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Iowa History Daily: September 18 - Truman at National Pl

Iowa History Daily: On September 18, 1948, President Harry Truman gave a speech praising Iowa’s farmers at the National Plowing Matches in Dexter, Iowa. Part of a ‘whistle stop’ campaign across Iowa as Truman sought election, the President spoke about how “the whole world has reason to be everlastingly grateful to the farmers of the United States.

In a hotly contested election following the death of President Franklin Delano Roosevelt, the organizers of the National Plowing Matches initially sought Truman’s opponent, Thomas Dewey, to speak at the event. When Dewey declined, Truman agreed to speak at Dexter while he made his way across Iowa on the Rock Island Line in mid-September.

As the Dexter band played “The Iowa Corn Song,” the President and his party loaded into a dozen convertibles at the Dexter train station. With an Iowa Highway Patrol export, the motorcade made the way out to the Weesner farm where between 75,000 to 100,000 people eagerly awaited Truman’s arrival. Upon arrival, Truman climbed onto a stage constructed by area World War II veterans and spoke to the gathered crowd as well as Iowans across the state thanks to broadcasting provided by WHO-Radio.

Truman’s well-received speech focused on the need to continue price supports and imploring farmers to remember hard times of the past. In the election to follow, Truman narrowly carried the day to continue to serve as President of the United States despite the Chicago Daily Tribune initially proclaiming “DEWEY DEFEATS TRUMAN.” #IowaOTD #IowaHistoryDaily #IowaHistoryCalendar


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