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Force and fraud are in war the two cardinal virtues.

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Dec 08, 2023

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Quote Author: Harry S. Truman

Harry S. Truman

Harry S. Truman

Harry S. Truman (May 8, 1884 - December 26, 1972) was the thirty-third President of the United States (1945 - 1953). As vice president, he succeeded to the office upon the death of Franklin D. Roosevelt.

During World War I he served as an artillery officer. After the war he became part of the political machine of Tom Pendergast and was elected a county judge in Missouri and eventually a United States Senator. In 1944, Roosevelt replaced Henry A. Wallace as vice president with Truman for Roosevelt's fourth term.

As president, Truman faced challenge after challenge in domestic affairs: a tumultuous reconversion of the economy marked by severe shortages, numerous strikes, and the passage of the Taft-Hartley Act over his veto. After confounding all predictions to win re-election in 1948, he was able to pass only one of the proposals in his Fair Deal program. He used executive orders to begin desegregation of the U.S. armed forces and to launch a system of loyalty checks to remove thousands of communist sympathizers from government office, even though he strongly opposed mandatory loyalty oaths for governmental employees, a stance that led to charges that his administration was soft on communism. Truman's presidency was also eventful in foreign affairs, with the end of World War II (including his decision to use nuclear weapons in combat), the founding of the United Nations, the Marshall Plan to rebuild Europe, the Truman Doctrine to contain communism, the beginning of the Cold War, the creation of NATO, and the Korean War. Corruption in Truman's administration reached the cabinet and senior White House staff. Republicans made corruption a central issue in the 1952 campaign.

Truman, whose demeanor was very different from that of the patrician Roosevelt, was a folksy, unassuming president. He popularized such phrases as "The buck stops here" and "If you can't stand the heat, you better get out of the kitchen." He overcame the low expectations of many political observers who compared him (unfavorably) with his highly regarded predecessor. At one point in his second term, Truman's public opinion ratings were the lowest on record, but popular and scholarly assessments of his presidency became more positive after his retirement from politics and the publication of his memoirs. He died in 1972. Many U.S. scholars today rank him among the top ten presidents. Truman's legendary upset victory in 1948 over Thomas E. Dewey is routinely invoked by underdog presidential candidates.

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