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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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Prelude to a Purge, 1952–1953

Prelude to a Purge, 1952–1953

(p.153) Seven Prelude to a Purge, 1952–1953
The Roots of Modern Conservatism

Michael Bowen

University of North Carolina Press

This chapter discusses the fundamental transformation brought about by the presidential election of 1952 on the nearly decade-long power struggle between Taft and Dewey. Eisenhower's nomination left Dewey optimistic. Eisenhower was a legitimate political phenomenon who connected with voters of all races, classes, and regions. His involvement had led to a tripling of the turnout in the New Hampshire primary, and he polled strongly among Democrats and independents everywhere, something no Republican had done since the 1920s. Political columnists saw Eisenhower as a 1950s incarnation of Franklin Roosevelt, right down to his charming smile and disarming demeanor, and they repeatedly claimed that he could reshape the Republican Party just as Franklin D. Roosevelt had transformed the Democratic Party twenty years earlier. At the core of their analysis was Dewey's set of “forward-looking principles,” the moderate, inclusive style of Republicanism central to his 1944 and 1948 presidential bids.

Keywords:   fundamental transformation, power struggle, Taft, Dewey, Eisenhower, political phenomenon

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