Freedom: A History of US.
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Webisode 13: Democracy and Struggles
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Dewey Defeats Truman
Segment 5
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On November 2, 1948, the American people vote. Dewey's supporters crowd into the ballroom of New York's Hotel Roosevelt. They are there to celebrate. Men wear tuxedos and women wear gowns. Reporters file articles congratulating the new president even before the returns come in. At the Chicago Tribune, the morning's headline is set in type: "Dewey Defeats Truman" See It Now - "Dewey Wins" Headline.

As night arrives, the counting begins. The election results are being broadcast on television for the first time. But few people have tv sets. Even the President doesn't have one. Truman goes to bed early, but leaves the radio on. At midnight he wakes up and listens to an NBC commentator named H.V. Kaltenborn. Not long afterwards he will mock what he heard that night. He says: "At long about 12 o'clock I happened to wake up for some reason, and the radio was turned on and Mr. Kaltenborn was saying, 'Well the president is a million votes ahead in the popular vote ... and we are very sure that when the country vote comes in Mr. Truman will be defeated by an overwhelming majority.' And I went back to bed and went to sleep."

At dawn on the day after Election Day, the President gets up. H. V. Kaltenborn is still on the radio. Now he is saying the election is very close—but Dewey will win. By mid-morning it is clear: All the experts were wrong! Truman is no accidental president. He has won the job on his own Check The Source - Clark Clifford on Why Truman was Elected President.

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Did You Know?
The Hotel Roosevelt, Thomas Dewey's election night headquarters, was named for Theodore Roosevelt ( a Republican) not for Democrat FDR.

Did you know that Freedom is adapted from the award-winning Oxford University Press multi-volume book series, A History of US by Joy Hakim?

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