July - October 1948
"The idea was his own. 'I want to see the people,' he had
said. There would be three major tours: first cross-country to California
again, for fifteen days; then a six-day tour of the Middle West; followed
by a final, hard-hitting ten days in the big population centers of
the Northeast and a return trip home to Missouri."
(McCullough, David. Truman. Simon & Schuster: New York, 1992.
THE TRAIN CAMPAIGN PROVED TO BE AN UNEXPECTED SUCCESS. During the
tour, a new relaxed and confident Harry Truman was presented to the people
a candidate who spoke their language and understood their needs.
The upheaval at the July convention led to Democratic splinter-party presidential
candidates: J. Strom Thurmond ran on the State's Rights ticket, known
more familiarly as the "Dixiecrats," and Henry Wallace ran on
the Progressive Party ticket. Both of these Democratic revolts worked
to Truman's advantage. The Dixiecrat Party break-off reassured black voters
of Truman's commitment to civil rights, which he reinforced with 1948
executive orders desegregating the armed forces and ending bias in federal
employment practices. Wallace's Progressive program was supported by the
Communist Party of America, which made it difficult for anyone to then
label Truman "soft on communism." For his part, Truman relentlessly
accused the "do-nothing" Republican Congress of failing to meet
the needs of the American people, a tirade that served him well with the
common voter. "Give 'em hell, Harry" became a
battle-cry for the hard-fought, uphill battle of the campaign.
The following excerpts from the Harry S. Truman Election Anniversary
Collection show the feelings that the common voter from Missouri
and surrounding states had regarding the tenacity of Truman's campaign