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U.S. presidential election, 1948

Presidential CandidateElectoral Vote Popular Vote Pct Party Running Mate
(Electoral Votes)
Harry S Truman (W) 303 24,105,695 Democrat Alben W. Barkley (303)
Thomas E. Dewey 189 21,969,170 Republican Earl Warren (189)
J. Strom Thurmond 39 1,169,021 Dixiecrat Fielding L. Wright (39)
Henry A. Wallace 0 1,157,172 Progressive Glen Taylor[?] (0)
Norman Thomas 0 139,578 Socialist[?]
Other elections: 1936, 1940, 1944, 1948, 1952, 1956, 1960
Source: U.S. Office of the Federal Register (http://www.archives.gov/federal_register/electoral_college/scores#1948)

(Larger version)


The Progressive Party reinvented itself in 1948 with the nomination of Henry Wallace, a former secretary of agriculture and vice president under Franklin Roosevelt. Briefly Harry Truman's secretary of commerce, he was fired for opposing Truman's firm stand against the Soviet Union. Wallace's 1948 platform opposed the Cold War, the Marshall Plan and big business. He also campaigned to end discrimination against blacks and women, backed a minimum wage and called for the elimination of the House Committee on Un-American Activities. His failure to repudiate the U.S. Communist Party, which had endorsed him, undermined his popularity and he wound up with just over 2.4 percent of the popular vote.

The same percentage was attained by the States Rights or Dixiecrat Party, led by South Carolina governor Strom Thurmond. Like the Progressives, the Dixiecrats broke away from the Democrats in 1948. Their opposition, however, stemmed not from Truman's Cold War policies, but his civil rights platform. Although defined in terms of "states rights," the party's main goal was continuing racial segregation and the "Jim Crow" laws which sustained it.

Thurmond's Dixiecrat party took away much of the Democratic Party's traditional base in the South, while Wallace wooed away voters from the left wing of the Democratic Party. Truman's win despite this significant split in the Democratic base was a surprise to many observers at the time. The Chicago Tribune had gone so far as to print "DEWEY DEFEATS TRUMAN" on election night as its headline for the following day. There is a famous photograph of Truman grinning and holding up a copy of the newspaper.

See also: President of the United States, U.S. presidential election, 1948

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