Henry A. Wallace

Henry A. Wallace

Infobox_Vice_President | name=Henry A. Wallace

order=33rd Vice President of the United States
term_start=January 20, 1941
term_end=January 20, 1945
predecessor=John N. Garner
successor=Harry S. Truman
birth_date=birth date|mf=yes|1888|10|7
birth_place= Orient, Iowa
death_date=death date and age|mf=yes|1965|11|18|1888|10|07
death_place=Danbury, Connecticut
spouse=Ilo Browne
party=Democratic (1933-1946)
Progressive (1946-1948)
alma_mater=Iowa State University
president=Franklin D. Roosevelt
order2=11th United States Secretary of Agriculture
term_start2=March 4, 1933
term_end2=September 4, 1940
president2=Franklin D. Roosevelt
predecessor2=Arthur M. Hyde
successor2=Claude R. Wickard
order3=10th United States Secretary of Commerce
term_start3=March 2, 1945
term_end3=September 20, 1946
president3=Franklin D. Roosevelt, Harry S. Truman
predecessor3=Jesse Holman Jones
successor3=W. Averell Harriman

Henry Agard Wallace (October 7, 1888 – November 18, 1965) was the thirty-third Vice President of the United States (1941–45), the eleventh Secretary of Agriculture (1933–40), and the tenth Secretary of Commerce (1945–46). In the 1948 presidential election, Wallace was the nominee of the Progressive Party.

Early life

Wallace was born on a farm near Orient, Adair County, Iowa, and graduated from Iowa State College at Ames in 1910, where he was a brother in the Delta Tau Delta fraternity. His father was Henry Cantwell Wallace. He worked on the editorial staff of "Wallace's Farmer" in Des Moines, Iowa, from 1910 to 1924 and edited the publication from 1924 to 1929. He experimented with breeding high-yielding strains of corn (maize), and authored many publications on agriculture. In 1915 he devised the first corn-hog ratio charts indicating the probable course of markets. With an inheritance of a few thousand dollars that had been left to his wife, the former Ilo Browne, whom he married in 1914, Wallace founded Hi-Bred Corn, which later became Pioneer Hi-Bred, a major agriculture corporation, acquired in 1999 by the Dupont Corporation for about $10 billion.

Wallace was raised as a Presbyterian, but left that denomination early in life. He spent most of his early life exploring other religious faiths and traditions. For many years, he had been closely associated with the Russian theosophist Nicholas Roerich. According to Arthur Schlesinger, Jr., "Wallace's search for inner light took him to strange prophets.... It was in this search that he encountered Nicholas Roerich, a Russian emigre, painter, theosophist and con man. Wallace did Roerich a number of favors, including sending him on an expedition to Central Asia presumably to collect drought-resistant grasses. In due course, H.A. [Wallace] became disillusioned with Roerich and turned almost viciously against him." [http://www.cooperativeindividualism.org/schlesinger_wallace_bio.html Arthur Schlesinger Jr. / Who Was Henry A. Wallace? ] ] Wallace eventually settled on Episcopalianism.

Political career

ecretary of Agriculture

In 1933, President Franklin D. Roosevelt appointed Wallace United States Secretary of Agriculture in his Cabinet, a post his father, Henry Cantwell Wallace, had occupied from 1921 to 1924. Wallace had been a liberal Republican, but he supported Roosevelt's New Deal and soon switched to the Democratic Party. Wallace served as Secretary of Agriculture until September 1940, when he resigned, having been nominated for Vice President as Roosevelt's running mate in the 1940 presidential election.

Vice President

During the 1940 presidential election, a series of letters that Wallace had written in the 1930s to Nicholas Roerich was uncovered by the Republicans. Wallace addressed Roerich as "Dear Guru" and signed all of the letters as "G" for Galahad, the name Roerich had assigned him. Wallace assured Roerich that he awaited "the breaking of the New Day" when the people of "Northern Shambhalla" - a Buddhist term roughly equivalent to the kingdom of heaven — would create an era of peace and plenty. When asked about the letters, Wallace lied and dismissed them as forgeries. According to Ruth Abrams Drayer's book, "Nicholas & Helena Roerich, The Spiritual Journey of Two Great Artists & Peacemakers", Wallace had been a devoted supporter of N. Roerich and his work from the middle 1920s. With the nod from F.D. Roosevelt, Wallace had lobbied Congress to support Roerich's "Banner and Pact of Peace" which was signed in Washington, D.C. by delegates from 22 Latin American countries in 1935. However, when Roerich and his son George were in Central Asia (sent on expedition by the U.S. Department of Agriculture to search for drought resistant grasses to prevent another Dust Bowl situation), Roerich so severely embarrassed the U.S. government politically that Wallace dismissed him and even in Wallace's memoirs, attempted to conceal the fact that the two men had ever been associated. When the Republicans threatened to reveal his "eccentric" religious beliefs to the public, the Democrats countered by threatening to release information about Republican candidate Wendell Willkie's rumored extramarital affair with the writer Irita Van Doren. [ [http://www.adherents.com/people/pw/Henry_Wallace.html The religion of Henry A. Wallace, U.S. Vice-President ] ] The Republicans subsequently agreed not to publicize the "Guru" letters.

