Study Guide for Gillon, The American Paradox, Chapter 2

 

  • Demobilization difficulties, Truman’s unpopularity, gain in Republican power
  • Why did liberals/progressives dislike Harry Truman?
  • Taft-Hartley Act and Truman’s futile veto
  • Henry Wallace’s third party
  • What was Truman’s strategy to hold the Democratic Party together and win the election in 1948?
  • What was Truman’s stance on civil rights for African Americans, and what was its effect on the Democratic Party?
  • Dixiecrat Party & Strom Thurmond
  • Truman’s acceptance speech (1948). According to Truman, what was right about the Democratic Party; what was wrong with the Republican Party; what reforms did he propose?
  • 1948: “the most dramatic upset victory in the history of presidential elections” – why did Truman win? (several reasons)
  • Truman’s “Fair Deal,” congressional reform legislation, and its limits. Why was the Fair Deal only partially successful?

**What does the “vital center” (the “new liberalism”) refer to? Describe its stance on capitalism and economics, and America’s role in the world. What does Gillon see as the significance of the vital center in terms of the main theme of his book (i.e. paradox)?