DEMOCRATS AND PROGRESSIVES: The 1948 Presidential Election as a Test of Postwar Liberalism by Allen Yarnell

DEMOCRATS AND PROGRESSIVES: The 1948 Presidential Election as a Test of Postwar Liberalism

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KIRKUS REVIEW

Henry Wallace firmly believed that his 1948 Progressive Party campaign pushed Truman to the left, toward the politics of civil rights and full employment; Truman disagreed, and so does this author. Yet the major documents cited here tend to affirm Wallace's view. Truman advisor Clark Clifford wrote a memo in November 1947 detailing Truman's options for undercutting Wallace; Clifford proposed that the President become ""more liberal,"" win over labor (which he did with a Taft-Hartley veto), capture the black vote, and call for tax cuts and a housing program, while mobilizing anti-Communist liberals. The strategy paper of the newly formed Americans for Democratic Action advocated both a cold war red-baiting campaign and a program of liberal pledges to counter Wallace. Yarnell maintains that the Progressives actually helped Truman take hard-line stands on foreign policy, but provides little evidence. Though Yarnell's partisan vigor gets as much mileage as possible out of these antique controversies, the book will chiefly attract specialists.

Pub Date: June 1st, 1974
Publisher: Univ. of California Press