Published on February 20, 2014
Ch.20.3: Domestic Politics and Policies PP. 680-686
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?
Key Terms • Reconversion • Taft-Hartley Act • Modern Republicanism • National Defense Education Act
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
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
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
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
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
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
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
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
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
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
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
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
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
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
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
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