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AN AMERICAN LESSON IN DEMOCRACY (Amerykanska lekcja czasu wojny - wybory prezydenckie w 1944 r.)

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In 1944 American society was once again to elect a head of state and representatives to the federal and state authorities. A complicated election law and a 150-years old tradition meant that the elections were to be conducted in conditions specific for every state. The events of 1944 demonstrated that the enormous efforts of the authorities and non-government organisations as well as, or perhaps chiefly, the citizens themselves, made it possible to conduct a wider campaign and to hold the elections while guaranteeing attendance on a level similar to the one four years earlier, when the US was still not engaged in the Second World War, at least from the viewpoint of its military involvement. In addition, let us note that the outcome of the general presidential election showed that it was not a sheer formality. The majority won by Franklin Delano Roosevelt over Thomas E. Dewey was the smallest in the history of his four contentions for the supreme office in the state. A careful study of the press of the period makes it possible to observe the changing support for the candidates of the two largest parties within the perspective of a whole year, and the way in which American society prepared itself for the election. Another discernible feature was that despite the armed conflict it was possible to retain objectivism in relation to all the candidates.
  • Rafał Gardocki, Uniwersytet Warszawski, Instytut Historyczny, ul. Krakowskie Przedmiescie 26/28, 00-927 Warszawa, Poland.
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