20.3--Domestic Politics (Truman & Eisenhower)


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  • FDR was considered a great President. Won us the war and got the country out of the Great Depression.
  • Politicians got letters saying, “No boats, no votes.”
    Most Americans had limited access to consumer goods during WWII. Now everyone wanted these goods and right away. The government eased these controls in July of 1946 and prices soared almost 25 percent. Wages couldn’t keep up with prices so people couldn’t enjoy the things they had sacrificed for so long.
    Workers demanded wage increases that they had foregone for the sake of war. 4.6 million workers went on strike. Strikes hit almost every industry.
    Railroad strike in 1946 hurt the economy. Truman asked Congress if he could draft the strikers into the army and then be able to order them as soldiers to keep working. The strike soon ended because of what the President proposed. The gov. also tried to limit the labor unions power by suing them. The United Mine Workers were fined 3.5 million.
  • Furious Union Leaders complained about the act and so Truman ended up vetoing it. Congress however passed the act, overriding the veto.
  • 21 point program- included legislation designed to promote full employment, a higher minimum wage, greater unemployment compensation, housing assistance.
    He kept adding proposals to the Fair Deal. In 1946 he asked for a national health insurance program and legislation to control atomic energy.
  • From a coalition of conservative Democrats and Republicans.
    This created a Council of Economic Advisors to advise the President.
    Popularity went from 87% to 32%. Republicans won a majority of seats in both houses. They worked hard to reduce taxes, reduce power of Federal Government, and blocked Truman’s liberal goals. They also stopped his civil rights initiatives.
  • He held prejudices that he had learned growing up.
    In a letter to his friend, “I am not asking for social equality, because no such things exist, but I am asking for equality of opportunity for all human beings, as long as I stay here, I am going to fight for that.”
    Discuss the steps needed to achieve their goals. They asked Truman to support Federal anti-lynching laws, abolish the poll tax, and establish a permanent board to prevent discriminatory acts in hiring.
    July 1948 – banned discrimination in the hiring of federal employees and ordered an end to segregation in the armed forces. Korean War made the armed forces make significant progress in ending segregation.
  • Governor of South Carolina
    Got support of the liberal wing of the Democrats. Wallace was Truman’s Secretary of Commerce, but resigned because he did not support Truman’s Cold War policies.
  • Gave Americans a sense of security.
    K is for the Korean War – Ike promised to end the war
    C is for communism and corruption
  • Known as Checkers Speech because of a particular part were Nixon admitted to receiving one gift. “It was a little cocker spaniel…. Black and white spotted. And our little girl… Tricia, the 6-year old – named it Checkers. And you know the kids love that dog and I just want to say this righ now, that regardless of what they say about it, we’re going to keep it.”
  • In response to his lack of leadership Ike said, “I’ll tell you what leadership is. It’s persuasion – and conciliation – and education – and patience. It’s long, slow tough work. That’s the only kind of leadership I know or believe in – or will practice.”
  • His attempts to balance the budget backfired. His cuts in government spending led to economic slumps. When this happened tax revenues dropped and the deficit grew larger instead of smaller. Economic growth numbers dropped and the country went through 3 recessions during his presidency.
  • It is an independent agency for space exploration.
    This would make sure the US could meet the scientific and technical challenge from the Soviet Union. The act provided millions of dollars in low-cost loans to college students and significant reductions in repayments if they ultimately became teachers. (I am not getting this! I am here cause I love to watch all of you learn!)
  • 20.3--Domestic Politics (Truman & Eisenhower)

    1. 1. Ch.20.3: Domestic Politics and Policies PP. 680-686
    2. 2. Key Qs • What were Truman’s domestic policies as outlined in his Fair Deal? • How was Truman able to win the election of 1948? Why is the election notable? • What was the Republican approach to government during the Eisenhower presidency?
