1948 Progressive National Convention

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The 1948 Progressive National Convention, held in Philadelphia from July 23–25, 1948, ratified the candidacies of former Vice President Henry A. Wallace from Iowa for president and U.S. Senator Glen H. Taylor of Idaho for vice president.[1]


Henry Wallace resented the fact that he was replaced by Harry S. Truman on the 1944 Democratic ticket and the fact that Truman fired him as Secretary of Commerce in 1946. Truman was unpopular in 1947, and some polls from the end of that year showed that Wallace had the support of more than 20 percent of the voters. So Wallace started a left-wing independent candidacy under the name of the Progressive Party, which had existed in two previous incarnations during the 1912 election and the 1924 election. Wallace wanted a Senator to serve as his running mate, as he thought a Senator would add legitimacy and popular appeal to his fledgling party.[2] After Florida Senator Claude Pepper declined Wallace's entreaties, Wallace approached Idaho Senator Glen H. Taylor about being his running mate.[2] Taylor, a first term Democratic Senator, shared Wallace's concerns about Truman, but was worried about his own career.[3] A former country music singer, Taylor did not have a lucrative career to fall back on, and took his time considering Wallace's offer.[3] Finally, Taylor accepted Wallace's offer, motivated by fears about rising Cold War tensions.[3] In February 1948, Wallace announced that Senator Taylor had agreed to become his running mate.

The convention

By the time of the Convention, the Wallace campaign had already peaked.[4] Wallace's criticism of the Marshall Plan and "red baiting", had left Wallace and his supporters open to the charge of being "fellow travellers" if not being outright communists, a charge that was, for some at least, quite true.

The convention began on July 23, 1948, at the Municipal Auditorium. Among the delegates were such past and future luminaries as H.L. Menken, Norman Mailer, Norman Thomas, Pete Seeger and George McGovern. There were also numerous FBI agents. The first item on the agenda was to formally name the party the Progressives.[5] Wallace and Taylor were nominated by acclamation.

Wallace and Taylor accepted their nominations at the Shibe Park baseball stadium.

The platform

The platform was very much anti-Cold War on foreign policy, and called for the end of the Marshall Plan and nuclear weapons, as well as friendship with the Soviets and support for Israel.[5] On domestic policy, it was very much for civil rights, worker's rights and women's rights.


  1. ^ "Political Conventions". Philadelphia Encyclopedia. Retrieved 22 November 2016.
  2. ^ a b Peterson, F. Ross (5 February 2015). Prophet Without Honor: Glen H. Taylor and the Fight for American Liberalism. University Press of Kentucky. pp. 99–101. ISBN 9780813164021. Retrieved 7 October 2015.
  3. ^ a b c Flint, Peter B. (5 May 1984). "GLEN H. TAYLOR OF IDAHO DIES; WALLACE RUNNING MATE IN '48". New York Times. Retrieved 7 October 2015.
  4. ^ Richard J. Walton, Henry Wallace, Harry Truman and the Cold War, New York: Viking, 1976.
  5. ^ a b https://www.nytimes.com/1948/07/24/archives/wallace-or-war-keynotes-progressive-party-conclave-groups-name-is-a.html
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