Truman

Truman

[troo-muhn]
Capote, Truman, 1924-84, American author, b. New Orleans as Truman Streckfus Persons. During his lifetime, the witty, diminutive writer was a well-known public personage, hobnobbing with the rich and famous and frequently appearing in the popular media, before he lapsed into alcoholism in his final years. Capote's fiction reflects a private, imaginative world of narcissistic yet strangely innocent people. Other Voices, Other Rooms (1948), his first novel and a classic Southern Gothic, is the story of a young boy's painful search for identity. His other works include a gentle autobiographical novel, The Grass Harp (1951); a collection of short stories, Tree of Night (1949); the novella Breakfast at Tiffany's (1958); a report of his trip to Russia with the cast of Gershwin's Porgy and Bess, The Muses Are Heard (1956); the musical House of Flowers (1954); and two collections of nonfiction pieces, The Dogs Bark (1973) and Music for Chameleons (1980). In 1966, Capote published his "nonfiction novel," In Cold Blood, a chilling account of the senseless, brutal murder of a Kansas family that is widely considered his finest work. Fragments of his last major book, the unfinished Unanswered Prayers, were collected in 1990. The Complete Stories of Truman Capote was published in 2004.

See N. T. Inge, ed., Truman Capote: Conversations (1987); L. Grobel, Conversations with Capote (1985, repr. 2000); G. Clarke, ed., Too Brief a Treat: The Letters of Truman Capote (2004); memoirs by D. Windham (1983), J. M. Brinnin (1986), and J. Dunphy (1987); biographies by G. Clarke (1988) and G. Plimpton (1997); studies by H. S. Garson (1980 and 1992), K. T. Reed (1981), J. J. and J. C. Waldmeir, ed. (1999), and H. Bloom, ed. (2003).

Truman, Harry S., 1884-1972, 33d President of the United States, b. Lamar, Mo.

Early Life and Political Career

He grew up on a farm near Independence, Mo., worked at various jobs, and tended the family farm. He served as a captain of field artillery in France in World War I. On his return from the war he married (1919) Elizabeth (Bess) Virginia Wallace; they had one daughter, Mary Margaret. After a brief partnership in a haberdashery store, Truman turned to politics and, with support from the Democratic machine of Thomas J. Pendergast, was elected judge (1922-24) and president judge (1926-34) of Jackson co., Mo. He attended (1923-25) the Kansas City school of law.

In 1934 he was elected a U.S. Senator. In the Senate he was a firm supporter of the New Deal policies of President Franklin Delano Roosevelt, but the administration was cool toward Truman because of his connection with Pendergast. By 1940 the Pendergast machine had been broken, and Truman had a hard fight for reelection. In his second term he achieved national prominence as chairman of a Senate committee to investigate government expenditures in World War II. His vigorous investigations revealed startling inefficiency and bungling on war contracts. Because he was acceptable both to the conservative Democrats and the New Dealers as well as to powerful labor leaders, Truman was nominated for Vice President in 1944 and was elected to office along with President Roosevelt.

Presidency

On the death (Apr. 12, 1945) of Roosevelt, Truman succeeded to the presidency. He assumed power at a very critical time. He was immediately confronted with the problems of concluding the war and preparing for the difficulties of international postwar readjustment. The war in Europe ended with Germany's unconditional surrender on May 8, 1945, and in July Truman attended the Potsdam Conference to discuss the postwar European settlement. To end the conflict with Japan, he authorized the dropping of atomic bombs on Hiroshima and Nagasaki. That action did bring the war to an immediate end, but the morality of it continues to be debated.

First Term

At home, inflation and demobilization were the chief worries of reconversion to a peacetime economy. Although Truman began quietly to eliminate the old New Dealers from the administration, his domestic policies were essentially a continuation of those of the New Deal. His program (later labeled the Fair Deal) called for guaranteed full employment, a permanent Fair Employment Practices Committee to end racial discrimination, an increased minimum wage and extended social security benefits, price and rent controls, public housing projects, and public health insurance. However, Congress, which was controlled by the Republicans after the 1946 elections, blocked most of these projects, while passing other legislation—notably the Taft-Hartley Labor Act (1947)—over Truman's veto.

