Date of Award

Summer 1953

Document Type


Degree Name

Master of Arts




The desire to discover the unknown is a characteristic within us all and, at times, it calls just a little louder than usual. There is no enjoyment in the reading of these pages other than than enjoyment of finding, thinking, and understanding that some of us seek.

Af ter studying the election of 1928, I have not only found items of history and political science, but all of the elements of social life narrowed down to the actions of people during a political campaign. Far beyond the reach of history we find in this story the actions of Americans and here particularly Virginians who are thrown into something that few understood; the result of their position does them proud.

The purpose in these pages is to draw out the items that add together to form the answer to the riddle.

Something happened! In the 1924 presidential election the Democrats carried 139, 716 votes to 73, 312 for the Republicans while in 1928 it was 140, 146 to 164, 609. Normalcy returned in 1932 with 203, 979 to 89, 637. Just what did happen?

One can not underestimate this startling interruption in the traditional Democratic realm; it was nothing short of a politico-social miracle. Events of this nature do not occur in the Old Dominion without unusual circumstances that naturally follow. What they were and how we can account for this abrupt reversal are our goals.