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U.S. Presidential Election 1948

The 1948 US election was won by the Democratic Party candidate Harry S. Truman. President Truman was re-elected as the 33rd President of the United States. He defeated his nearest rival-the Republican nominee Thomas E. Dewey by a margin of approximately 5% of popular votes. The 1948 US election was contested on the state of the United States economy. Racial segregation also played a part.

The Democratic Party had split into three political entities before the 1948 United States Presidential elections. The two new political presence were the Progressive Party and the State Rights Democratic Party. The State Rights Democratic Party was also known as the “Dixiecrat Party”. The Dixiecrat Party was based in the southern state of Alabama and was noted for its strident support of racial discrimination. The Progressive Party espoused equal rights for African Americans. The Progressive Party members also advocated a more conciliatory approach towards the erstwhile Communist Soviet Union.

The State Rights Democratic Party nominated Strom Thurmond as its presidential aspirant. The Progressive Party appointed Henry Agard Wallace as its presidential nominee. The Democrat Party nominated incumbent President Harry S. Truman as its presidential candidate. Alben William Barkley of Kentucky state was selected as his running mate.

The Republican Party nomination process for the US presidential candidate was far from smooth. There were 8 candidates vying for the honor. The list of candidates include the 1944 US presidential nominee Thomas E. Dewey. The famous World War II military general Douglas MacArthur was also on the running as a Republican nominee. Other candidates include the likes of Harold E Stassen, Earl Warren, Arthur H. Vandenburg and the Speaker of the US House of Representatives Joseph W. Martin. Thomas E. Dewey was also in the running. Dewey was selected for his sterling political reputation and extensive experience.

The political campaign leading to the 1948 US election was marked by the major political parties making their respective policy standpoints. There were speeches on government spending to maintain the welfare state, the prickly issue of racial discrimination and the US foreign outlook on the Soviet Union. Harry Truman made speeches on non-controversial topics. He, however, made vitriolic personal attacks on Thomas Dewey. Dewey did not reciprocate-and did not answer to Truman's pointed public questions to him on specific issues. Dewey made speeches about extra government funding for the expansion of social security, a new legislation enabling an increased level of civil rights, and more public housing funds.

The incumbent President Harry S. Truman won the 1948 US election. He got popular support from three key US states: California, Illinois and Ohio. The results of many states display a narrow margin of victory for Truman. Thomas Dewey enjoyed popular support in Pennsylvania, Michigan and New York. Harry S. Truman garnered 49.6% of the popular votes compared to Thomas E. Dewey's 45.1%. Truman also enjoyed the massive support of 303 electoral votes compared to Dewey's 189 electoral votes. The final tally of the popular vote percentages are:
  • Harry S. Truman-49.6%
  • Thomas E. Dewey-45.1%
  • James Strom Thurmond-2.4%
  • Henry Agard Wallace-2.4%