FDR, Dewey, and the Election of 1944

FDR, Dewey, and the Election of 1944

David M. Jordan
Distribution: Global
Publication date: 12/07/2012
Format: Paperback 24 b&w illus.
ISBN: 978-0-253-00970-8
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2012 AAUP Public and Secondary School Library Selection

Although the presidential election of 1944 placed FDR in the White House for an unprecedented fourth term, historical memory of the election itself has been overshadowed by the war, Roosevelt’s health and his death the following April, Truman's ascendancy, and the decision to drop the atomic bomb. Today most people assume that FDR’s reelection was assured. Yet, as David M. Jordan’s engrossing account reveals, neither the outcome of the campaign nor even the choice of candidates was assured. Just a week before Election Day, pollster George Gallup thought a small shift in votes in a few key states would award the election to Thomas E. Dewey. Though the Democrats urged voters not to "change horses in midstream," the Republicans countered that the war would be won "quicker with Dewey and Bricker." With its insider tales and accounts of party politics, and campaigning for votes in the shadow of war and an uncertain future, FDR, Dewey, and the Election of 1944 makes for a fascinating chapter in American political history.

Author Bio

David M. Jordan is author of Roscoe Conkling of New York: Voice in the Senate; Winfield Scott Hancock: A Soldier's Life (IUP, 1988); "Happiness Is Not My Companion": The Life of General G. K. Warren (IUP, 2001); and Occasional Glory: A History of the Philadelphia Phillies.


“With insider tales of party politics and the campaign for votes in the shadow of war and an uncertain future, this absorbing account of the 1944 election that placed FDR in the White House for an unprecedented fourth term highlights a fascinating chapter in American political history.”

“A fast-moving, blow-by-blow account of the often neglected wartime campaign that pitted Franklin Delano Roosevelt against Republican Thomas E. Dewey, with pollsters divided to the very end. For political junkies there is suspense, backroom dealing, and surprises about both presidential and vice-presidential nominations, as well as where the parties would stand on the future both at home and abroad. And while today we worry about partisan extremism, in 1944 a sitting commander-in-chief and his administration were accused not only of domestic corruption but of military blunders that cost American lives, all while leading the country toward communism or monarchy. ”
 — Roger Lane, author of Murder in America: A History

“All presidential elections are important—and interesting. The 1944 election is no exception. It's a good story and Jordan tells it well.”
 — Gary Donaldson, author of Truman Defeats Dewey

“David Jordan has produced a lucid, highly engrossing account of a fateful but little chronicled episode in American presidential politics. His narrative of the 1944 election campaign—written with savvy and encyclopedic range and featuring a large cast of personalities rendered in deft cameos—deserves a place alongside Theodore White's histories of how high and low character, fierce ambition, and dumb luck play their part in the nation’s choice of its chief executive.”
 — Richard Kluger, Pulitzer Prize-winning social historian

“David M. Jordan tells the story of the 1944 presidential election, and he tells it very well. In a clearly written, well-researched narrative he describes the various contenders for the Republican nomination, which eventually went to Thomas E. Dewey. ”
 — Journal of American History

“This book alone proves Jordan has what it takes to allow the reader to check out of present day and visit a time period like no other in history. I commend him for that because he allowed me to do so. ”
 — thepoliticsofjamiesanderson.blogspot

“[Jordan's] writing style is superb. He has a sense of narrative cadence and a dramatic rhythm reminiscent of an earlier chronicler of presidential campaigns, Theodore White. . . . Jordan exudes a gift for characterization and an eye for a quotation. ”
 — Intl Social Science Review

“Jordan provides a detailed account of the 'infighting and horse-trading' of this hard-fought, wartime campaign. ”
 — Survival

“This is a fun volume on an often overlooked presidential contest. . . . This book is worth it for the political junkie who wants to check the 1944 election off their list. ”
 — Karl Rove

“[T]his book is informative, interesting (especially for the political history geek) and suspenseful in spite of the fact that we all know how the story is going to end. ”
 — bookish.livejournal.com

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Table of Contents

Preface and Acknowledgments
Prologue: An Evening at the Statler
1. A Nation at War
2. Politics in Midwar
3. The Republicans
4. The Democrats
5. Willkie Pushes Hard
6. President and Congress
7. Wendell in Wonderland
8. The Bandwagon Rolling
9. It Looks Like Dewey
10. The Republican Convention
11. Meanwhile, the Democrats
12. The Ailing President
13. Will Roosevelt Run?
14. Who Runs with Roosevelt?
15. The Democrats Arrive in Chicago
16. Democrats in Convention
17. Campaign on the High Seas
18. The Republicans Go to Work
19. Dewey Heads West
20. The Battle Is On
21. The October Campaign Kicks In
22. Death in October
23. Dewey on the Offensive
24. FDR Strikes Back
25. Down to the Wire
26. Bricker's Campaign
27. The Man from Missouri
28. The Last Days
29. Election Day
30. Summing Up
Epilogue: The Fourth Term

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