OTD in History… July 21, 1944, Democrats nominate President Franklin D. Roosevelt for a fourth term




OTD in History… July 21, 1944, Democrats nominate President Franklin D. Roosevelt for a fourth term

By Bonnie K. Goodman, BA, MLIS

On this day in history July 21, 1944, The Democratic Party nominatesFranklin D. Roosevelt for a history-making fourth term as president. With rumors that Roosevelt was in ill health, the Democrats nominating Missouri Senator Harry S. Truman as Vice President is even more significant. In the midst of World War II, the 1944 presidential campaign was first wartime presidential campaign since 1864 Americans wondered if there should even be a campaign with the ongoing war, and if elections should be suspended, however, democracy won out and the campaign continued. The Roosevelt-Truman ticket easily beat the Republicans, Thomas Dewey, and John Bricker. Roosevelt, however, would not live out the term; he died a mere three months after his fourth inauguration, leaving Truman to assume the presidency.

The Democrats nominated Roosevelt again easily at the national convention in Chicago, Illinois, held July 19 to 20, despite growing concern and opposition to his economic and social policies among conservatives in the party and in the South. The main issue at the convention became the choice of vice presidential nominee. Roosevelt’s declining health and suspicions of concealed health problems prompted the party’s conservatives to oppose the renomination of Roosevelt’s second Vice-President Henry Wallace. Wallace was never a party favorite but his left-wing positions and New Age spiritual beliefs concerned conservatives as they considered the vice president might have to assume the presidency because of Roosevelt’s health.

Party leaders told Roosevelt about their opposition to Wallace and they suggested Missouri Senator Harry Truman, a moderate and chairman of a “Senate wartime investigating committee.” Roosevelt refused to publicly support any of the Vice Presidential choices. Robert E. Hannegan, the chairman of the Democratic National Committee worked tiredly to ensure Truman was on the ticket. Roosevelt’s second choice was James F. Byrnes of South Carolina, however, he was conservative on race and labor issues. Sidney Hillman, chairman of the CIO’s Political Action Committee and Roosevelt campaign contributor opposed Byrnes’ nomination. Roosevelt accepted Truman as his running mate for party unity, Truman himself was reluctant to accept the nomination, calling it “the new Missouri Compromise.” Liberal delegates still supported Henry Wallace and he was in the lead in the first ballot. The Northern, Midwestern, and Southern state delegates supported Truman, and he was able to clinch the nomination on the second ballot after shifts.

Roosevelt accepted the Democratic presidential nomination with a speech on July 20. Roosevelt touted his presidential accomplishments, stating, “They will decide on the record — the record written on the seas, on the land, and in the skies. They will decide on the record of our domestic accomplishments in recovery and reform since March 4, 1933. And they will decide on the record of our war production and food production- unparalleled in all history, in spite of the doubts and sneers of those in high places who said it cannot be done. They will decide on the record of the International Food Conference, of U.N.R.R.A., of the International Labor Conference, of the International Education Conference, of the International Monetary Conference. And they will decide on the record written in the Atlantic Charter, at Casablanca, at Cairo, at Moscow, and at Teheran. We have made mistakes. Who has not? Things will not always be perfect. Are they ever perfect, in human affairs?”

Roosevelt refused to campaign and stump as the campaigned commenced wanted to focus on continuing his responsibilities as Commander-in-Chief. Roosevelt became tired of the attacks on his health and in mid-September commenced stumping. He planned to give five speeches, to answer his criticism show he was physically up to the challenge. Roosevelt took to the stump September 23, 1944, his first of speeches answering his critics, was to the Teamsters Union in Washington, considered the best campaign speech of his career; Fala Speech: Speech carried on national radio in which he ridiculed Republican claims that his administration was corrupt and wasteful with tax money. He particularly ridiculed a GOP claim that he had sent a US Navy warship to pick up his Scottish terrier Fala in Alaska, noting that “Fala was furious” at such rumors. To quiet concern about his health, Roosevelt insisted on making a vigorous campaign swing in October to quell rumors about his health, and he rode in an open car through city streets.

