Chapter

The Totally Political Man

Simon Topping

in Lincoln's Lost Legacy

Published by University Press of Florida

Published in print June 2008 | ISBN: 9780813032283
Published online September 2011 | e-ISBN: 9780813038971 | DOI: http://dx.doi.org/10.5744/florida/9780813032283.003.0005
The Totally Political Man

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Stung with another defeat in the 1940 elections, the GOP embarked on another period of soul searching. After the elections of 1940, the GOP was faced with the prospect of making up a unified stand on the issue of foreign policy. Faced with the looming conflict and war, Republicans strongly believed that America could avoid entanglements with the Axis power and hence forwarded for isolationism. This changed however on the eve of December 7, 1941. Isolationism, which was the Republicans' foreign policy, was discredited, causing them to frantically search for an alternative. This chapter discusses yet another struggle faced by the Republican Party to forge unity in an otherwise divided GOP party. It discusses the challenges faced by the Republicans to make the two different foreign policies dominating within the party create an image of unity and oneness within it. With the 1944 elections looming, the Republicans were forced to create, if not dismiss, foreign policies that threatened the unity of the party. They created the Mackinac agreement, which resulted in a veneer of harmony between isolationists and internationalists—a harmony that was essential in the forthcoming 1944 presidential elections. The chapter also provides an overview of the changing and evolving allegiance of the African American voters. Faced with the looming war and the hardship that came with it, including the New Deal, the Republicans, having changed their foreign policy from isolationism to internationalism, somehow managed to earn a small number of black voters, yet this was too insignificant to carry them to electoral success. The chapter also discusses the new political measures of the GOP found in the introduction of potential new Republican leaders, the most notable of whom was Thomas Dewey, who ran for presidency yet lost the race due to their failure to win the affection of black voters, who played a determining role in the results of the elections.

Keywords: GOP; Republicans; isolationism; foreign policy; 1944 elections; presidential elections; African American; evolving allegiance; internationalism; black voters

Chapter.  11466 words. 

Subjects: History of the Americas

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