The US Election of 1948

Essay by David HollandCollege, UndergraduateA+, January 1996

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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...