Good Intentions

Yes, the road to hell is often paved with good intentions.

Issue: Fall 2000

John C. Culver and John Hyde, American Dreamer: The Life and Times of Henry A. Wallace (New York: W.W. Norton, 2000), 608 pp., $35

It was on the day of July 11, 1944 that FDR finally decided to accept the urging of his advisers and dump his vice president. Henry A. Wallace had turned out to be politically incorrect, caught up in his dreams of a better world for the "common man." Perhaps out of affection and respect, FDR would delay informing him of the decision. At the Democratic convention, held in Chicago less than two weeks later, party leaders were stunned when the stadium thundered with the deafening chant, "We want Wallace!" The convention was veering out of control, and party officials feared that if a vote were taken immediately Wallace would be nominated and the plan to replace him with Senator Harry S Truman frustrated. With much jockeying the following day, Truman picked up winning votes on the third ballot and made a short, humble acceptance speech, while behind the scenes Wallace graciously bowed out of the administration.

You must be a subscriber of The National Interest to access this article. If you are already a subscriber, please activate your online access. Not a subscriber? Become a subscriber today!