Wallace was elected in November 1940 as Vice President on the Democratic Party ticket with President Franklin D. Roosevelt. His inauguration took place on January 20, 1941, for the term ending January 20, 1945.

Roosevelt named Wallace chairman of the Board of Economic Warfare (BEW) and of the Supply Priorities and Allocations Board (SPAB) in 1941. Both positions became important with the U.S. entry into World War II. As he began to flex his newfound political muscle in his position with SPAB, Wallace came up against the conservative wing of the Democratic party in the form of Jesse H. Jones, Secretary of Commerce, as the two differed on how to handle wartime supplies.

On May 8, 1942, Wallace delivered his most famous speech, which became known by the phrase "Century of the Common Man", to the Free World Association in New York City. This speech, grounded in Christian references, laid out a positive vision for the war beyond the simple defeat of the Nazis. The speech, and the book of the same name which appeared the following year, proved quite popular, but it earned him enemies among the Democratic leadership, among important allied leaders like Winston Churchill, and among business leaders and conservatives.

Wallace spoke out during race riots in Detroit in 1943, declaring that the nation could not "fight to crush Nazi brutality abroad and condone race riots at home."

In 1943, Wallace made a goodwill tour of Latin America, shoring up support among important allies. His trip proved a success and helped persuade twelve countries to declare war on Germany. Regarding trade relationships with Latin America, he convinced the BEW to add "labor clauses" to contracts with Latin American producers. These clauses required producers to pay fair wages and provide safe working conditions for their employees and committed the United States to paying for up to half of the required improvements. This met opposition from the U.S. Department of Commerce.

After Wallace feuded publicly with Jesse Jones and other high officials, Roosevelt stripped him of all responsibilities and made it clear Wallace would not be on the ticket again. The Democratic Party, with concern being expressed privately about Roosevelt being able to make it through another term, chose Harry S. Truman as Roosevelt's running mate at the 1944 Democratic convention, after New Deal partisans failed to promote William O. Douglas.

ecretary of Commerce

Roosevelt placated Wallace by appointing him Secretary of Commerce. Wallace served in this post from March 1945 to September 1946, when he was fired by President Harry S. Truman because of disagreements about the policy towards the Soviet Union.

"The New Republic"

Following his term as Secretary of Commerce, Wallace became the editor of "The New Republic" magazine, using his position to criticize vociferously Truman's foreign policy. On the declaration of the Truman Doctrine in 1947, he predicted it would mark the beginning of "a century of fear."

The 1948 Presidential election

Wallace left his editorship position in 1948 to make an unsuccessful run as a Progressive Party candidate in the 1948 U.S. presidential election. His platform advocated an end to segregation, full voting rights for blacks, and universal government health insurance. His campaign was unusual for his time in that it included African American candidates campaigning alongside white candidates in the American South, and that during the campaign he refused to appear before segregated audiences or eat or stay in segregated establishments. The "Dear Guru" letters reappeared now and were published, seriously hampering his campaign. Even more damage was done to Wallace's campaign when several prominent journalists, including H.L. Mencken and Dorothy Thompson, publicly charged that Wallace and the Progressives were under the covert control of Communists. Wallace's subsequent refusal to publicly disavow any Communist support cost him the backing of many anti-Communist liberals and socialists, such as Norman Thomas.

Wallace suffered a decisive defeat in the election, to the Democratic incumbent Harry S. Truman. Gaining 2.4% of the popular vote, he ended up third runner-up behind Republican Thomas Edmund Dewey and Dixiecrat Strom Thurmond, and did not carry any states.

Later career

Wallace resumed his farming interests, and resided in South Salem, New York. During his later years he made a number of advances in the field of agricultural science. His many accomplishments included a breed of chicken that at one point accounted for the overwhelming majority of all egg-laying chickens sold across the globe. The Henry A. Wallace Beltsville Agricultural Research Center, the largest agricultural research complex in the world, is named for him.

In 1950, when North Korea invaded South Korea, Wallace broke with the Progressives and backed the U.S.-led war effort in the Korean War. In 1952, Wallace published "Where I Was Wrong", in which he explained that his seemingly-trusting stance toward the Soviet Union and Joseph Stalin stemmed from inadequate information about Stalin's excesses and that he, too, now considered himself an anti-Communist. He wrote various letters to "people who he thought had traduced him" and advocated the re-election of President Dwight D. Eisenhower in 1956.

