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The Roots of Modern ConservatismDewey, Taft, and the Battle for the Soul of the Republican Party$
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Michael Bowen

Print publication date: 2011

Print ISBN-13: 9780807834855

Published to North Carolina Scholarship Online: July 2014

DOI: 10.5149/9780807869192_bowen

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Nation of Morons, 1949–1950

Nation of Morons, 1949–1950

(p.75) Four Nation of Morons, 1949–1950
The Roots of Modern Conservatism

Michael Bowen

University of North Carolina Press

This chapter shows how historians often tell the story of the 1948 presidential election from the point of view of the Democrats. Truman's upset victory reaffirming the principles of modern liberalism in the face of a badly divided party makes for a compelling narrative. Dewey and his self-important, ineffective campaign is often a sidelight depicted anecdotally through the infamous “DEWEY DEFEATS TRUMAN” headline in the Chicago Tribune. The election of 1948, however, had lasting repercussions for the Republican Party and its future. The loss took a heavy psychological toll on party leaders, pushing their desperation and anxiety over minority status to unprecedented depths and shattering any semblance of unity between the two dominant factions. The GOP was now in uncharted territory as the first major political party to lose five successive presidential elections since the Federalists, a group that did not last long after that fifth defeat.

Keywords:   1948 presidential election, Democrats, Truman, modern liberalism, Dewey, Republican Party, GOP

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