|My 1 page letter to JFK Presidential Library and Museum about supporting JFK achievements|
Friday, December 20, 2013
Posted by Matt Michigander at 3:37 PM
Tuesday, December 17, 2013
July 18, 1918-December 5, 2013
It was sad losing Nelson Mandela on December 5 2013 two days after my birthday. Nelson Mandela was a true inspiration to me because he fought to end apartheid and to fight for equal rights for minorities. As being the 1st African to become President of South Africa he had many achievements like improving relations with whites, free healthcare for young children and mothers who were pregnant, and created The Truth and Reconciliation Commission to investigate victims who had suffered under apartheid and gave pardon to people who told stories about how they were affected by apartheid laws. In 2012 for my African History class at Washtenaw Community College I was proud and was honored to do research and write an essay about Mandela's life and his achievements as President of South Africa and fighting against apartheid.
Nelson Mandela played a big role in South Africa to end segregation and finally put an end to apartheid. Born in a tribe he later began a journey into politics. Nelson fought for ending apartheid and it cost him a long time in prison. In 1999 Mandela was released from prison. He later became the 1st black African president of South Africa.
Nelson was born on July 18 1918. His parents were Gadla Henry Mphakanyiswa. His real name was Rolihiahi, but it was changed because his teacher gave him the name Nelson. The schools during Nelson’s childhood was mixed with blacks and whites after the British took over. (Kramer 8-9)
Before Nelson Mandela ran away, he went to Fort Hare University which was a college in South Africa. Mandela studied government and law. Mandela ran away to Joannesburg because his father was setting up an arranged marriage. When Nelson arrived in Joannesburg he went to look for a job. He later met a man named Walter Sisulu. Sisulu helped get Nelson a job working at a law firm called Witkin, Sidlisky, and Eidelman was a white firm. Nelson worked as a clerk at the law firm. Nelson made about 4 dollars working at the firm ( Kramer 30-35).
Apartheid was a big problem in South Africa. Apartheid started in 1948. The government had many laws discriminating against black Africans. In South Africa jobs separated whites from blacks. The Mixed Marriage Act banned marriage between different races. Apartheid also led to separations when using drinking fountains and restrooms. Nelson became active in rights for black Africans and ending apartheid that separated the races. In 1942 he joined the ANC (African National Congress) a campaign to fight against oppression of blacks. (Kramer 38-39)
In 1944 Nelson got married to his first wife Evelyn Mase who was a nurse. They had two sons which were Thembi and Makgatho, and a daughter, who died. Later they were divorced due to Nelson focusing on the campaign to end apartheid.
Nelson was the leader of the ANC and launched a campaign to have volunteers to strike and refuse to buy products from places. He traveled around South Africa to get volunteers to risk themselves by breaking the laws in areas that were designated for whites. However these plans didn’t stop the government’s apartheid. By doing this Nelson faced serious consequences. The consequences were that he could not leave the town Johannesburg and was banned from going to ANC meetings. These consequences made him have to make a choice of going to jail or not if he quit being a leader for the African National Congress. He chose to step down from being the leader of the ANC. After quitting leading the ANC he kept on working to end apartheid secretly with the ANC. The ANC and Nelson worked to have blacks Africans come to meetings to discuss about how they wanted to end racism and how the government should rule. This meeting was called ‘People of Congress’ and it took place in Johannesburg. This meeting resulted in Nelson Mandela getting arrested along with other members of ANC. Nelson and other members were accused by the government of planning to overthrow them. The prosecutors and the government put them on trial. The trial ended because there was no evidence of them planning to overthrow the government. (Porgrund 35-37 and Kramer 40-41)
After trying to use a nonviolent approach to convince the government to end these segregation laws, Nelson decided to create a group called a Spear of a Nation (Umkhonto we Sizwe). The Spear of The Nation was an organization that would cause destruction of property, but no harming of people. The group would aim to destroy power stations and government offices. Nelson and other members of the Spear of Nation would hide out. When Mandela came back from South Africa he was arrested and sent to trial. He was accused of leaving the country and staging attacks on the government. The trial was known as The Rivonia Trial. The trial took place in Pretoria. Nelson gave a speech “I Am Prepared To Die.” In the trial Mandela explained why segregated laws made him fight for his rights and all rights for black Africans. He said, “I have dedicated myself into this struggle for the African people.” At the trial he said, “I have cherished the ideal of a democratic and free society. It is an ideal for which I am prepared to die” ( Kramer 43 45).