    3. 3. Key Terms • Reconversion • Taft-Hartley Act • Modern Republicanism • National Defense Education Act
    4. 4. Setting the Scene • The 1950’s were very conservative - Both politically and culturally - Explain…. • Truman struggled with moving to a peacetime economy • Eisenhower used a low-key approach • Genial, reassuring manner made him one of the most popular Presidents after WWII
    5. 5. Truman’s Domestic Policies • Truman wanted to follow in FDR’s footsteps • He often appeared ill-prepared for the presidency • He offered a new patch of proposals in every speech
    6. 6. The Peacetime Economy • Truman’s first priority was reconversion • The social and economic transition form wartime to peacetime • Got most soldiers home by 1946 • Keeping wartime inflation in check was more difficult • Similar problems to those after WWI
    7. 7. The Peacetime Economy Cont. • Truman passed the TaftHartley Act: • Passed in 1947 • Allowed the President to declare a 80-day cooling off period in which strikers had to return to work • This was only allowed in industries that affected national interest • Also made union officials sign oaths saying that they were not Communists
    8. 8. Truman’s Fair Deal • Truman supported Roosevelt’s New Deal • He used the well-known name and called his program the Fair Deal • This extended the policies in the New Deal • Truman thought that the Government needs to play an active role in securing economic justice for all American citizens • He created a 21 point program
    9. 9. Fair Deal Cont. • Truman ran into tremendous political opposition • One measure that was passed was the Employment Act of 1946 • Truman lost a lot of support during the 1946 midterm elections
    10. 10. Truman on Civil Rights • He recognized that he had to take action on Civil Rights • He publicly supported civil rights • Change came very slowly • Met with African American leaders in 1946 • Created the biracial Committee on Civil Rights in December of 1946 • They were in charge of looking into race relations
    11. 11. The Election of 1948 • Truman ran for another term • His popularity diminished in his own party • Southern democrats broke off and created the Dixiecrat Party and nominated J. Strom Thurmond • Progressive Party was headed by Henry Wallace • Republican was Thomas E. Dewey
    12. 12. 1948 Election Results • All experts and polls had Dewey winning the election • Truman won in a big upset • Democrats won control of Congress • Truman finally was able to step out of FDR’s shadow
    13. 13. 1952/Eisenhower becomes President • Dwight Eisenhower was the commander in chief of the Allied forces • Known as Ike • During WWII, he forged agreements among Allied military commanders • Easy going charm • K1C2 strategy by the Republicans
    14. 14. The Checkers Speech • In response to allegations that Eisenhower’s running mate, Richard Nixon, was using a special fund • Accused of receiving illegal gifts • Nixon had done nothing wrong • People wanted Ike to dump Nixon from his ticket • He gave a speech denying these allegations • He told Americans to contact the Eisenhower campaign to say if he should stay on the ticket or not • He got overwhelming support to stay on the ticket
    15. 15. Eisenhower as President • He wanted to work behind the scenes • Critics thought this meant he lacked leadership • The American people approved of his style • In the 1956 election Dwight Eisenhower won and was reelected • Defeated IL Governor Adlai Stevenson in both elections
    16. 16. Modern Republicanism • “Conservative when it comes to money, liberal when it comes to human beings” • Priorities included cutting spending, reducing taxes, and balancing the budget • Smaller government, opposite direction of FDR & Truman • He was in favor of big business • Cabinet members were businessmen • “8 millionaires & a plumber” • But… • In 1954 and 1956 Social Security was extended to make 10 million more workers eligible • Minimum wage increased from 75 cents to $1
    17. 17. Eisenhower’s Presidency • His attempts to cut gov’t spending backfired • The economy slumped; growth slowed • The deficit grew • Economic recession in 53-54, 57, & 60-61
    18. 18. Meeting the Technology Challenge • In response to Sputnik the US government created the National Aeronautics and Space Administration (NASA) • Congress passed and Eisenhower signed into law the National Defense Education Act • Designed to improve science and math instruction in the schools • Low-cost loans to college students if they became teachers