Tag Archives: New Deal

Liberals Can be Tough

Harry Truman’s Liberalism is too often overlooked by historians… indoctrinated by the historiography of FDR and the New Deal.  Truman’s Fair Deal was every bit as progressive and in regards to civil rights, it far exceeded the progress of his predecessor.

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Truman was also dealing with the Red Storm rising… the ambitions of Stalin’s Russia in post-war Europe.  Roosevelt had established an amiable tone with the Soviets at Yalta- the direct precursor to the aggressive moves of the Red Army in Eastern Europe.  On April 23, 1945 Truman met with Soviet Foreign Minister Vyacheslav Molotov.  The new American President made it clear that policies were changing-

“I explained to him [Molotov] in words of one syllable…that cooperation is not a one-way-street.”
Molotov responded-
“I have never been talked to like that in my life….”
Truman clarified-
“Carry out your agreements and you won’t be talked to like that.”
Listen to me now....

Listen to me now….

The Buck was stopping….

 

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Mild about Harry

Harry Truman was not a popular politician in 1948… Labor unrest, foreign crises, and domestic communism scandals plagued his time in office- the bulk of FDR’s fourth term.  A Presidential term no one really wanted Truman to serve- FDR’s administration had ignored Truman in the first 80 days and became openly hostile during the transition.   Truman had no choice but to make key changes in the cabinet to counter the insubordination from Roosevelt’s aides.  Even Elanor Roosevelt questioned Truman’s foreign policy decisions- FDR’s widow was cordial with his successor, but had never enthusiastically endorsed his position.

Keeper of the New Deal faith

Keeper of the New Deal faith

FDR supporters saw Truman as… provincial, uneducated, and just plain average.  He lacked a college education, performed poorly in social situations, and didn’t possess  the charismatic presence that endeared so many Americans to  Roosevelt the icon.  Truman’s Midwest roots alienated him from the Democratic power structure of the Northeast.  Roosevelt diehards resented that he had replaced long-time confidant, Henry Wallace, on the 1944 ticket.  Truman angered them further when he dismissed Wallace from the cabinet for insubordination in 1946.  Wallace used this animosity to garner the Progressive party nomination in 1948.  The Roosevelt coalition had been irreparably broken, so Wallace had little chance of winning- but his campaign threatened Truman’s Democratic base.

Trust me, I'm President

Trust me, I’m President

This uncouth, undereducated, Midwest rube… was now trusted to keep the US out of World War 3, get the economy moving again, root-out communist subversives, and continue the struggle for civil rights-  all while his party divided twice beneath him during a reelection campaign.

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Mild about Harry

Harry Truman was not a popular politician in 1948… Labor unrest, foreign crises, and domestic communism scandals plagued his time in office- the bulk of FDR’s fourth term.  A Presidential term no one really wanted Truman to serve- FDR’s administration had ignored Truman in the first 80 days and became openly hostile during the transition.   Truman had no choice but to make key changes in the cabinet to counter the insubordination from Roosevelt’s aides.  Even Elanor Roosevelt questioned Truman’s foreign policy decisions- FDR’s widow was cordial with his successor, but had never enthusiastically endorsed his position.

Keeper of the New Deal faith

Keeper of the New Deal faith

FDR supporters saw Truman as… provincial, uneducated, and just plain average.  He lacked a college education, performed poorly in social situations, and didn’t possess  the charismatic presence that endeared so many Americans to  Roosevelt the icon.  Truman’s Midwest roots alienated him from the Democratic power structure of the Northeast.  Roosevelt diehards resented that he had replaced long-time confidant, Henry Wallace, on the 1944 ticket.  Truman angered them further when he dismissed Wallace from the cabinet for insubordination in 1946.  Wallace used this animosity to garner the Progressive party nomination in 1948.  The Roosevelt coalition had been irreparably broken, so Wallace had little chance of winning- but his campaign threatened Truman’s Democratic base.

Trust me, I'm President

Trust me, I’m President

This uncouth, undereducated, Midwest rube… was now trusted to keep the US out of World War 3, get the economy moving again, root-out communist subversives, and continue the struggle for civil rights-  all while his party divided twice beneath him during a reelection campaign.

Leave a comment

Filed under Ephemera