After the trial Mandela and other members of the Spear of Nation were sent to a prison which was on Robben Island to face their punishment. They were not getting executed. When Nelson was in prison he had very limited with food and contact with visitors. In the prison Nelson and other prisoners had to break rocks and at other times they were sent to do labor in the hot heat. But Nelson didn’t give up. He fought the prison system to give more rights to prisoners. The rights the prisoners got was having classes to improve their education. Mandela had a cell which was tiny and didn’t have a bed. The prison had schedules like in the early morning the prisoners would clean the jail. Later in the afternoon they would break rocks. Mandela faced many sadness. He lost his mom in 1968 and Tembi, his son with the 1st wife Evelyn, died in an accident. Nelson could not attend both of their funerals. While in prison Nelson wrote about his struggles with apartheid called the “Long Walk To Freedom” (Brown 66-75).
Protests were happening while Nelson was in prison. Another group that campaigned to end apartheid was The Black Consciousness. The Black Consciousness was led by Steve Biko. The group was a movement with ideas that blacks could not depend on the government to give them freedom. Another nation that pressured South Africa to end their racism laws was the United States. They both were allies during the cold war however people in the U.S. began to protest. Companies that did business in South Africa started to not give money to help South Africa’s economy. In South Africa after Steve Biko was killed, many people from different countries started to protest. A man named Oliver Tambo started a campaign to bring Nelson from jail. The government including the prime minister asked Mandela to end violence and then he would be released. This deal didn’t happen Nelson rejected the offer. Zindzi, Nelson’s daughter with Winnie read her father’s reason for rejecting the government’s offer. Mandela stated, “I am not a violent man. Let Botha (the prime minister) renounce violence. Let him say that he will cherish my own freedom dearly, but I care for more freedom. I cannot and will not give any undertaking at a time when I and you, the people are not free. You freedom and mine cannot be separated. I will return” (Brown 83-91).
F.W. de Klerk was elected to be president of South Africa in 1989. F.W. de Klerk was a member of the National Party that allowed segregation laws. F.W. de Klerk played an important role in ending the government’s apartheid laws that had harmed black African’s rights. As president he released political prisoners that were members of ANC. He also ended the ban on anti- discrimination groups ( Kramer 52-53).
Nelson Mandela was finally freed on Feburary 11, 1990. After he was freed he would continue negotiations with F.W. de Klerk, president of South Africa, to help rebuild the nation and to have equal rights for black Africans. The negotiations resulted in having a constitution which gave rights to black Africans and to have a mix race involved in politics, and also had mixed races vote in elections for the president and the national assembly. Nelson decided to run for the 1994 presidential election and ran on the African National Congress ticket. Mandela traveled around South Africa to campaign. His campaign slogan was “A Better Life for All.” His presidential campaign had spread the message about restoring South Africa to a better life by having health care, improving on education, and creating jobs. In the 1994 election Mandela won the election with 62 percent of the vote. (Brown 106-113)
Mandela was sworn as president on May 10. One of his goals was to improve the relations with whites by having the businesses run by whites stay in the country to stabilize the economy. Healthcare was another thing that happened under Mandela’s presidency. He signed a law which gave young children and mothers that are pregnant free healthcare. The Truth and Reconciliation Commission was created by Mandela in 1995. The Truth and Reconciliation Commission was a group that would investigate victims that had suffered through apartheid and had been abused by their laws. Many people told stories about how apartheid had affected them. The commission also pardoned criminals who gave their stories about apartheid. The commission brought out many horrifying stories like Africans were murdered and how the government played a part in the discrimination laws. (Kramer 56-57 and Brown 114-119)
Mandela came from a tribal village. When he went to Johannesburg he experience prejudice by the color of his skin. Nelson never gave up the fight to have rights for black Africans and every South African. Being in jail was a painful experience but he never gave up. Mandela became the first African to be president of South Africa. As President he had many achievements.
Brown, Laaren. Nelson Mandela. New York: DK Publishing, 2006. 66-119. Print.
Kramer, Ann. Mandela The Rebel Who Led His Nation To Freedom. Washington, D.C.: National Geographic, 2005. 8-53. Print.
Pogrund, Benjamin. Nelson Mandela- Leader Against Apartheid: San Diego: BlackBirch Press, 2003. 35-37. Print
“Frontline Chronology The Long Walk Of Nelson Mandela.” Frontline PBS, WGBH.
