Henry A. Wallace: Quixotic Crusade 1948

Henry A. Wallace: Quixotic Crusade 1948

Henry A. Wallace: Quixotic Crusade 1948

Henry A. Wallace: Quixotic Crusade 1948

Excerpt

The two-party system has been a feature of the American political scene for all except a few brief periods in our history. Yet, during most of the last 130 years, the traditional two major parties have had in virtually every election at least one minor-party competitor. Despite this persistence, there has been a continuing pattern of failure. Never has an American third party been successful in displacing a major competitor. (Both the Whigs and the Republicans grew and came to power in two of those rare periods when a single major party was dominant.)

The presidential campaign of 1948 was not exceptional in that it witnessed new minor-party challenges to Democratic and Republican supremacy. One of these movements took shape as Henry A. Wallace's Progressive Party. The present study attempts to examine the background, the leaders, the organization, the campaign, and finally the disintegration of this third party. It attempts to present a history of the Wallace Progressive Party -- a political history based to the greatest possible extent upon the firsthand accounts of those who participated in a movement sufficiently distinctive to merit the title of "crusade" -- a quixotic crusade.

Why is it that minor parties have never been successful in this country? It appears that there must be substantial reasons for the repeated pattern of failure that has greeted their . . .

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