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  Truman, Harry S.
NameHarry S. Truman
Address219 N. Delaware St.
Independence, Missouri , United States
Born May 08, 1884
DiedDecember 26, 1972 (88 years)
Last ModifedRBH
Sep 22, 2012 08:01pm
Tags Caucasian - English - Irish - Scottish - Married - Freemason - Baptist - Christian - Straight -
InfoHarry S Truman was born in Lamar, Missouri on May 8, 1884, the son of John Anderson Truman and Martha Ellen (Young) Truman. The family, which soon included another boy, Vivian, and a girl, Mary Jane moved several times during Truman's childhood and youth - first, in 1887, to a farm near Grandview, then, in 1890, to Independence, and finally, in 1902, to Kansas City. Young Harry attended public schools in Independence, graduating from high school in 1901. After leaving school, he worked briefly as a timekeeper for a railroad construction contractor, then as a clerk in two Kansas City banks. In 1906 he returned to Grandview to help his father run the family farm. He continued working as a farmer for more than ten years.

From 1905 to 1911, Truman served in the Missouri National Guard. When the United States entered World War I in 1917, he helped organize the 2nd Regiment of Missouri Field Artillery, which was quickly called into Federal service as the 129th Field Artillery and sent to France. Truman was promoted to Captain and given command of the regiment's Battery D. He and his unit saw action in the Vosges, Saint Mihiel and Meuse-Argonne campaigns. Truman joined the reserves after the war, rising eventually to the rank of colonel. He sought to return to active duty at the outbreak of World War II, but Army Chief of Staff General George C. Marshall declined his offer to serve.

On June 28, 1919, Truman married Bess Wallace, whom he had known since childhood. Their only child, Mary Margaret, was born on February 17, 1924. From 1919 to 1922 he ran a men's clothing store in Kansas City with his wartime friend, Eddie Jacobson. The store failed in the postwar recession. Truman narrowly avoided bankruptcy, and through determination and over many years he paid off his share of the store's debts.

Truman was elected in 1922, to be one of three judges of the Jackson County Court. Judge Truman whose duties were in fact administrative rather than judicial, built a reputation for honesty and efficiency in the management of county affairs. He was defeated for reelection in 1924, but won election as presiding judge in the Jackson County Court in 1926. He won reelection in 1930.

In 1934, Truman was elected to the United States Senate. He had significant roles in the passage into law of the Civil Aeronautics Act of 1938 and the Transportation Act of 1940. After being reelected in 1940, Truman gained national prominence as chairman of the Senate Special Committee to Investigate the National Defense Program. This committee, which came to be called the Truman Committee, sought with considerable success to ensure that defense contractors delivered to the nation quality goods at fair prices.

In July 1944, Truman was nominated to run for Vice President with President Franklin D. Roosevelt. On January 20, 1945, he took the vice-presidential oath, and after President Roosevelt's unexpected death only eighty-two days later on April 12, 1945, he was sworn in as the nations' thirty-third President.

Truman later called his first year as President a "year of decisions." He oversaw during his first two months in office the ending of the war in Europe. He participated in a conference at Potsdam, Germany, governing defeated Germany, and to lay some groundwork for the final stage of the war against Japan. Truman approved the dropping of two atomic bombs on Japan on August 6 and 9, 1945. Japan surrendered on August 14, and American forces of occupation began to land by the end of the month. This first year of Truman's presidency also saw the founding of the United Nations and the development of an increasingly strained and confrontational relationship with the Soviet Union.

Truman's presidency was marked throughout by important foreign policy initiatives. Central to almost everything Truman undertook in his foreign policy was the desire to prevent the expansion of the influence of the Soviet Union. The Truman Doctrine was an enunciation of American willingness to provide military aid to countries resisting communist insurgencies; the Marshall Plan sought to revive the economies of the nations of Europe in the hope that communism would not thrive in the midst of prosperity; the North Atlantic Treaty Organization built a military barrier confronting the Soviet-dominated part of Europe. Truman's recognition of Israel in May 1948 demonstrated his support for democracy and his commitment to a homeland for the Jewish people. The one time during his presidency when a communist nation invaded a non-communist one -- when North Korea invaded South Korea in June 1950 -- Truman responded by waging undeclared war.

In his domestic policies, Truman sought to accomplish the difficult transition from a war to a peace economy without plunging the nation into recession, and he hoped to extend New Deal social programs to include more government protection and services and to reach more people. He was successful in achieving a healthy peacetime economy, but only a few of his social program proposals became law. The Congress, which was much more Republican in its membership during his presidency than it had been during Franklin Roosevelt's, did not usually share Truman's desire to build on the legacy of the New Deal.

The Truman administration went considerably beyond the New Deal in the area of civil rights. Although, the conservative Congress thwarted Truman's desire to achieve significant civil rights legislation, he was able to use his powers as President to achieve some important changes. He issued executive orders desegregating the armed forces and forbidding racial discrimination in Federal employment. He also established a Committee on Civil Rights and encouraged the Justice Department to argue before the Supreme Court on behalf of plaintiffs fighting against segregation.

In 1948, Truman won reelection. His defeat had been widely expected and often predicted, but Truman's energy in undertaking his campaign and his willingness to confront issues won a plurality of the electorate for him. His famous "Whistlestop" campaign tour through the country has passed into political folklore, as has the photograph of the beaming Truman holding up the newspaper whose headline proclaimed, "Dewey Defeats Truman."