In foreign affairs his chief adversary was the USSR. Relations with that country deteriorated rapidly after Potsdam. The two powers were unable to agree to feasible plans for the unification of Germany, general disarmament, or the establishment of a United Nations armed force. Truman took an increasingly tough stand against what he considered to be the threat of Communist expansion in S and W Europe. In 1947 he proposed a program of economic and military aid to Greece and Turkey, stating that it should be a principle of U.S. policy "to support free peoples who are resisting attempted subjugation by armed minorities or by outside pressures." Enunciation of the so-called Truman Doctrine signaled the beginning of the policy of "containment" of Communism. It was implemented by the adoption of the Marshall Plan (1947), designed to effect the economic reconstruction of Europe, by the Point Four program (1949) of technical aid to underdeveloped countries, and, above all, by the creation (1949) of the North Atlantic Treaty Organization.

In 1948, Truman ordered the desegregation of the armed forces. As a result, a bloc of southern Democrats bolted the party and sponsored J. Strom Thurmond for President in the election of that year. Truman was also challenged on the left by Henry A. Wallace of the Progressive party, who opposed Truman's policy of confrontation with the Soviet Union. Although he won renomination, the President was thought to have little chance of reelection. But Truman embarked on a vigorous whistle-stop campaign across the country, blaming the Republican Congress for most of the nation's ills and highlighting its inactivity by calling a special session of Congress, at which he urged the Republicans to enact into law their own moderately liberal party platform. The campaign was a resounding success. Contrary to all the predictions, Truman defeated his Republican opponent, Thomas E. Dewey, and Democratic majorities swept into the House and Senate.

Second Term

In his second administration Truman made little progress with his Fair Deal programs, although he did secure passage of a housing act (1949). Domestic affairs were increasingly dominated by the fear of Communist subversion. Truman had instituted (1947) a loyalty program for civil servants, but the government came under increasing attack for loose security, particularly after the conviction of Alger Hiss. Truman dismissed the charges of internal subversion as a "red herring"; in 1950 the McCarran Internal Security Act, which provided for the registration of Communist and Communist-front organizations, was passsed over Truman's veto.

Overseas developments contributed considerably to the tide of fear within the United States. Truman's administration was blamed by many for the collapse of the regime of Chiang Kai-shek (toward which the administration had been cool) and the victory of the Communists in China (1949). The success of the Chinese Revolution was followed by the outbreak (1950) of the Korean War. Truman immediately sent U.S. troops to Korea under the aegis of the United Nations. In 1951 he raised the controversy that had been building up around American foreign policy to a new pitch of intensity when he dismissed Gen. Douglas MacArthur from his East Asian command for insubordination for attempting to involve the Chinese in the war and for publicly advocating an attack on China.

At home Truman became involved in further controversy when he seized (1952) the steel industry in order to prevent a strike. He claimed that the action was justified by the President's inherent powers in time of emergency, but the Supreme Court overruled him. Disclosures of corruption among federal officials were also politically damaging during this period. Truman declined renomination in 1952 and pressed the presidential candidacy of Adlai Stevenson, who was, however, overwhelmingly defeated by the Republican candidate, Dwight D. Eisenhower.

Later Life and Legacy

Truman remained active in politics for many years after his retirement, campaigning around the country for Democratic candidates and commenting on national issues. He also contributed much time to the Harry S. Truman Library, which opened in 1957 in Independence, Mo. Truman died on Dec. 26, 1972.

Although Truman did not have great success with his domestic programs, many of his reform proposals were later enacted into law. Thrust into office largely ignorant of foreign affairs, he acted decisively in erecting the machinery of "containment" against the threat of Communist expansion and committing the United States to a new internationalism. Some historians, however, have challenged the assumption of a Communist threat on which Truman's action were based. They argue that the cold war confrontation between the United States and the Soviet Union could have been averted by a more conciliatory attitude on the part of the Truman administration. Although Truman's policies remain a subject of controversy, he has become a popular figure largely because of his feisty personality and his come-from-behind victory in 1948.