Roosevelt made history winning decisively his fourth term victory, but it was the historic fight over the Democratic vice presidential nomination that determined the next president. Roosevelt died of cerebral hemorrhage on April 12, 1944, less than 4 months after taking the oath of office for the fourth time, and Truman became the nation’s 33rd President. Republicans in Congress made sure no president would ever run for more than two terms passing the 22nd Amendment to the U.S. Constitution on March 21, 1947, and ratified in 1951.


Boller, Paul F. Presidential Campaigns: From George Washington to George W. Bush. Oxford: Oxford Univ. Press, 2004.

Evans, Hugh E. The Hidden Campaign: FDR’s Health and the 1944 Election. Armonk, N.Y: M.E. Sharpe, 2002.

Bonnie K. Goodman has a BA and MLIS from McGill University and has done graduate work in religion at Concordia University. She is a journalist, librarian, historian & editor, and a former Features Editor at the History News Network & reporter at Examiner.com where she covered politics, universities, religion and news. She has a dozen years experience in education & political journalism.


OTD in History… June 27, 1950, President Truman orders American troops to fight in the Korean War




OTD in History… June 27, 1950, President Truman orders American troops to fight in the Korean War

By Bonnie K. Goodman, BA, MLIS

Source: Communities Digital News

On this day in history, June 27, 1950, President Harry S. Truman gives a statement and orders the United States air and naval military troops to Democratic South Korea to defend them as part of a United Nations military effort after Communist North Korea invaded it two days prior on June 25, 1950, Korean time. After World War II Korea had been divided between North and South by the 38th parallel. Truman sent American troops under Gen. Douglas MacArthur, who would be Commander of the U.N. forces, 15 nations fighting against North Korea. Truman’s decision came after United Nations Security Council condemned North Korea’s invasion with a 9–0 vote on June 26 and supported the Democratic Republic of Korea. On June 28, the UN voted to use force against North Korea and June 30, Truman committed ground troops to the conflict. Congress did not pass a war resolution but did extend the draft and allowed the president to call up reservists.

Truman’s decision was the first time the American history a president would send troops to a foreign conflict without Congress passing a declaration of war. Truman noted he did not need to because speaking of Congress he said, “They are all with me.” As historian Larry Blomstedt indicates in his book, Truman, Congress, and Korea: The Politics of America’s First Undeclared War, explains the Koran War is “historically crucial. Korea began a trend of American presidents deploying significant numbers of troops overseas without obtaining a declaration of war from Congress.” The conflict increased the power of the president.

Sending troops was also part of the post-World War II strategy of “Containment” containing the spread of Communism in the world, and part of the 1947 Truman Doctrine of foreign policy having the US intervening in foreign conflicts that do not directly involve the country. As Truman stated to the public on June 27, “Communism has passed beyond the use of subversion to conquer independent nations and will now use armed invasion and war.” The front line of fighting Communism shifted from Europe to Asia. Truman declared that the spread of Communism in the strategic Korean peninsula was a threat to national security. The Korean War would last three years and for most veterans considered as the “forgotten war.” It was the first American conflict with no clear-cut victory or peace, only an armistice signed July 27, 1953, with 36,516 American troops killed in the war. The boundary line altered slightly with both sides gaining territory but a continued military presence was necessary.

Recently, nuclear tensions between North Korea and the US increased under President Donald Trump and North Korea leader Kim Jong-un. A result of the escalation and Trump’s bully diplomacy, North and Korea had a rapprochement and signed an agreement with the intention to make finally a peace agreement, 65 years after the armistice was signed. The US and North Korea are also making historic headway, with Trump becoming the first American president to meet with a North Korean leader. At their Singapore summit on June 12, the two leaders signed an agreement to denuclearize North Korea, a giant step towards finally ending the Korean War.


