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1948 Democratic National Convention

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Date(s)  July 12–14, 1948
Venue  Convention Hall
1948 Democratic National Convention
City  Philadelphia, Pennsylvania
Presidential nominee  Harry S. Truman of Missouri
Vice Presidential nominee  Alben W. Barkley of Kentucky

The 1948 Democratic National Convention was held at Convention Hall in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania, from July 12 to July 14, 1948, and resulted in the nominations of President Harry S. Truman for a full term and Senator Alben W. Barkley of Kentucky for Vice President in the 1948 presidential election. The convention was televised on the East Coast by CBS and NBC. The convention returned to Philadelphia in 2016.


Dispute over civil rights

Northern Democrats led by Mayor of Minneapolis Hubert Humphrey and Illinois Senator Paul Douglas pushed for the convention to adopt a strong civil rights platform plank and endorse President Truman's pro-civil rights actions. They were opposed by moderates who feared alienating Southern voters (regarded as essential to a Democratic victory), including Truman's own aides, but pressed ahead. They were supported by northeastern urban Democratic leaders, who thought the plank would appeal to the growing black vote in their cities (traditionally Republican).

In a speech to the convention, Humphrey urged the Democratic Party to "get out of the shadow of states' rights and walk forthrightly into the bright sunshine of human rights." The convention adopted the civil rights plank in a close vote (651½-582½).

In response, all 22 members of the Mississippi delegation, led by Governor Fielding L. Wright and former Governor Hugh L. White, walked out of the assembly. Thirteen members of the Alabama delegation followed, led by Leven H. Ellis. The bolted delegates and other Southerners then formed the States' Rights Democratic Party ("Dixiecrats"), which nominated Strom Thurmond for President and Wright for Vice President.

The fight over the civil rights plank was a launching point for Humphrey. He was elected to the United States Senate that year, and in 1964 was elected Vice President.

In the absence of three dozen Southern delegates who walked out of the convention with Thurmond, 947 Democrats voted to nominate Truman as their candidate (against 263 for Senator Richard Russell, Jr. of Georgia).

Vice President

U.S. Senator Alben W. Barkley of Kentucky was nominated by acclamation without a roll call vote.


1948 Democratic National Convention Wikipedia