Monday, July 16, 2007

July 15, 1948:

Truman Nominated

A good many Democrats weren't especially excited about nominating Harry Truman for a term of his own as president in 1948. In fact, some elements of the party were so discontent with the president that they bolted -- either to the Progressive Party, which nominated former Vice President Henry Wallace for president and the eccentric Sen. Glen H. Taylor as his running mate; or to Gov. Strom Thurmond of South Carolina and Mississippi Gov. Fielding L. Wright of the States' Rights Democratic Party, the Dixiecrats.

Some party bosses also wanted to dump Truman and draft Gen. Dwight Eisenhower for the top spot, a sure winner. But when Eisenhower refused to become a candidate for either party that year, the Democrats turned to the devil they knew, whom they also believed would take them to defeat that November.

President Truman wasn't in a defeatist mood when he gave his acceptance speech, a taste of the famed campaign he ran in '48 that did indeed win him a term of his own, contrary to prediction.

"I can't tell you how very much I appreciate the honor which you have just conferred upon me," the president said. "I shall continue to try to deserve it.

"I accept the nomination.

"And I want to thank this convention for its unanimous nomination of my good friend and colleague, Sen. Barkley of Kentucky. He is a great man, and a great public servant. Sen. Barkley and I will win this election and make these Republicans like it-- don't you forget that!

"We will do that because they are wrong and we are right, and I will prove it to you in just a few minutes.

"This convention met to express the will and reaffirm the beliefs of the Democratic Party. There have been differences of opinion, and that is the democratic way. Those differences have been settled by a majority vote, as they should be.

"Now it is time for us to get together and beat the common enemy. And that is up to you.

"We have been working together for victory in a great cause. Victory has become a habit in our party. It has been elected four times in succession, and I am convinced it will be elected a fifth time in November.

"The reason is that the people know that the Democratic Party is the people's party, and the Republican party is the party of special interest, and it always has been and always will be."

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