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The Road to Now

Bob Crawford (The Avett Brothers) & Dr. Ben Sawyer (MTSU History) share conversations with great thinkers from a variety of backgrounds – historians, artists, legal scholars, political figures and more –who help us uncover the many roads that run between past and present. For more information, visit TheRoadToNow.com If you'd like to support our work, join us on Patreon: Patreon.com/TheRoadToNow
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Now displaying: Page 1
Mar 11, 2024

The famous image of a victorious Harry Truman holding up a newspaper headlined “Dewey defeats Truman” is clear evidence that the 1948 Presidential election did not turn out the way many people had expected. That April, Truman’s approval rating had sunk to 37%, causing even many in his party to consider dumping him from the ballot. That summer, a rebellion by southern Democrats led by South Carolina segregationist Strom Thurmond promised to deny Truman electoral votes that his Democratic predecessors could have counted on for a century. Yet, despite all this, Truman didn’t just win, he won big- finishing 4.5 points and 114 electoral votes ahead of Dewey.

 

How did Truman manage to turn it all around in six months? Who was Thomas E. Dewey and why couldn’t he deliver a win with the wind blowing so hard at his back? And what did southern democrats hope they’d get by giving 39 electoral votes to Strom Thurmond even when he had no chance of winning the national election? Let’s find out.

 

In the fourth installment of our Third Party Elections Series, we talk the election of 1948 w/ Jefferson Cowie.

 

Dr. Jefferson Cowie is James G. Stahlman Professor of History at Vanderbilt University. His most recent book, Freedom’s Dominion, A Saga of White Resistance to Federal Power (Basic Books) was awarded the 20203 Pulitzer Prize in History. You can hear Jeff discussing Freedom’s Dominion in RTN #255 and his other episodes on the 1970s (#115) and The New Deal and its Legacy (#24).  

 

This episode was edited by Gary Fletcher.

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