2012. Web. 1 Apr. 2012.
Posted by Matt Michigander at 7:20 PM
Dwight D. Eisenhower
Dwight D. Eisenhower has had a significant role in the twentieth century as a World War II commander and then becoming the 34th president of the United States. In the twentieth century, the nation went through trouble with discrimination against blacks and having a gruesome war in Korea with the U.S. losing the war. With new ideas Eisenhower worked to make the country strong by creating a highway system and by working to improve civil rights.
Eisenhower was born in Denison, Texas, on October 14, 1890, but moved at the age of 16 to Abilene, Kansas. His parents were David Eisenhower and Ida Elizabeth Stower. Dwight had five brothers. In his teen years, he went to Abilene high school in Kansas and graduated in 1909. Before going to West Point, Eisenhower worked at Bell Springs Creamery where he would cook and sell foods like sweet corn, apples, and other food. Before Dwight went to West Point, he spent time working on jobs to support his brother going to college. In 1911 Eisenhower registered at the United States Military Academy in West Point, New York. Dwight Eisenhower married Mamie Doud in 1916. They had two sons. However, one son named Doud died from scarlet fever at the age of 3. Their other son was John Eisenhower. (“All About IKE”)
During World War II Dwight Eisenhower played a major role in planning the battles to fight the Germans. On November 1942 Dwight D. Eisenhower was working on a plan called Operation Torch. Operation Torch was a plan for the Allies to invade Africa to drive out the Nazis. Another battle plan that Eisenhower worked on was D-Day. The D-Day plan had the British and the U.S. ships land in Normandy Beach so troops could enter into Europe to free Italy, France, and head into Germany. D-Day was supposed to be on June 4, but the plan was delayed due to a storm, so D-Day was moved to June 6, 1944. World War II made Eisenhower opposed to wars in the future. (“Dwight”)
After World War II Eisenhower became the President of Columbia University from 1948 to 1953. After being President of Columbia University, Eisenhower decided to run for the 1952 Presidential election after Republicans persuaded him to run. (All About IKE) In the 1952 Presidential election he ran with Richard Nixon, a former U.S. Senator from California, as his vice president. He and Nixon ran against Adlai Stevenson, a Governor of Illinois, and John Sparkman, a Senator from Alabama, who were Democrats. In the Eisenhower campaign Dwight Eisenhower campaigned about ending the Korean War, about improving Civil Rights, and about fighting corruption in the government. On November 4, 1952, Dwight Eisenhower won the election with 55% of the votes and won 41 states, while Stevenson won only 44% of the votes and 9 states. (“Dave Leip’s Atlas of U.S. Presidential Elections”)
Eisenhower’s first term focused on ending the Korean War. The Korean War was started in the Truman Administration to protect South Korea from Communist North Korea. The war was very bloody and many U.S. troops were killed. Another thing in the Korean War was that the Red Army from China allied with North Korea in fighting the South Koreans and the U.S. troops. Eisenhower ended the Korean War by entering in the Korean Armistice Agreement. The Korean Armistice Agreement divided Korea at the 38th parallel with North Korea a communist government and South Korea a democratic government. Also the 38th parallel blocked people from entering both sides. (“All About IKE”)
President Eisenhower’s foreign policy included the Eisenhower Doctrine. The Eisenhower Doctrine fought communists by supplying money and weapons to the Middle Eastern states including Egypt. The Eisenhower Doctrine was also created by the Secretary of State Dulles. (“All About IKE”)
While Eisenhower was president he worked on taking down Joseph McCarthy, a Republican Senator from California. Joseph McCarthy was leading anti-communists and was accusing people, including writers and actors, of being communist. Eisenhower was working with a group of people to find a way to stop McCarthy’s extreme views. This group had Herbert Brownell, Sherman Adams, and Henry Lodge. They had a plan to have the army testify at the McCarthy hearings. When the army was at the McCarthy hearings, McCarthy accused the army of being communist, and this was on television and the public saw his radical accusation. This plan made Joe McCarthy lose his Senate seat and stop his anti-communist movement. (“Dwight”)
Eisenhower decided to run for a second term as president in the election of 1956. Eisenhower still had his running mate Richard Nixon for vice president. His democratic opponent was Adlai Stevenson who ran against Eisenhower in the 1952 Presidential election. Eisenhower was able to win due to his popularity and ended the Korean War like he promised in the 1952 Presidential Election. Overall in the election Eisenhower won 57.4% of the votes and 41 states, while Stevenson, his democratic opponent, won only 42% of the votes and 7 states. (“Dave Leip’s Atlas of U.S. Presidential Elections”)
In Eisenhower’s second term Eisenhower played a big role at home when he was president because he created programs to help improve transportation and also increase defense spending to compete with the Soviets because of The Cold War. He also protected African Americans from getting hurt by whites when they would enter a school that was desegregated by a Supreme Court case called Brown vs. Board of Education.
