Harry S. Truman, 1884 - 1972
Official presidential portrait by Greta Kempton
Born: 8 May 1884, Lamar, Missouri
Died: 26 December 1972, Kansas City, Missouri
After high school Truman worked as bank clerk, but prospects were bleak and he came home to the farm. He fought in World War I, returned home, married Bess, and became a haberdasher. When that business failed he went to work for Thomas J. Pendergast, Democratic boss of Kansas City, largely to present an honest face for the corrupt party machine. During his second senate term, moderates demanded that Franklin Roosevelt drop the liberal Henry Wallace as running mate and Truman joined the ticket. Less than three months after the inauguration he became president on FDR's death. His presidency included the only use of atomic weapons, a takeover of the railroads to end a strike, the formation of the UN and NATO, the Marshall Plan, the Berlin Airlift, a come-from-behind reelection victory over Thomas Dewey, the Korean War, the beginning of the US' involvement in Viet Nam, an assassination attempt, and the reconstruction of the White House. During this tumultous period he had both the highest and lowest approval ratings of any president according to Gallup. (THe elder Bush set a new record for approval in 1991, and the younger Bush did it again in 2001. Dubya tied Truman for the lowest approval level in 2008 according to several polls, but not Gallup.)
Note: We've always shown his name as "Harry S Truman" at QOTD, without the period. With some regret, although he never had a middle name, we're reinstating the period because that's how he wrote it.
Additional quotes from Wikiquote. Wikiquote entries are "sourced" and may include items longer than those included here, particularly for poets, lyricists, and dramatists.
Harry S. Truman quotes:
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- A bureaucrat is a Democrat who holds some office that a Republican wants. permalink
- A good politician has had to be 75 percent ability and 25 percent actor, but I can well see the day when the reverse could be true. permalink
- A leader in the Democratic Party is a boss, in the Republican Party he is a leader. permalink
- A pessimist is one who makes difficulties of his opportunities and an optimist is one who makes opportunities of his difficulties. permalink
- A politician is a man who understands government, and it takes a politician to run a government. A statesman is a politician who's been dead 10 or 15 years. permalink
- A president either is constantly on top of events or, if he hesitates, events will soon be on top of him. I never felt that I could let up for a moment. permalink
- About the meanest thing you can say about a man is that he means well. permalink
- All through history it's the nations that have given most to generals and the least to the people that have been the first to fall. permalink
- America was not built on fear. America was built on courage, on imagination, and an unbeatable determination to do the job at hand. permalink
- An expert is a fellow who is afraid to learn anything new because then he wouldn't be an expert anymore. permalink
- Any man who has had the job I've had and didn't have a sense of humor wouldn't still be here. permalink
- Art is parasitic on life, just as criticism is parasitic on art. permalink
- At the present moment in world history nearly every nation must choose between alternative ways of life. The choice is too often not a free one. permalink
- Carry the battle to them. Don't let them bring it to you. Put them on the defensive. And don't ever apologize for anything. permalink
- Children and dogs are as necessary to the welfare of the country as Wall Street and the railroads. permalink
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