April 16, 2011

The Life of Iowan Henry Wallace.

I am currently working on a research project about Iowan Henry Wallace and his role as a New Dealer in the Roosevelt administration. The Wallace family published the influential Wallace's Farmer magazine in Des Moines and were active in Midwest farm politics throughout the early part of the 20th century which led to his father's appointment to the Secretary of Agriculture post in the Harding administration.

After his fathers untimely death in 1924, a event that Wallace blamed on a feud with fellow Iowan Herbert Hoover, Wallace followed in his fathers footsteps, took over leadership of the family publishing business and was himself appointed to the same position in the Roosevelt administration.

In 1940 he was chosen to fill the vice presidential slot but was unceremoniously dropped from the ticket in 1944 when FRD shifted from Mr Save the Country to Mr. Win the war. As a consolation prize Wallace accepted the post of Commerce Secretary which ended in a foreign policy dispute with Truman.

By the time Roosevelt passed away and Truman took the helm the war had lessened the countries collectivist bent and the New Deal was largely dead. Hoping to keep the Progressive ideals alive however, Wallace ran a lackluster third party campaign on the Progressive ticket in 1948 backed largely by unions and communists. His effort was largely a fools errand as he was portrayed as a dupe for the communists and he garnered less than 1% of the vote.

For his tenacity he is still widely praised by the left today long after most New Dealers have long since been forgotten. For better or worse his legacy may be that many of the farm programs he promoted in the 1930s are still with us today.

In probably the most famous of the Wallace Cartoons he is pictured with fellow New Dealers and the Roosevelt Brian Trust shoveling money into the economy while Lenin and Stalin look on.
Truman is pictured here keeping a steady rein on Democracy as Wallace and fourth party candidate Strom Thurmond try to steer the country to the left or right in 1948.
Putting the New Dealer out to pasture.
Many of the programs started under Wallace while serving as Ag Secretary were portrayed by opponents as Fascist or Communist. Here he is portrayed as Feurher Wallace with the countries farmers marching in lockstep. ca 1938

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