During Eisenhower’s presidency Eisenhower was a supporter for Civil Rights. The Supreme Court case Brown vs. Board of Education decided that “separate, but equal” in education was unconstitutional, and it also overturned Plessy vs. Ferguson’s decisions that separate, but equal was constitutional. This law made schools integrate black and white. Governor Orval Faubus of Arkansas, a southern Democrat who was against civil rights and integrating schools refused to allow blacks to go into white schools. The governor ordered state troopers to stop Africans Americans from going to school. When Faubus did this, Eisenhower sent the army to protect nine African Americans going to Little Rock Central High School, so they would not get attacked by whites. These student were was known as the Little Rock Nine. (Korda pg. 696-699)
The Federal Aid Highway Act of 1956 was passed by the 84th Congress, and it was signed by Eisenhower. The Federal Aid Highway Act of 1956 helped fix roads and build highways to improve transportation and help the economy grow. The Federal Highway Act spent about 25 billion dollars on this project. These 25 billion dollars were used to build 41,000 miles of the highway system. The Highway Trust Fund handled the money where it would collect taxes from fuel, automobiles, and automobile products. The reason that Eisenhower wanted to build the highway was because when he was a general he volunteered to be in a military vehicle that traveled on the Lincoln highway to California. On this journey the road conditions were badly damaged and bridges were shattered, but the vehicle was successful at reaching San Francisco, California. (“Dwight”)
Eisenhower’s presidency focused on improving the defense due to The Cold War against the Soviet Union. Eisenhower signed the National Defense Education Act in 1958. The National Defense Education Act was to improve education and hire teachers to teach math, science, and foreign language. It also was used to help motivate people to go into colleges. This act was used to compete in defense-related fields with the Soviet Union. (“Dwight”)
In conclusion Eisenhower was an effective president. His presidency had many achievements like ending the Korean War, ending McCarthy’s extreme views of anti-communism, creating jobs on infrastructures, and being a supporter for Civil Rights. Dwight also helped the Allied military defeat the Nazis in World War II with planning many battles in North Africa and D-Day. These battles were a success for the Allies to help win the war. Eisenhower was known for being a moderate Republican. As a moderate Republican Eisenhower was liberal on social issues like improving social security, increasing federal spending to create jobs, and improving on education. Nowadays politicians seem to forget that transportation and infrastructure work create jobs and that they need federal support. During Eisenhower’s presidency the economy had low inflation and the national debt didn’t increase. Eisenhower’s policies led to a better economy due to his jobs strategy.
“All About IKE.” Eisenhower Presidential Library and Museum.
< http://www.eisenhower.archives.gov/ >. National Archives and Record Administration. n.d, Web. 11 Nov. 2011.
Barber, James., and Amy Pastan, Presidents and First Ladies. New York: DK Publishing, Inc., 2002. Print.
Bausum, Anna. Our Country’s Presidents. Washington, D.C.: National Geographic Society, 2005. Print.
Dwight D. Eisenhower: Commander-In-Chief. Tom Selleck, narrator. 2005. A&E Biography television series. 2005. DVD.
Leip, Dave. “Dave Leip’s Atlas of U.S. Presidential Elections”.
< http://uselectionatlas.org/> Leip, Dave, 2004. Web. 13 November 2011.
Korda, Michael. IKE: An American Hero. New York: HarperCollins Publishers, 2007. Print.
Weintraub, Stanley. 15 Stars Eisenhower, MacArthur, Marshall: Three Generals who saved the American Century. New York: Free Press, 2007. Print.
Posted by Matt Michigander at 3:34 PM
Harry S. Truman
Harry S. Truman played a significant role in world events when he became President after FDR had died. His experience was being a farmer, a WWI captain of an army battery, a haberdashery, a Jackson County Judge, a U.S. Senator from Missouri, and the Vice President under FDR. Truman’s presidency focused on the ending of WWII with Japan and dealing with what to do with Germany after World War II. Truman had to make a tough decision to drop the atomic bomb on Japan in order to end the war. He helped Europe after World War II, which was damaged in the war. He sent aid through the Marshall Plan. He was the first President to support civil rights by issuing an executive order to end discrimination in the army.
