Truman and Eisenhower Introduction After WWII the country enjoyed economic prosperity. Television became a favorite form of entertainment. America’s prosperity did not extend to Hispanics, African Americans, Native Americans, or people in Appalachia. Return to a Peacetime Economy A Return to the Great Depression? Americans spending money on luxury items that were not available previously because of the war prevented it The GI Bill: provided generous loans to veterans to establish businesses, buy homes, and attend college Return to a Peacetime Economy Inflation and Strikes A greater demand for goods led to higher prices The cost of living increased During the war strikes were not allowed After the war, workers demanded higher pay and went on strike to get it The automobile, steel, and mining industries had workers go on strike Truman, fearing an energy crisis, forced miners back to work, and pressured the mine owners to give in to most of the worker’s demands Return to a Peacetime Economy Republican Victory Labor unrest and high prices prompted many Americans to call for a change Republicans won both houses of congress in 1946 Taft-Hartley Act: outlawed closed shops—the practice of forcing business owners to hire only union members Right-to-work laws: outlawed union shops—shops in which new workers were required to join the union Featherbedding—prohibited the practice of limiting work output in order to create more jobs Truman’s Domestic Program Truman’s Legislative Agenda Expand Social Security Benefits Raise minimum wage from 40¢ to 65¢ an hour Increase employment through federal spending Public housing and slum clearance Long range environmental and public works A system of national health insurance Protect African American’s right to vote A Republican congress blocked most of these measures Truman’s Domestic Program The Election of 1948 Truman was given very little chance of winning Reacting angrily to Truman’s support of civil rights, a group of Southern Democrats formed the States’ Rights or Dixiecrat party and nominated Strom Thurmond Also, the Democrat’s more liberal party members were frustrated with Truman’s inability to pass domestic policies through congress and his anti-Soviet foreign policy The Republican candidate, Thomas Dewey, was very popular Truman won by a slim margin The Chicago Daily Tribune incorrectly predicted Dewey the winner and had printed newspapers declaring Dewey the winner Truman’s Domestic Program The Fair Deal Truman’s State of the Union Message: “Every segment of our population and every individual has a right to expect from…government a fair deal.” The Eisenhower Years The Election of 1952 Mostly the Korean War gave Truman a low approval rating in 1952 and Truman chose not to run for President Adlai Stevenson ran as the Democratic nominee Dwight D. Eisenhower, with his vice president Richard Nixon, won the election easily as the Republican candidates for President Richard Nixon had a dog named “Checkers” that was given to his family from a business as a gift. Nixon was accused of receiving other gifts as a Senator in California in the form of $18,000 as well but Nixon denied it. The Eisenhower Years Ike as President “Middle of the Road” described Eisenhower’s political beliefs Eisenhower did not believe that government should aid businesses which he called, “creeping socialism” The Eisenhower Years Extending the New Deal Although a Republican, Eisenhower… extended the Social Security System to an additional 10 million people extended unemployment compensation to an additional 4 million citizens and agreed to increase minimum wage from 75¢ an hour to $1 Eisenhower won a second term as President quite easily as Americans successfully transitioned from war to peace and enjoyed a decade of prosperity As president, Eisenhower had a conservative side and activist side. Describe some of his programs and actions that reflected these two sides. As president, Eisenhower had a conservative side and activist side. Describe some of his programs and actions that reflected these two sides. Eisenhower showed his conservative side by appointing several business leaders to his cabinet. He ended government price and rent controls and tried to curb the federal budget by voting against a school construction bill and slashing government aid to public housing. To accompany these cuts, he supported some modest tax reductions. In other conservative actions, he abolished the Reconstruction Finance Corporation and slashed funding for the Tennessee Valley Authority. He displayed his activism by advocating passage of the Federal Highway Act and authorizing construction of the Great Lakes-St. Lawrence Seaway. Although President Eisenhower cut federal spending and worked to limit the federal government’s role in the nation’s economy, he agreed to extend the Social Security system to an additional 10 million people. He also extended unemployment compensation, increased the minimum wage, and continued to provide some government aid to farmers.