Bibliography

See his Year of Decisions (1955), Years of Trial and Hope (1956), and Mr. Citizen (1960). See also S. Neal, ed., Eleanor and Harry: The Corresondence of Eleanor Roosevelt and Harry S. Truman (2002); biographies by M. Truman (1972), D. McCullough (1992), and A. L. Hamby (1995); R. Donovan, The Presidency of Harry S. Truman (2 vol., 1979-84); R. Ferrell, Harry S. Truman and the Modern American Presidency (1983); R. S. Kirkendall, ed., Harry S. Truman Encyclopedia (1989); Z. Karabell, The Last Campaign: How Harry Truman Won the 1948 Election (2000); W. D. Miscamble, From Roosevelt to Truman: Potsdam, Hiroshima, and the Cold War (2008).

orig. Truman Streckfus Persons

(born Sept. 30, 1924, New Orleans, La., U.S.—died Aug. 25, 1984, Los Angeles, Calif.) U.S. novelist, short-story writer, and playwright. Capote spent much of his youth in small towns in Louisiana and Alabama. His early works, in the Southern Gothic tradition, include the novels Other Voices, Other Rooms (1948) and The Grass Harp (1951) and the story collection A Tree of Night (1949). His later journalistic style was exemplified in the highly successful “nonfiction novel” In Cold Blood (1966), an account of a multiple murder. Other works include the novella Breakfast at Tiffany's (1958; film, 1961), the musical House of Flowers (1954; with Harold Arlen), and the collections The Dogs Bark (1973) and Music for Chameleons (1980).

Learn more about Capote, Truman with a free trial on Britannica.com.

orig. Truman Streckfus Persons

(born Sept. 30, 1924, New Orleans, La., U.S.—died Aug. 25, 1984, Los Angeles, Calif.) U.S. novelist, short-story writer, and playwright. Capote spent much of his youth in small towns in Louisiana and Alabama. His early works, in the Southern Gothic tradition, include the novels Other Voices, Other Rooms (1948) and The Grass Harp (1951) and the story collection A Tree of Night (1949). His later journalistic style was exemplified in the highly successful “nonfiction novel” In Cold Blood (1966), an account of a multiple murder. Other works include the novella Breakfast at Tiffany's (1958; film, 1961), the musical House of Flowers (1954; with Harold Arlen), and the collections The Dogs Bark (1973) and Music for Chameleons (1980).

Learn more about Capote, Truman with a free trial on Britannica.com.

Truman is a city in Martin County, Minnesota, United States. The population was 1,259 at the 2000 census.

Geography

According to the United States Census Bureau, the city has a total area of 1.1 square miles (2.8 km²), all of it land.

Minnesota State Highway 15 serves as a main route in the city.

Demographics

As of the census of 2000, there were 1,259 people, 510 households, and 318 families residing in the city. The population density was 1,160.1 people per square mile (446.0/km²). There were 542 housing units at an average density of 499.4/sq mi (192.0/km²). The racial makeup of the city was 99.21% White, 0.16% African American, 0.32% Native American, 0.08% Asian, and 0.24% from two or more races. Hispanic or Latino of any race were 0.56% of the population.

There were 510 households out of which 26.3% had children under the age of 18 living with them, 52.5% were married couples living together, 7.6% had a female householder with no husband present, and 37.6% were non-families. 33.3% of all households were made up of individuals and 20.0% had someone living alone who was 65 years of age or older. The average household size was 2.25 and the average family size was 2.90.

In the city the population was spread out with 22.9% under the age of 18, 5.2% from 18 to 24, 22.8% from 25 to 44, 21.1% from 45 to 64, and 28.0% who were 65 years of age or older. The median age was 44 years. For every 100 females there were 86.2 males. For every 100 females age 18 and over, there were 75.6 males.

The median income for a household in the city was $35,000, and the median income for a family was $46,750. Males had a median income of $31,292 versus $20,850 for females. The per capita income for the city was $18,305. About 5.6% of families and 9.2% of the population were below the poverty line, including 13.5% of those under age 18 and 10.2% of those age 65 or over.

References

External links

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