The common man

I was reading this article:  The Myth of American Meritocracy and it made me think of Henry Wallace and the “common man”.

Who knows who Henry Wallace was? He has mostly been lost to an alternate history, a very real reality we live in now.  No one remembers him now because political back-dealings kept him from being nominated in the 1944 Democratic National Convention for Vice President. Wallace was a known Buddhist. He supported labour unions and civil rights. Party leaders wanted someone more subdued, someone tamer; someone like Harry Truman. FDR’s health was fading fast, the next Vice President would in all likelihood be the next President of the United States. Henry Wallace served as a member of this nation’s “inner circle” for 3 presidential terms.

Wallace said this publicly in the 40’s:

”George Carver, born into slavery, now a chemist at Tuskegee University specializing in botany, first introduced me to the mysteries of plant fertilization. I spent a good many years breeding corn, because this scientist deepened my appreciation of plants in a way I could never forget. Superior ability is not the exclusive possession of any one race or any one class, provided men are given the right opportunities.”

In 1942, Henry Wallace gave his most famous speech:

So you can see this man was a natural orator and a motivator – and now he has been lost to history. Truman was instated as the new president after only 88 days in office as Vice President; FDR had died. It is reported that Truman and FDR spoke only twice.

Here’s a recording of Truman’s inaugural speech:

VE Day:

America had to reap vengeance on Japan on the eastern front still. Truman decided to drop not one but two atomic weapons on an already hopelessly defeated Japanese people in 1945. The USSR already had built up over 1 million troops in Manchuria; preparing for an invasion that began days before the bombs were dropped. If you think the Japanese were more afraid of a new bomb that wipes out entire cities in the blink of any eye more-so than they were of an invading Soviet Red army, you are mistaken. The USSR fought and died more than any other country in that war.

Would the world be a different place if Henry Wallace had been re-elected Vice president in 1944?

By large, he was cherished both at home by Americans and abroad. His political party however… did not always cherish his quirks. There’s a lot more to the story of Henry Wallace, but history will largely forget him.

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One thought on “The common man

  1. Cool idea, bringing little bits of less known history to the fore.

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