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Truman Defeats Dewey

by Gary A. Donaldson

  • ISBN: 9780813120751
  • ISBN10: 0813120756

Truman Defeats Dewey

by Gary A. Donaldson

  • List Price: $27.50
  • Binding: Hardcover
  • Publisher: Univ Pr of Kentucky
  • Publish date: 11/01/1998
  • ISBN: 9780813120751
  • ISBN10: 0813120756
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Description: Fifty years ago Harry S. Truman pulled off the greatest upset in U.S. political history. With his party split on both the left and the right, and facing a formidable Republican opponent in New York governor Thomas E. Dewey, the feisty Missourian was thought to have little chance of remaining in the White House.

But politics in the postwar years were changing dramatically. Truman and his advisers successfully read those changes and devised a campaign strategy that helped sweep him back into office. This strategy focused on building a coalition of organized labor, African Americans in large northern cities, and traditional liberals -- and ignoring protests from the conservative South.

As Gary Donaldson points out, however, Dewey did nearly as much to lose the election as Truman did to win it. He entered the campaign so over-confident that he refused to confront Truman on the issues. The Republican Party, certain of a mandate from the public after the midterm elections of 1946, prepared to disassemble the New Deal. Yet within, it was divided worse than the Democrats.

The 1948 presidential campaign was a watershed event in the history of American politics. It encompassed Truman's rousing "give 'em hell Harry" speeches and intriguing behind-the-scenes tales of oldtime political wrangling. It was the first election after Roosevelt's death, and the last before the advent of television. African American voters and organized labor achieved new political prominence, and the South began to lose some of its influence over the Democratic Part. Donaldson's telling reads like a political novel snatched from today's headlines.

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