1944 United States presidential election

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United States presidential election, 1944

← 1940 November 7, 1944 1948 →

531 electoral votes of the Electoral College
266 electoral votes needed to win
Turnout55.9%[1] Decrease 6.6 pp
  1944 portrait of FDR (1)(small).jpg ThomasDewey.jpg
Nominee Franklin Delano Roosevelt Thomas E. Dewey
Party Democratic Republican
Home state New York New York
Running mate Harry S. Truman John W. Bricker
Electoral vote 432 99
States carried 36 12
Popular vote 25,612,916 22,017,929
Percentage 53.4% 45.9%

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About this image
Presidential election results map. Blue denotes those won by Roosevelt/Truman, red denotes states won by Dewey/Bricker. Numbers indicate the number of electoral votes allotted to each state.

President before election

Franklin D. Roosevelt
Democratic

Elected President

Franklin D. Roosevelt
Democratic

The United States presidential election of 1944 was held on Tuesday, November 7, 1944. Incumbent President Franklin D. Roosevelt (FDR) won over Republican Thomas E. Dewey in the general election. In the Electoral College, Roosevelt won 432 votes while Dewey won 99.[2] Roosevelt, a Democrat, won an unprecedented fourth term as President.[3]

The election was held during the latter part of World War II. By this time the war was going well for the United States and its Allies. Roosevelt had already served longer than any other president, but remained popular. Unlike in 1940, there was little doubt that he would run for another term as the Democratic candidate. Dewey, the Governor of New York, campaigned against the New Deal and for a smaller government. But he could not convince the country to change course. Roosevelt's aides covered up the fact the president was in poor health.[4] Roosevelt would die in office three months after starting his fourth term.[4] His Vice President, Harry S. Truman, would serve out the remainder of his term of office.[4]

The campaign[change | change source]

The Republicans campaigned against the New Deal. They wanted a smaller government and less-regulated economy. Roosevelt's continuing popularity was the main theme of his campaign. To quiet rumors of his poor health, Roosevelt insisted on making a vigorous campaign trip in October and rode in an open car through city streets. A high point of the campaign occurred when Roosevelt gave a speech on national radio where he ridiculed Republican claims that his administration was corrupt and wasteful with tax money. He particularly ridiculed a Republican claim that he had sent a US Navy warship to pick up his Scottish Terrier Fala in Alaska.[5] He added that "Fala was furious" at such rumors. The speech was met with loud laughter and applause. In response, Dewey gave a blistering partisan speech in Oklahoma City, Oklahoma, a few days later on national radio. He accused Roosevelt of being "indispensable" to corrupt big-city Democratic organizations and American Communists. Dewey also referred to members of Roosevelt's cabinet as a "motley crew". However, the allies had several battlefield successes in Europe and the Pacific during the campaign. These included the liberation of Paris in August 1944 and the successful Battle of Leyte Gulf in the Philippines in October 1944.[6] These were Roosevelt's greatest assets in his campaign.[6]

Results[change | change source]

  • Roosevelt and his vice-presidential candidate Harry S. Truman won a total of 25,612,916 votes in the Popular vote (53.39%).[7] They won a total of 432 Electorial votes (81.4%)[7]
  • Dewey and his vice-presidential candidate John Bricker received 22,017,929 votes in the Popular vote (45.89%).[7] They received a total of 99 Electoral votes (18.6%).[7]

The 1944 presidential election was a milestone in American politics for two reasons. It was the first time a candidate for president was born in the 20th century.[8] It was the last time Democrats carried every state in the southern United States.[8] The election had at least one other long-reaching effect. It led to the 1951 passing of the Twenty-second Amendment to the United States Constitution.[4] It prohibits anyone from serving more than two terms as president of the United States.[4]

References[change | change source]

  1. "Voter Turnout in Presidential Elections". The American Presidency Project. UC Santa Barbara.
  2. "Election of 1944". The American Presidency Project. Retrieved 28 November 2015.
  3. "FDR wins unprecedented fourth term". History/ A&E Television Networks, LLC. Retrieved 28 November 2015.
  4. 4.0 4.1 4.2 4.3 4.4 Matthew Dallek. "Franklin Delano Roosevelt—Four-Term President—and the Election of 1944". The Gilder Lehrman Institute of American History. Retrieved 28 November 2015.
  5. Robert North Roberts; Scott John Hammond; Valerie A. Sulfaro, Presidential Campaigns, Slogans, Issues, and Platforms, Vol. 1 (Santa Barbara, CA: Greenwood, 2012), p. 525
  6. 6.0 6.1 Fellow Citizens: The Penguin Book of U.S. Presidential Inaugural Addresses, eds. Robert V. Remini; Terry Golway (New York: Penguin Books, 2008), p. 355
  7. 7.0 7.1 7.2 7.3 Dave Leip. "1944 Presidential General Election Results". Atlas of U.S. Presidential Elections. Retrieved 28 November 2015.
  8. 8.0 8.1 "Election of 1944: Four Terms for FDR". US History.com. Retrieved 28 November 2015.