The 1948 US presidential election held on November 2 was a significant moment in the history of the United States. All forecasts showed that President Harry Truman would lose to Republican candidate Thomas Dewey. However, the election results of 1948 was the victory of Truman, the candidate of the Democrats, overcoming the split that occurred at the party. The victory confirmed the status of the Democratic Party as the main political force of the United States at that time.
In April 1945, President Franklin Roosevelt died. Therefore, there it was necessary to hold elections. There were four election candidates of 1948: Harry Truman, Thomas Dewey, Henry Wallace, and Strom Thurmond.
Harry Truman, a Franklin D. Roosevelt’s (FDR’s) vice president, was the Democratic nominee, running for re-election (he was not elected in 1944). He replaced Wallace on the ticket in 1944 for FDR. He campaigned for increased minimum wage and civil rights.
The death of Roosevelt and the end of World War II resulted in the Democratic Party in a loss of its influence. It was felt that Americans were tired of military regulation and continued restrictions. Truman advocated the New Deal policies, which was the socio-economic series of programs pursued by the Franklin Delano Roosevelt administration with the aim of overcoming the large-scale economic crisis (Great Depression) that swept the United States.
The beginning of the Cold War was also associated with the name of Truman. He advocated fighting for the dominant role of the US and was against the USSR and the Сommunist block. Therefore, he was unpopular at the beginning of 1948 because of his radical policies.
Thomas Dewey, the governor of New York, was the Republican challenger. Dewey campaigned on limiting the power of labor and reducing the New Deal policies. He was a candidate for a popular party at that time. Taking advantage of the Democrats’ loss of popularity, Republicans won a majority in the House and the Senate in the elections of 1946.
Henry Wallace was FDR’s former vice president before Truman and campaigned on the Progressive Party. He campaigned against Truman’s foreign policies of “containment,” particularly the Truman Doctrine and the Marshall Plan. He had a strong position on racial equality, talking about integration and true civil rights and equality.
Strom Thurmond, the fourth 1948 election candidate, a Senator from Carolina, campaigned on the States’ Rights Democratic Party or also known as the Dixiecrats. He was anti-civil rights advocate and pro-Jim Crow laws. The Dixiecrats were segregationists fighting for their way of life.
The 41st American presidential election took place on November 2, 1948. Wallace did not win any electoral votes, Thurmond won 39 electoral votes mostly in the South, Dewey won 189 votes, and Truman won 303 ones. The result of the 1948 presidential election was that the Democratic Party’s candidate won the 1948 presidential election because Harry Truman won more votes than others. He became the 33rd president of the United States. The 1948 presidential election is most remembered for the unexpected outcome because of Truman’s unpopularity.
Why did Truman win? Unions, farmers, and African-Americans overwhelmingly voted for Truman. Many individuals did not want to “waste” a vote on a third-party candidate. Moreover, Democrats won both houses of Congress in the election. Truman had the opportunity with the Democrats in control of Congress.