Blomstedt, Larry. Truman, Congress, and Korea: The Politics of America’s First Undeclared War. Lexington, Kentucky The University Press of Kentucky, 2016.

Brands, H W. The General Vs. the President: Macarthur and Truman at the Brink of Nuclear War. New York : Anchor Books, a division of Penguin Random House LLC, 2017.

Wainstock, Dennis. Truman, Macarthur, and the Korean War. New York, NY: Enigma Books, 2011.

Bonnie K. Goodman has a BA and MLIS from McGill University and has done graduate work in religion at Concordia University. She is a journalist, librarian, historian & editor, and a former Features Editor at the History News Network & reporter at Examiner.com where she covered politics, universities, religion and news. She has a dozen years experience in education & political journalism.


Statement by the President on the Situation in Korea
June 27, 1950

IN KOREA the Government forces, which were armed to prevent border raids and to preserve internal security, were attacked by invading forces from North Korea. The Security Council of the United Nations called upon the invading troops to cease hostilities and to withdraw to the 38th parallel. This they have not done, but on the contrary have pressed the attack. The Security Council called upon all members of the United Nations to render every assistance to the United Nations in the execution of this resolution. In these circumstances I have ordered United States air and sea forces to give the Korean Government troops cover and support.

The attack upon Korea makes it plain beyond all doubt that communism has passed beyond the use of subversion to conquer independent nations and will now use armed invasion and war. It has defied the orders of the Security Council of the United Nations issued to preserve international peace and security. In these circumstances the occupation of Formosa by Communist forces would be a direct threat to the security of the Pacific area and to United States forces performing their lawful and necessary functions in that area.

Accordingly I have ordered the 7th Fleet to prevent any attack on Formosa. As a corollary of this action I am calling upon the Chinese Government on Formosa to cease all air and sea operations against the mainland. The 7th Fleet will see that this is done. The determination of the future status of Formosa must await the restoration of security in the Pacific, a peace settlement with Japan, or consideration by the United Nations.

I have also directed that United States Forces in the Philippines be strengthened and that military assistance to the Philippine Government be accelerated.

I have similarly directed acceleration in the furnishing of military assistance to the forces of France and the Associated States in Indochina and the dispatch of a military mission to provide dose working relations with those forces.

I know that all members of the United Nations will consider carefully the consequences of this latest aggression in Korea in defiance of the Charter of the United Nations. A return to the rule of force in international affairs would have far-reaching effects. The United States will continue to uphold the rule of law.

I have instructed Ambassador Austin, as the representative of the United States to the Security Council, to report these steps to the Council.

On This Day in History… January 15-17, 1950: The National Emergency Civil Rights Conference in Washington, DC

By Bonnie Goodman, HNN, 1-14-08

Ms. Goodman is the Editor / Features Editor at HNN. She has a Masters in Library and Information Studies from McGill University, and has done graduate work in history at Concordia University. She blogs at History Musings

On this day in history… January 15-17, 1950, over 4000 attend the National Emergency Civil Rights Conference in Washington, DC.

In the 1940s activists in the civil rights movement focused on the issue of fair employment practices, especially within the federal government. Their efforts culminated in the establishment of the Fair Employment Practices Committee (FEPC). As J. J. Goldberg writes: “Their undertaking was a powerful show of force, and it created new momentum for civil rights in Washington and nationwide.” (Goldberg, 128) Coming just years before the monumental Supreme Court ruling in Brown vs. the Board of Education, the mobilization in 1949 and 1950 in support of President Truman’s civil rights program was a major development.

The first break in the employment battle came in 1941. A. Philip Randolph, the labor leader and civil rights activist, warned President Franklin D. Roosevelt that if he did not create a temporary Committee on Fair Employment Practices, there would be a march on Washington in protest. The FEPC was formed to protect workers from discrimination in hiring in the Federal government. This was the beginning of the March on Washington movement, which worked on behalf of advancements for blacks, and was responsible for the National Council for a Permanent FEPC in 1944.