In Lamar, Missouri, Truman was born May 8, 1884, to Martha Truman and John Truman. Harry never went to college due to his dad’s gambling problems, so he headed to Kansas City to look for jobs around age 17. In Kansas City, he worked at many jobs to support his family such as, a mailroom clerk for a newspaper, a timekeeper that helped schedule the railroad construction workers, and a bank clerk (Truman). When the U.S. was entering World War I in 1917 Truman signed up to join the U.S. Army. With his poor eyesight, he only was able to get into the army by practicing memorizing an eye chart before the examination. During World War I when he was in Europe, he was selected to be captain of Battery D. While he was captain of Battery D in Germany, there was a battle during the night against the Germans. The Germans were more powerful, and he was able to lead his men to safety without losing anyone (Truman).
After World War I, Harry married Bess Wallace at a church in 1919 and later had a daughter, Margaret, in 1924. Truman went into business with Eddie Jacobson, his close friend from WWI, who also served in Battery D. In Kansas City Jacobson and Truman opened up a haberdashery. Their business dealt with making men’s clothes and adjusting sizes for their clothes. During the Great Depression, their business failed. Tom Pendergast recruited Harry to run for Jackson County Judge in Kansas City. The Jackson County Judge’s responsibility was determining how the money could be used to fund projects to help communities. His campaign focused on building good roads to help reduce traffic, creating more jobs for county employees, and improving pay wages for workers. As a county judge Truman helped improve relationships with the Catholic, Irish, and black communities and helped improve Jackson County by getting funds to build highways (Hargrove 33-37).
In the 1934 Senate election, Truman decided to run for the U.S. Senate for Missouri as a Democrat. As a result of the election, Truman won the Senate seat for Missouri. As a Senator, he supported FDR’s New Deal programs (Truman). After his reelection for a second term in the U.S. Senate, Senator Truman started to investigate the military industry due to misuse and abuse in military spending. During his investigation, Truman traveled to different military work industries and had conversations with employees which resulted in Truman finding that the industries had not produced very much for the war, nor were the workers who were paid in the industries actually working. After doing investigations into the military spending, Truman created The Truman Committee, which was to do investigations (Truman; Foley 18-19; Ferrell 104-105). FDR was running for a fourth term for presidency for the 1944 Presidential Election. The Democratic Party helped FDR pick Truman to be his vice presidential nominee instead of Henry Wallace who was previously FDR’s vice president or James Byrnes, a former senator. The reason FDR didn’t pick Wallace or Byrnes was that some senators didn’t like Wallace due to Wallace’s lack of experience in politics and Byrnes was a segregationist who was from the South. Truman didn’t want to be the Vice President nominee because he believed that the he was not ready for it. However, in June 1944 Truman agreed to be FDR’s running mate after The Democratic Party Chairman Bob Hannegann and Truman had a telephone conference with FDR. During the telephone conference, FDR warned Truman that if he did not accept the nomination he would break up the party (Truman; Ferrell 106-110).
After FDR’s death in 1945, Truman became the 34th President of the United States. In his first term, Truman dealt with deciding what will happen after World War II with Germany and dealing with war against Japan. Harry Truman went to the Potsdam Conference to meet with Winston Churchill, Prime Minister of Great Britain, and Joseph Stalin, Head of the USSR, to discuss what to do after defeating Germany and dealing with Japan. In The Potsdam Conference, Truman wanted Stalin to let Eastern Europe, which was controlled by Stalin, to have free elections. Stalin refused Truman’s idea. As a result of the Potsdam Conference, the Allies agreed that Germany should be divided up and Japan must surrender (Truman). Truman received the news that the Manhattan Project finished building the atomic bomb. Truman had a hard decision about whether to use the atomic bomb on Japan or not. First, Truman had warned the Japanese military to surrender along with warning them about the bomb. The Japanese refused his offer and warning. On August 1945, Truman gave the military the order to use the atomic bomb. The U.S. plane called Enola Gray dropped the 1st bomb on Hiroshima in Japan. This resulted in many Japanese being killed and some of them had radiation poisoning. After the first bombing on Hiroshima, Japan still refused demands from the U.S. to surrender. With another warning from Truman, Japan still ignored his request and another bomb was dropped on Nagasaki. After the two atomic bombs had dropped, Japan finally surrendered. Truman’s main reason for the use of the atomic bomb was to reduce the deaths of American troops and to end the War with Japan quickly (Truman, Foley 28-37).
