Degree Granting Department
Fraser M. Ottanelli, Ph.D.
Robert P. Ingalls, Ph.D.
Barbara Berglund, Ph.D.
immigration, ethnicity, Latin, Florida, South
This research deals with the presidential election of 1948 and the questions it
raises concerning issues of ethnic identity and the experiences of working-class migrants
in the U.S. South. Central to the discussion is the unprecedented success of third-party
challenger Henry Wallace and his Progressive campaign in the immigrant enclaves of
Tampa, Florida. Stigmatized by controversial foreign and domestic programs which drew
disabling connections between Wallace and the Communist Party, the Progressive Party
campaign hardly got its proverbial feet off the ground before falling victim to virulent
criticism and widespread opposition. Carrying just over two percent of the votes
nationwide, Wallace was soon relegated as an afterthought in modern historical memory,
a footnote to the “real” battle between Dewey and Truman for the hearts and minds of the
American public. This paper reevaluates the Progressive Party campaign in 1948 for the
insights it provides into the immigrant experience, ethnic politics, and the continuous
reinvention and contestation of “radical” politics and “American” identity. At issue here
is not the failure of the campaign itself; nor is this intended to be a measure or judgment
of Henry Wallace himself. Rather, it is to his appeal and isolated successes that I look to
gain a better appreciation of the constructions and negotiations of ethnic identity and
contested claims to the principles of American democracy and the rights of citizenship.
Scholar Commons Citation
Toney, Jared G., "Viva Wallace Tampa Latins, the politics of Americanization, and the Progressive party campaign of 1948" (2006). USF Tampa Graduate Theses and Dissertations.