Major Department

History

College

College of Liberal Arts & Sciences

Degree

BA (Bachelor of Arts)

Session and Year of Graduation

Fall 2017

Honors Major Advisor

Colin Gordon

Thesis Mentor

Colin Gordon

Abstract

This thesis examines how President Harry Truman pulled off one of the greatest comebacks in American electoral history with his victory in the 1948 Presidential Election. The goal is to determine what aspects of Truman’s strategy from November 1947 to November 1948 led to the president securing support among his own divided Party and winning the national election. Those objectives included fending off Henry Wallace’s Progressive Party, Strom Thurmond’s Dixiecrats, and the Republican challenger Thomas Dewey. Documents from Truman’s campaign team, articles covering his campaign, oral histories, and previous research are viewed to understand the themes of his strategy and how Truman executed them. Researching these documents reveals that Truman sought out specific interest groups, especially agricultural labor, organized labor, and progressives who wanted greater civil rights. On top of this, Truman’s campaign team advised the president to direct the negative economic issues aggressively towards the Republican led 80th Congress and use his position as president to maintain support for him with the Cold War budding. The research will reveal not only the key aspects that led to Truman’s surprising victory in 1948 but will also reveal how subsequent American political campaign strategies have been influenced from Harry Truman’s success.

Keywords

Harry Truman, Elections, mid-20th Century, Politics, Presidents, Thomas Dewey

Total Pages

36 pages

Copyright

Copyright © 2017 Joshua Stringer

COinS
 

URL

https://ir.uiowa.edu/honors_theses/238