In domestic affairs, Harry Truman became the first President to support Civil Rights. At The NAACP, Truman gave a speech at the Lincoln Memorial calling for every American to have equal rights. In February 1948, Truman gave a speech in Congress about Civil Rights by making lynching a federal crime, ending the poll tax in elections, and ending segregation in the army (Truman). Executive Order 9981 was designed to end segregation in the military for minorities like African Americans, Asian Americans, and Mexican Americans. The Executive Order 9981 also formed a Civil Rights Commission, which is now called the Fahy Committee. The Fahy Committee investigated discrimination in the army and other places (Foley 66-70). Another thing that Truman tried in his presidency was to try to have reforms passed like healthcare for everyone, education improvements, and help for farmers along with veterans and their benefits, and to end discrimination in housing under his idea called the Fair Deal. Congress refused to pass Truman’s ideas due to the many conservatives in the Republican Party because they didn’t want to expand the government and many Southern Democrats who didn’t want to support minorities’ rights (Foley62-64). However Congress passed a few parts of Truman’s Fair Deal like setting the minimum wage to 75 cents an hour, creating houses to help the poor under the Housing Act, and adding some benefits in social security (“Truman Delivers”).
The Cold War started during the Truman administration with the Soviet Union taking over Eastern Europe and spreading communism. Western Europe was damaged as a result of WWII. As a response to Europe being damaged by the war, Truman and George Marshall worked together to create an economic package called the Marshall Plan, where the U.S. government would send 17 million dollars to European countries to help rebuild what was damaged. Another thing the Marshall Plan required was that Europeans buy American goods in order to help the U.S. economy (Truman). Truman asked Congress to send aid to Greece and later Turkey to help fight against the spread of communism under the Soviet Union in March 1947. The 80th Congress, which was controlled by Republicans, passed a bill to send aid and send military weapons to Greece and Turkey to fight against Communism, which was called the Truman Doctrine. The reason Truman wanted to help Turkey and Greece is that he was afraid that if communism took over Greece and Turkey, then the Soviet Union would take over other countries in the Mediterranean and control the sea (Jenkins 101; Foley 50-53).
Joseph Stalin, who was the head of the Soviet Union, blocked access to West Berlin by stopping the transportation of supplies, which was through shipping and through trains (Truman). As a result of Stalin’s blocking supplies, many people who lived in Berlin were starving and many of them even didn’t have medical supplies (Truman). When Stalin blocked supplies from going to West Berlin, Truman responded by having U.S. army airplanes fly to Berlin, and they delivered supplies by dropping them into the city, which was called the Berlin Airlift. The Berlin Airlift helped many Berliners get supplies and it reduced hunger. Another result of the Berlin Airlift was that the Soviets ended the blockage of Berlin and Truman didn’t have to get into conflict with them by sending troops (Foley 56-57).
Truman decided to run for a second term in the Presidential Election of 1948. During the Presidential election, The Democratic Party had a problem because many Southern Democrats had split into another party called the Dixiecrats, who were in favor of segregation and opposed Truman, who favored Civil Rights. Strom Thurmond, who was a Southern Democrat and the governor of South Carolina, became the running mate for the Dixiecrat party. Another thing that split the Democratic Party was Henry Wallace, who had been vice president under FDR and also had previously served under Truman’s administration, became the Progressive Party nominee due to disagreeing with Truman on being aggressive on foreign policy against the Soviet Union. For the Republican Party, Thomas Dewey, who was the governor of New York, and had been previously an opponent of FDR during the 1944 Presidential Election was in the race. In the 1948 Election, Truman did a “Whistle-Stop” campaign where he would travel on trains to meet with voters. He warned that if the Republicans took control of the Presidency, then the country would go back into depression, and they would get rid of FDR New Deal Programs that played a part in helping the economy. In the election Truman won 28 states, while Dewey won 16, and Thurmond, a Dixiecrat won, 4 states. Truman was able to win a second term because he was able to get African Americans’ votes by endorsing Civil Rights and got votes from people who benefited from the New Deal programs (“American President”).
After President Truman won reelection, he had to deal with the Cold War. In 1949, Truman created an alliance with the Western Europe countries that had not fallen under communism and with Canada by creating the North Atlantic Treaty Organization (NATO). The goal of NATO was to work together to have a safe world and to promote democracy. The North Atlantic Treaty Organization also allowed Spain and Poland to join. Later, Italy joined NATO, but some countries didn’t want Italy to join due to being the enemy in WWII. Another thing that the nations in NATO agreed on was that if one of the nations got attacked by an enemy then the other nations would go against the aggressor (Foley 54-55).