The leading figures in the National Council were Clarence Mitchell and Roy Wilkins of the National Association for the Advancement of Colored People (NAACP), and Arnold Aronson of the National Jewish Community Relations Advisory Council, who later served as its executive secretary. Randolph was co-chairman of the Council with the Reverend Allan Knight Chalmers of the Broadway Tabernacle Church, but Randolph was responsible for most of the decision-making. The National Council was, as Uwe Wenzel writes, “intended to function as a clearinghouse for all activities in behalf of permanent federal FEPC legislation including both public relations work and Washington lobbying.” (Miller, 50) The Council found support from both sides of the aisle in Congress, with liberal Republicans and Northern Democrats supporting proposals for a permanent FEPC.

To put pressure on Congress the Council issued press releases, and held rallies and meetings, where congressmen would speak in defense of civil rights legislation. Several hundred gathered at small meetings at churches, but there were larger affairs, including a rally held at Madison Square Garden attended by 20,000. Still the Council’s influence was limited. As Wenzel writes, while the meetings raised the morale of FEPC supporters, “the group was unable to place the issue of fair employment in the forefront of the American public’s attention.” (Miller, 51)

Although there were congressman who supported the initiative, it was difficult to persuade others to join because interracial issues were not important to their constituents. Supporters were unable to un able to get a final vote for legislation. Even worse, the debate incited Southern congressmen to close down the wartime FEPC in June 1946, by terminating funding to it. The National Council would never have the momentum again to act as the leader in the movement to create a permanent FEPC; internal strife within the organization and financial woes plagued it. The Emergency Civil Rights Mobilization would take over the fight for the FEPC in the late 1940s.

President Harry S. Truman wanted to push several civil rights measures including the creation of a permanent FEPC, but faced congressional opposition. Despite the Council’s lobbying efforts, the conservative Congress was not willing to pass Truman’s proposed legislation. After the Council was proven ineffective, Wilkins formed the National Emergency Civil Rights Mobilization committee. As Gilbert Jonas writes, it was a “call for a massive interracial lobbying effort in 1949 to be conducted by representatives of all sympathetic national organizations.” (Jonas, 156) The mobilization’s mission was “to break down opposition to the passage of the civil rights bills.” (Collier-Thomas, 37) It was a model of interracial coalition building. The coalition included over 100 black and white religious, political, and civil rights organizations.

Among the hundred organizations that supported the mobilization were several women’s organizations including the National Association of Christian Woman (NACW), the National Council of Negro Women (NCNW), and several sororities. It became important to add a women’s division, and in December 1949, the Women’s Division of the National Emergency Civil Rights Mobilization was formed. Aretha McKinley, an officer in New York City’s NAACP office, headed the new division. The division’s purpose was to show black women what was at stake: “They have the right to speak up against unfair employment practices since these effect both themselves and their husbands, they are also concerned with discrimination and segregation as these questions apply to housing problems and so directly effect their homes. In addition women have the right to speak up for the future of their children.” (Collier-Thomas, 37)

The peak of the mobilization effort came on January 15-17, 1950 when more than 4,200 delegates from fifty-eight national organizations met in Washington to lobby their congressman to support the president’s civil rights program, and a permanent FEPC. Among the supporters was the Women’s Division, and hundreds of black women from numerous clubs, sororities, and organizations attended the conference. (Collier-Thomas, 38) The conference was, as Jonas states, the “largest lobbying effort in the history of the nation.” (Jonas, 157) The participants spread over Capitol Hill in a massive grass-roots lobbying effort.

