The Rise and Fall of the People's Century: Henry A. Wallace and American Liberalism, 1941-1948

By Norman D. Markowitz | Go to book overview

The war had given organized labor the strength to gain a certain veto power within the New Deal coalition, but the coalition remained in essence a collection of hostile interest groups united only by the benefits to be gained through attachment to the Roosevelt personality. Although the programs of the Economic Bill of Rights were designed to appeal to the New Deal's working-class constituency, the convention made it appear doubtful that the administration had the command of political institutions, much less the will to carry through that program. According to Eleanor Roosevelt, the President believed that if the Lord had work for him to do, he would be around to do it. If not, the party leaders were entitled to choose his successor. 78

As was usually the case, Roosevelt had taken the line of least resistance, which in 1944 had meant the choice of a candidate acceptable to all and unknown to many in the name of party and national unity. In a little-known essay in the Progressive, Milton Mayer came close to capturing the essence of what had happened at Chicago with the remark that the convention had become a "struggle between Wallace the reformer who failed at politics, and Roosevelt the politician who failed at reform." The subsequent career of Henry Wallace would be a kind of lingering monument to the failures of Franklin Roosevelt.


NOTES
*
HAW, Jackson Day Dinner Speech., Washington, January 22, 1944 in Congressional Record. 78 Congress, 2. Session, p. A435.
1
In reality, "win the war" had been both the slogan and practice of the administration since Pearl Harbor. Memorandum, FDR to the Attorney General, December 12, 1941, FDR Papers, OF 4226, Box 1.
2
Jerome S. Bruner, "Presenting Postwar Problems to the Public", to Grace Tully, March 15, 1943, FDR Papers, OF 4351, Box 2; Hadley Cantril , "Some Results of a Public Opinion Survey . . .", FDR 2Papers, PSF, Public Opinion Polls, Box 58; Press Conference, December 28, 1943, FDR Master Speech File, FDR Papers, 1499. A Gallup poll on April 20,1943, showed that 32 percent of the population considered the Republicans the party of prosperity as against only 27 percent for the Democrats. This generartrend toward the Republicans during the war was evident in the polls in the President's Secretary's File.

-117-

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The Rise and Fall of the People's Century: Henry A. Wallace and American Liberalism, 1941-1948
Table of contents

Table of contents

  • Title Page iii
  • Contents vii
  • Preface ix
  • 1 - Prelude to the People's Century 1
  • Notes 31
  • 2 - Keeper of the Flame 36
  • Notes 74
  • 3 - The Missouri Compromise of 1944 81
  • Notes 117
  • 4 - Reconversion and Reaction 124
  • Notes 155
  • 5 - From Stettin in the Baltic 160
  • Notes 193
  • 6 - A Crisis of the American Spirit 200
  • Notes 226
  • 7 - Manifest Destiny, 1947: the Triumph of Containment 231
  • Notes 260
  • 8 - The Last Battle 266
  • Notes 297
  • 9 - The Twenty-First Century 304
  • Notes 328
  • Appendix: the Mysticism Legend 333
  • Notes 341
  • Select Bibliographical Essay 343
  • Index 361
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