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Clark CliffordThe Wise Man of Washington$
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John Acacia

Print publication date: 2009

Print ISBN-13: 9780813125510

Published to Kentucky Scholarship Online: September 2011

DOI: 10.5810/kentucky/9780813125510.001.0001

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Mastermind of the 1948 Campaign?

Mastermind of the 1948 Campaign?

(p.119) 5 Mastermind of the 1948 Campaign?
Clark Clifford

John Acacia

University Press of Kentucky

In November 1947, Clark Clifford presented President Harry S. Truman with a memorandum entitled “The Politics of 1948,” a 43-page study that outlined a strategy for the 1948 presidential race. Truman was still considered a caretaker president, and his defeat by a then-unidentified Republican challenger seemed to be a foregone conclusion. Truman, however, would eventually score the greatest political upset of the twentieth century when he defeated Thomas Dewey in November 1948. The Clifford memorandum was incredibly prescient, accurately predicting that Dewey would be the Republican candidate and that Henry Wallace would run as a third-party candidate. In some cases it badly missed the mark, failing to foresee the southern backlash against Truman's civil rights policies. In addition, it is debatable how much the memo influenced Truman, whose political instincts were fairly acute; but in one respect its influence was without question: it bestowed remarkable benefits on its author.

Keywords:   Clark Clifford, Harry S. Truman, memorandum, 1948 presidential race, Thomas Dewey, civil rights

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