Henry Wallace's 1948 Presidential Campaign and the Future of Postwar Liberalism

By Thomas W. Devine

424 pp., 6.125 x 9.25, notes, bibl., index

  • Paperback ISBN: 978-1-4696-2208-8
    Published: February 2015
  • E-book EPUB ISBN: 978-1-4696-0204-2
    Published: May 2013
  • E-book PDF ISBN: 979-8-8908-8046-8
    Published: May 2013

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Awards & distinctions

Harry S. Truman Book Award, Truman Library Institute

In the presidential campaign of 1948, Henry Wallace set out to challenge the conventional wisdom of his time, blaming the United States, instead of the Soviet Union, for the Cold War, denouncing the popular Marshall Plan, and calling for an end to segregation. In addition, he argued that domestic fascism--rather than international communism--posed the primary threat to the nation. He even welcomed Communists into his campaign, admiring their commitment to peace. Focusing on what Wallace himself later considered his campaign's most important aspect, the troubled relationship between non-Communist progressives like himself and members of the American Communist Party, Thomas W. Devine demonstrates that such an alliance was not only untenable but, from the perspective of the American Communists, undesirable.

Rather than romanticizing the political culture of the Popular Front, Devine provides a detailed account of the Communists' self-destructive behavior throughout the campaign and chronicles the frustrating challenges that non-Communist progressives faced in trying to sustain a movement that critiqued American Cold War policies and championed civil rights for African Americans without becoming a sounding board for pro-Soviet propaganda.

About the Author

Thomas W. Devine is professor of history at California State University, Northridge.
For more information about Thomas W. Devine, visit the Author Page.


"This is not a Wallace biography; it's a penetrating and persuasive account of the first postwar U.S. presidential contest and one of the most contentious in our history. Highly recommended, especially for serious students of American politics and presidential elections."--Library Journal

"With careful scrutiny of Wallace's language, assumptions, and arguments, Devine offers a fairly devastating portrait of a flawed man and an even more flawed crusade."--Dissent

"Very engrossing."--Ballot Access News

"A revision of the revisionists."--The New Yorker

"The research is excellent, and Devine tells the history in a straightforward way. A must read for all students of the period. Essential. Upper-division undergraduates and above."--Choice

“This book will be the definitive account of Henry Wallace’s 1948 presidential campaign.”--Register of the Kentucky Historical Society