Before the Korean War, Korea was free from Japan’s control after World War II ended. Korea played a huge part in the Cold War because the Soviets influenced the north part of Korea to be communist while the south part of Korea didn’t want to be a communist so the U.S. supported the South. With the Cold War, Korea had different elections. The North picked Kim II Sung as a leader with Communist views and with his election it created the Democratic People’s Republic of Korea. The South picked Syngman Rhee and created the Republic of Korea. As a result of two different elections in June1950, the North went into the South and took over. When the North took over the South, Truman decided to go to the U.N to get them to declare war instead of Congress. U.N. decided to declare war and sent U.N. troops and U.S. troops to Korea to fight against the North. General Douglass McArthur, who was a U.S. general in the Pacific War in World War II, led the U.N. Forces to fight. McArthur was able to free Seoul from the North and moved to push the North from the 38th parallel (Foley 74-80). Truman wanted McArthur to only push the North up to the 38th Parallel and not to cross the parallel because Truman got a warning from the Chinese that if they advanced to the North the Chinese would get involved in allying with the North. McArthur didn’t listen to Truman’s advice and advanced through. As a result of McArthur not listening to Truman’s warning, the Chinese Communist army became allies with the North and killed a lot of troops. The result of attacks from the Chinese, McArthur had plans that included asking to use the atomic bomb on China and to invade China to get rid of communism. Truman didn’t agree with McArthur and fired him because Truman believed that attacking China would create World War III and more troops would be lost (Truman).
In the Presidential Election of 1952, Truman decided not to run for reelection due to believing that he would not be reelected again because the Korean War was not winnable. Americans were being killed and China gave the North a strong military. Also, another reason he didn’t run for reelection was that Joseph McCarthy criticized Truman for not doing enough to battle communist ideas (Truman). When Truman was not running for reelection for the Democratic nomination, he endorsed Adlai Stevenson, the Governor of Illinois, to become the Democratic Presidential nominee. The result of 1952 Presidential election was that Dwight Eisenhower, a World War II general and the Republican Presidential nominee, won. After his presidency, Truman wrote Years of Decisions and Years of Trial and Hope which describe his presidency and his decision on foreign policy. A presidential library was opened in his hometown in Missouri, where the museum focused on his life before his presidency through to his presidency (Foley 87-89).
In conclusion, from being a farmer, a WWI captain of Battery D, a county judge, a two term U.S. Senator from Missouri, a Vice President under FDR’s fourth term, and finally becoming the President of the United States, Harry Truman changed the world. Truman made history by becoming the first President to support civil rights and by breaking with his own party, which favored segregation that included reforms to end racial segregation. Truman integrated the military, which benefited minorities groups, and created a Civil Rights Commission to investigate discrimination. “The Fair Deal” was another plan that Truman envisioned to help people such as civil rights legislation, helping improve workers with benefits, educating everyone, providing people with universal health care, and instituting tough civil rights legislation. The Fair Deal played a big role in the future. President Truman had to play a critical role in ending World War II by deciding whether to drop the atomic bomb on Japan or not. After the war Truman helped Europe recover from being damaged in World War II with money, aid, and supplies under the Marshall Plan. He built alliances with Greece and Turkey by giving money and weapons to help them fight the aggression of the Soviet Union. He assisted many citizens of Berlin with the Berlin Airlift by allowing planes to drop aid into Berlin. His downfall was the Korean War, which was hard to end. Overall, Truman was a great president with new ideas to help improve equal rights and relations with European countries that had not fallen under communism.
“American President: Harry S. Truman.” Millercenter. 7 Nov. 2013. Web.
Donovan, Robert. Tumultuous Years: The Presidency of Harry S. Truman 1949- 1953. New York: Norton, 1967. Print.
Ferrell, Robert. Truman: A Centenary Remembrance. New York: Viking, 1984. Print.
Foley, Michael. Great American Presidents Harry S. Truman. Philadelphia: Chelsea House, 2004. Print
Hargrove, Jim. Encyclopedia of Presidents: Harry Truman. Chicago: Childrens, 1987. Print.
Jenkins, Roy. Truman. New York: Harper and Row, 1986. Print.
Truman. Jason Robards, narrator. 1997. American Experience. 1997. DVD.
“Truman delivers his Fair Deal Speech”.History.com. 9 Nov. 2013. Web.
Posted by Matt Michigander at 2:29 PM
Showing my respect and a moment of silence for my favorite President Richard Nixon and his wife. They have inspired me to learn new goals, learn not to repeat the same mistakes in history, how government can help society, being a peacemaker can make a society better instead of wars, equality for all minorities and gender including different sexuality instead of discrimination, protect the environment with alternative energy and reduce pollution.