Meanwhile, Wilkins led a delegation that met with President Truman, where Wilkins listed the group’s demands. President Truman told Wilkins he had already pledged his support to the civil rights program and a fair employment law. The activists, said Truman, should focus their efforts on Congress:

YOU don’t need to make that speech to me, it needs to be made to Senators and Congressmen. Every effort is being made by the executive branch of the Government to get action on these measures. I have been working at them ever since I went to Congress. I went there in 1935, and that is a long time ago…. This is a serious situation. This civil rights program, which I have sent to the Congress on every occasion that it has been possible to send it, is one that is necessary, if we are going to maintain our leadership in the world. We can’t go on not doing the things that we are asking other people to do in the United Nations. I hope all of you will continue your hard work on the subject, and that you will make it perfectly plain to the Senators and Congressmen who represent your States and districts that action is what we want; and I think that is possibly the only way we can get action. (Truman, January 17th, 1950)

Despite the conference’s lobbying efforts the FEPC and civil rights legislation received a second defeat in the Senate in 1950, which seemed to mark the end of congressional support for such legislation. The debates in the Senate on Truman’s civil rights program focused primarily on the revival of FEPC. It should have been, as Truman biographer Robert Ferrell writes, “obviously fair and appropriate.” (Ferrall, 297) The committee would allow African Americans a chance for economic success. Still the Senate refused to pass the mneasure. Opposition came from Southern Democrats and Mid-Western Republicans.

Despite a lack of support for major civil rights legislation, Truman issued an executive order as a temporary solution. Executive Order No. 9980 created a Fair Employment Board within the Civil Service Commission. Its success was debatable because discrimination was often subtle and difficult to prove. Butr historians note some success was evident in the state department and the bureau of printing and engraving. (Ferrall, 297)

Despite the failure in Congress, the 1950 conference was considered a success and prompted the participants to create a permanent organization. At the conference, the coalition decided to form this organization, with a mission of lobbying for the passage of civil rights legislation. The result was the formation of the Leadership Conference on Civil Rights, a name that was formally adopted in 1951. The main Washington office would focus on lobbying, while the member organizations would serve in a supportive role, paying dues and educating their members about the proposed civil rights legislation. In practice Wilkins was the head of the new LCCR, although officially the ailing Walter White was the first director. The NAACP’s Clarence Mitchell served as legislative chair, Arnold Aronson as secretary and labor attorney Joseph L. Rauh as LCCR counsel. Randolph still remained focused on the FEPC and decided not to join the LCCR executives. The LCCR, as Wenzel writes, became “the most successful interracial alliance.” (Miller, 53)

The LCCR, created out of the January 1950 conference, “became a force in United States politics.” (Gates, 251) Clarence Mitchell’s lobbying efforts were central to its later success. He spent endless hours roaming the halls of Congress and became known as the “101st Senator.” (Gates, 251) Although the National Council and National Emergency Civil Rights Mobilization, and then the LCCR worked tirelessly for the creation of a permanent FEPC, their efforts were in vain initially, they found success by playing an important role in getting the Civil Rights Acts of 1957, 1960, and 1964, and the Voting Rights Acts of 1965 passed through Congress. In 1964 the FEPC was finally created.

Sources and further reading:

Anthony Appiah and Henry Louis Gates, eds., Africana: An A-To-Z Reference of the Movement That Changed America, (Running Press, 2005).

J. J. Goldberg, Jewish Power: Inside the American Jewish Establishment, (Addison-Wesley, 1996)

Robert H. Ferrell, Harry S. Truman: A Life, (University of Missouri Press, 1996).

Gilbert Jonas, Freedom’s Sword: The NAACP and the Struggle against Racism in America, 1909-1969, (Routledge, 2005).

Patrick B. Miller, Therese Steffen, Elisabeth Schäfer-Wünsche, eds. The Civil Rights Movement Revisited: Critical Perspectives on the Struggle, (LIT Verlag Berlin-Hamburg-Münster, 2001).

Nina Mjagkij, ed., Organizing Black America: An Encyclopedia of African American Associations, (Garland, 2001).

Bettye Collier-Thomas and Vincent P. Franklin, eds., Sisters in the Struggle: African American Women in the Civil Rights-Black Power Movement, (NYU Press, 2001).

Harry S. Truman, “Remarks to a Delegation From the National Emergency Civil Rights Mobilization Conference,” January 17th, 1950.

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