Publication Date


Document Type


First Advisor

Crawford, Paul K.||O'Connell, William V. (William Valentine)

Degree Name

M.S. Ed. (Master of Education)

Legacy Department

Department of Speech


Truman; Harry S.; 1884-1972; Presidents--United States--Election--1948


The 1948 Presidential campaign marked the end of the Presidential campaign train, thus ending the emphasis on face-to-face communication between the candidate and the voting public. Harry S. Truman pulled the biggest upset in modern American political history with his election victory in 1948. Ever since Truman's upset victory, political as well as speech critics have attempted to answer the question: How did Truman do it? The writer joins this group as a speech critic, primarily, in an original attempt to analyze the effects of Harry S. Truman's campaign speaking through an intelligent and critical examination of invention in representative selected speeches of Truman in the 1948 Presidential campaign. Included among the primary sources in this investigation are personal correspondence with President Truman and interviews with former Truman advisers, speech writers and members of the immediate audience during Truman's 1948 campaign speaking. The investigation is divided into a three-part logical arrangement. In part I the factors influencing Truman's invention in his 1948 campaign speaking are examined. This has been attempted by explicating the experiences, speech training, and basic assumptions and ideas of the thirty-third President in the first chapter. The second chapter is devoted to an examination of the historical setting, events and factors at work in 1948 which influenced the invention in Truman's campaign speeches. The final chapter of Part I describes the methods of preparation that went into the 1948 campaign speeches and the speech delivery of Harry S. Truman. Part II deals with an analysis of invention in authentic texts of selected speeches by Truman in 1948.Throughout this part the analysis of invention in representative selected speeches is based on the definition of Aristotle. Aristotle defined the modes of persuasion according to the effects they produce in hearers and classified them as ethical, pathetic, and logical proof. In chapter four an analysis is made of six major campaign addresses by Truman in 1948 in the chronological order of their delivery with the Aristotalian classification adhered to in the examination of each speech. In chapter five and analysis is made of the invention employed by Truman in eight shorter "whistle stop" speeches in the campaign. The final chapter of this part analyzes the invention in Truman's radio addresses in 1948. In Part III an attempt has been made to measure the effectiveness of Truman's invention. This is first attempted by examining the response of the voters in the November Election through an analysis of national Presidential election results. Secondly, the direct causal relationship of the invention in Truman's speeches to the election result is examined. This is done by further analyzing the response of the voters through election results in the states where selected speeches were delivered and through the observations of politicians, historians, speech critics, and the result of public opinion surveys. In the final section of Part III the writer has concluded on the basis of available evidence that there is evident a direct causal relationship of the invention in Truman's campaign speaking to his election victory.


Includes bibliographical references.


191 pages




Northern Illinois University

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