there ought to be ...

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Chapter 1 Setting the Political and Rhetorical Strategy, January–May 1948

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pp. 5-19

In 1945, American servicemen were returning home and looking to make a new life for themselves in the hoped-for prosperity brought by peace. The peacetime conversion, however, was still nascent and struggling; many crucial moves had yet to be accomplished. As the 1946 midterm elections approached, a host of intractable problems ...

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Chapter 2 The Western Tour, June 1948

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pp. 20-38

Unlike today, when presidential campaigns commence more than a year before the election, Truman’s official campaign was slated to begin on Labor Day. The president was restless, however, and determined that he needed a head start. In June of 1948, a New York Times editorial commented: ...

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Chapter 3 The Democratic National Convention and the Special Session of Congress,July 1948

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pp. 39-49

On Monday, July 12, the Democrats took their turn at holding a nominating convention in Philadelphia. It was a somber, almost gruesome midsummer event. Despite the challenges on the left from Wallace’s Progressive Party and the rumblings of disaffection over the president’s civil rights program in the South, Truman’s nomination was now ...

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Chapter 4 The Fall Campaign Begins, September 1948

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pp. 50-88

Truman designed a plan modeled after the June western train trip that he felt would help him win the campaign and preserve his principles. He would hold rallies in the large cities and make whistle-stops on the way to those larger destinations. It was an effort to build a coalition that could help diffuse the twin threats posed by the Dixiecrats and the ...

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Chapter 5 The Fall Campaign Continues, October–November 1948

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pp. 89-106

After a brief hiatus in early October, Truman set out again on a three-day train tour October 6 through 8. He visited Delaware, Pennsylvania, New Jersey, and New York. This trip included major speeches in Philadelphia on October 6 and Buffalo on October 8. Three days later, the president would attack the Midwest with an October 11 through ...

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Chapter 6 Why Truman Won: The Rhetorical Roots of a Homespun Victory

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pp. 107-123

Harry S. Truman achieved “the greatest upset in American political history.”1 The “wiseacres” had been proven dead wrong. Pollsters and pundits sputtered back to their respective offices to try to explain the inexplicable. While opinions differed over the reasons for Truman’s upset victory, Truman’s own hand was given a prominent place in the ...

Notes

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pp. 125-140

Selected Bibliography

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pp. 141-143

Index

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pp. 145-147