How do you compare and contrast Truman and Eisenhower?


Quick Answer

Truman and Eisenhower served back to back as the 33rd and 34th presidents, but despite many similarities, they had their differences, beginning with their political parties. Harry S. Truman was a Democrat, and Dwight D. Eisenhower was a Republican. Truman saw the United States through the end of World War II, and Eisenhower picked up the presidency during the Cold War.

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Full Answer

Both men were strong leaders, equipped to deal with tough decisions from the dropping of the atomic bomb in Japan by Truman, to difficult civil rights decisions by Eisenhower. They both had strong approval ratings throughout most of their presidencies, until Truman hit the end of his. Truman and Eisenhower both served two terms in office. Choices they made involving civil rights cost them popularity in the South, but gained the support of many black voters for each of them.

Many of their differences are a result of the circumstances they faced. According to FindTheBest, Truman had to guide the American economy through a post war recession. He also made the difficult and unpopular decision to integrate the military racially. Truman helped form the United Nations and passed the $13 billion Marshall Plan to rebuild Europe. After the war, he recognized Israel as a nation and supported the Berlin Airlift. Truman also made the call to send troops into Korea to push back the Communists from North Korea. His legacy includes his expansion of Social Security benefits and approval of the 22nd amendment, which limited the terms of a president.

Eisenhower dealt more with the domestic turmoil involving civil rights. He chose to back the Civil Rights Act of 1957, which formed the Civil Rights Commission to help blacks vote, and the Civil Rights Act of 1960, which gave federal courts the authority to register black voters. When Brown v. Board of Education caused great resistance in the southern states, Eisenhower used military force to enforce the desegregation. He also coined the "Domino Theory" during the Cold War.

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