"The Greatest Honor History Can Bestow Is The Tittle of PeaceMaker"
Patricia Ryan Nixon
"Even When People Can't Speak Your Language They Can Tell If You Have Love In Your Heart"
Posted by Matt Michigander at 7:50 AM
My Experience at The Richard Nixon Museum
Experience can change a person’s perspective. Usually one believes what one hears about from other people instead of doing one’s own research. In my history classes from high school to college most teachers focus on President Nixon’s downfall in Watergate instead of teaching his achievements as president and how he came to be the President after being born poor. After hearing my teacher’s lecture about him I started to think Nixon was a bad president with no achievements. In the lectures I heard about Nixon’s Watergate scandal and the secret bombings on the North Vietnamese base during the Vietnam War which made Nixon look bad. I used to think people were rich before becoming president. I was surprised about how Nixon worked to promote peace. The Richard Nixon Presidential Museum made me change my opinion about Nixon.
My mom and I arrived at Richard Nixon’s Museum in Yorba Linda, California, around 11:00 am. The building outside was beautiful and had a huge backyard where his birthplace, his gravesite with his wife, and his helicopter that Johnson, Kennedy, and Ford also used until it was retired. I did not expect to have a museum change my perspective.
Before going into the exhibit we saw a 30-minute video which was a review of Nixon’s life and his accomplishments. The video had uplifting music and made me focus and pay attention. The video moved me because Nixon had a hard life and was poor before he ran for Congress. I started to understand what it was like living in a poor home, having to work at a minimum wage job to support himself for school and for housing, and not having the money for college. Nixon had a brother named Harold who died because of tuberculosis. Nixon worked at the Nixon Grocery store, which was run by his family. Nixon went to Whittier College in order to major in history and government.
As I walked in the museum they had statues honoring the world’s greatest leaders in the world chosen by Nixon himself. I asked myself why Nixon wanted to honor these particular world leaders and what did they do to influence him? The world leaders that Nixon picked included Anwar Sadat, Winston Churchill, and Charles de Gaulle. Anwar Sadat worked to have peace with Israel. Winston Churchill promoted democracy and fair elections. My mom asked the staff a question ,“Why did Nixon pick certain leaders as the world’s greatest leaders?” The staff said, “The reason Nixon picked them was because they worked hard to make a difference in the world and they all promoted peace.” I was surprised that a former president would go out of his way to honor some of the world’s leaders. My opinion started to gradually change.
His presidential exhibit was fascinating in the many things that Nixon promised to do when he ran for president in the 1968 election. He promised to end the war in Vietnam and improve the environment with legislation. After a few months Nixon withdrew troops from Vietnam. His achievements were ending the war in Vietnam, opening relations with China, creating the EPA, helping minorities get jobs, creating the Clean Water Act, and starting The War on Cancer, including federal spending to help people research to cure cancer. In the exhibits I started to realize how much these achievements made a difference in people’s lives and how it helped improve the future. I started to feel more confident that Nixon was a good president who worked hard to achieve many goals.
We walked outside and saw Nixon’s birthplace which was where Nixon lived during his childhood. His birthplace was actually on the museum site before the museum was built. As my mom and I walked inside the house we could see the poor furnishings. The house was small for a 7 person family. His father built the house. His birthplace made me realize how hard Nixon’s childhood was being poor. The positive thought I had was that Nixon was able to overcome being poor, and he got a good education and had many achievements.
On the outside of the museum there were the gravesites of Richard Nixon and Pat Nixon. Their gravesite had very good quotes. The quotes were very moving to me. Nixon’s quote was “The greatest honor history can bestow is the title of a peacemaker.” This quote made me realize that making peace with a country is a big achievement. I decided to take a moment of silence and show some respect. I started feeling sad that they died, but I learned how much they had made a difference in the world.
After going through the exhibit we stopped at the gift shop. The exhibits changed my perspective and I started to like Nixon. There was a picture of Elvis with Nixon, a picture of Pat and Richard Nixon, and a book filled with pictures of him and his presidency. After a few minutes I decided to get a book about Nixon and his presidency. The reason I picked it was because I was amazed and inspired by his work on making a difference.
In conclusion perspective can be changed when you experience something. I also learned that it is better to research issues or study topics before you follow someone else’s statements. The Richard Nixon Museum changed my thoughts on Nixon in a positive way. Even though Nixon’s biggest falldown was Watergate he did some good things as president by improving everyday lives and achieving peace. Sometimes it is surprising to find out about a leader’s accomplishments that don’t fit in with one’s original view of the leader.
Posted by Matt Michigander at 7:25 AM