In 1961, President-elect John F. Kennedy invited him to his inauguration ceremony, though he had supported Kennedy's opponent Richard Nixon. A touched Wallace wrote to Kennedy: "At no time in our history have so many tens of millions of people been so completely enthusiastic about an Inaugural Address as about yours.".

He died in Danbury, Connecticut, in 1965, of Lou Gehrig's disease. His remains were cremated at Grace Cemetery in Bridgeport, Connecticut, and the ashes interred in Glendale Cemetery, Des Moines, Iowa.


econdary sources

* "The Prince of Wallace's: Chickens, Communists and Henry Wallace," Times Literary Supplement, November 24, 2000.
* Culver, John C. and John Hyde. "American Dreamer: The Life and Times of Henry A. Wallace" (2002)
* [http://www.questia.com/PM.qst?a=o&d=95265575 Markowitz, Norman D. "The Rise and Fall of the People's Century: Henry A. Wallace and American Liberalism, 1941-1948" (1973)]
* John Maze and Graham White, "Henry A. Wallace: His Search for a New World Order". University of North Carolina Press. 1995
* [http://www.questia.com/PM.qst?a=o&d=33720554 Schapsmeier, Frederick H. "Henry A. Wallace of Iowa: the Agrarian Years, 1910-1940" (1968)]
* [http://www.questia.com/PM.qst?a=o&d=12006463 Schapsmeier, Edward L. and Frederick H. Schapsmeier. "Prophet in Politics: Henry A. Wallace and the War Years, 1940-1965" (1970)]
* [http://www.questia.com/PM.qst?a=o&d=9488659 Schmidt, Karl M. "Henry A. Wallace, Quixotic Crusade 1948" (1960)]
* [http://www.questia.com/PM.qst?a=o&d=105107998 White, Graham, and John Maze. "Henry A. Wallace: His Search for a New World Order" (1995)]
* [http://www.questia.com/PM.qst?a=o&d=28019558 Walker, J. Samuel Walker. "Henry A. Wallace and American Foreign Policy" (1976)]


* "Agricultural Prices " (1920)
* "New Frontiers " (1934)
* "America Must Choose " (1934)
* "Statesmanship and Religion " (1934)
* "Technology, Corporations, and the General Welfare " (1937)
* "The Century of the Common Man " (1943)
* "Democracy Reborn " (1944)
* "Sixty Million Jobs " (1945)
* "Toward World Peace " (1948)
* "The Price of Vision - The Diary of Henry A. Wallace 1942-1946" (1973), edited by John Morton Blum

External links

* [http://newdeal.feri.org/wallace/docs.htm Selected Works of Henry A. Wallace]
* [http://www.brainyquote.com/quotes/authors/h/henry_a_wallace.html Quotes by Henry A. Wallace]
* [http://www.winrock.org/wallace/wallacecenter/wallace/CCM.htm "The Century of the Common Man"] - the text of Wallace's 1942 speech.
* [http://www.winrock.org/what/wallace_center.cfm Henry A. Wallace Center for Agricultural & Environmental Policy]
* [http://sweetpeareview.blogspot.com/2007/07/empires-dont-care-what-people-want.html Henry A. Wallace was right about the Cold War] article at "Explorations Deep Into the Quagmire Known" blog.
* [http://www.tnr.com/doc.mhtml?pt=m2g1OkLsg5TrkOFXtVxLYB%3D%3D An Argument for a New Liberalism] by Peter Beinart, The New Republic, December 2, 2004 - argues that Harry S. Truman's defeat of Wallace in 1948 helped make the Democrats an anti-totalitarian party and sees present-day Democrats as "Wallacite", a term it coins to mean soft on totalitarianism and external threats.###@@@KEY@@@###

succession box
before= Arthur M. Hyde
title= United States Secretary of Agriculture
Served under: Franklin D. Roosevelt
years=March 4, 1933–September 4, 1940
after=Claude R. Wickard
succession box
before= John Nance Garner
title= Vice President of the United States
Served under: Franklin D. Roosevelt
years=January 20, 1941 – January 20, 1945
after=Harry S. Truman
succession box
before= Jesse Holman Jones
title= United States Secretary of Commerce
Served under: Franklin D. Roosevelt, Harry S. Truman
years=March 2, 1945 – September 20, 1946
after=W. Averell Harriman
succession box
before= John Nance Garner
title= Democratic Party Vice Presidential nominee
years=1940 (won)
after=Harry S. Truman


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