Truman left the presidency and retired to Independence in January 1953. For the nearly two decades of his life remaining to him, he delighted in being "Mr. Citizen," as he called himself in a book of memoirs. He spent his days reading, writing, lecturing and taking long brisk walks. He took particular satisfaction in founding and supporting his Library, which made his papers available to scholars, and which opened its doors to everyone who wished to have a glimpse of his remarkable life and career.

Harry S. Truman died on December 26, 1972. Bess Truman died on October 18, 1982. They are buried side by side in the Library's courtyard.


DateFirmApproveDisapproveDon't Know
06/13/2007-06/24/2007 Rasmussen Reports 70.00% ( 0.0) 14.00% ( 0.0) 16.00% ( 0.0)
11/08/1990-11/11/1990 Gallup 68.00% ( 35.0) 8.00% ( 47.0) 24.00% ( 12.0)
10/03/1952-10/08/1952 Gallup 33.00% ( 11.0) 55.00% ( 10.0) 12.00% ( 1.0)
02/09/1952-02/14/1952 Gallup 22.00% ( 1.0) 65.00% ( 4.0) 13.00% ( 3.0)
11/11/1951-11/16/1951 Gallup 23.00% ( 0.0) 61.00% ( 0.0) 16.00% ( 0.0)

Title Purchase Contributor
Truman  Purchase Homegrown Democrat 

Start Date End Date Type Title Contributor

Date Category Headline Article Contributor

Importance? 10.00000 Average

Wife Elizabeth "Bess" Truman Jun 18, 1919-Dec 26, 1972
Daughter (Mary) Margaret Truman Daniel 1924-2008

Congressional Gold Medal Recipient President Harry S. Truman  Discuss
Farewell address - Harry S. Truman  Discuss
Harry S. Truman - Address before the NAACP (June 29, 1947)  Discuss
Harry S. Truman - Announcing the Surrender of Germany (May 8, 1945)  Discuss
Harry S. Truman - Announcing the Surrender of Japan (September 1, 1945)  Discuss
Harry S. Truman - Columbia Scholastic Press Association (March 15, 1952)  Discuss
Harry S. Truman - First Speech to Congress (April 16, 1945)  Discuss
Harry S. Truman - Jefferson-Jackson Day Dinner (March 29, 1952)  Discuss
Harry S. Truman - Navy Day Address (October 27, 1945)  Discuss
Harry S. Truman - On the Veto of the Taft-Hartley Bill (June 20, 1947)  Discuss
Harry S. Truman - Radio Report to the American People on the Potsdam Conference (August 9, 1945)  Discuss
Harry S. Truman - Rear Platform Remarks (October 22, 1952)  Discuss
Harry S. Truman - Report to the American People on Korea (April 11, 1951)  Discuss
Harry S. Truman - State of the Union Address ( Jan 14, 1946)  Discuss
Harry S. Truman - State of the Union Address ( Jan 6, 1947)  Discuss
Harry S. Truman - State of the Union Address ( Jan 7, 1948)  Discuss
Harry S. Truman - State of the Union Address (Jan 4, 1950)  Discuss
Harry S. Truman - State of the Union Address (Jan 5, 1949)  Discuss
Harry S. Truman - State of the Union Address (Jan 7, 1953)  Discuss
Harry S. Truman - State of the Union Address (Jan 8, 1951)  Discuss
Harry S. Truman - State of the Union Address (Jan 9, 1952)  Discuss
Harry S. Truman - Statement by the President Announcing the Use of the A-Bomb at Hiroshima (August 6, 1945)  Discuss
Harry S. Truman - Victory Celebration (November 3, 1948)  Discuss
Harry S. Truman - Whistlestop Tour in Chariton, Iowa (September 18, 1948)  Discuss
Harry S. Truman - Whistlestop Tour in Trenton, Missouri (September 18, 1948)  Discuss
Harry S. Truman Presidential Nomination Acceptance Speech 1948  Discuss
Missouri State Archives: Upset! Harry S. Truman's Whistle Stop Campaign Remembered  Discuss
President Harry Truman Inaugural Address January 20, 1949  Discuss
The Truman Doctrine - Harry S. Truman  Discuss
  07/01/1956 US President - D Primaries Lost 0.01% (-50.69%)
  10/10/1953 Nobel Peace Prize Lost 0.00% (-100.00%)
  07/26/1952 US President - D Convention Lost 0.36% (-37.02%)
  07/01/1952 US President - D Primaries Lost 1.27% (-63.28%)
  10/10/1950 Nobel Peace Prize Lost 0.00% (-100.00%)
  12/13/1948 US President Won 57.06% (+21.47%)
  11/02/1948 US President National Vote Won 49.55% (+4.48%)
  10/10/1948 Nobel Peace Prize Lost 0.00% (-100.00%)
  07/14/1948 US President - D Convention Won 76.47% (+54.50%)
  07/01/1948 US President - R Primaries Lost 0.17% (-26.82%)
  07/01/1948 US President - D Primaries Won 64.65% (+52.31%)
  04/12/1945 US President - Deceased Successor Won 100.00% (+100.00%)
  11/07/1944 US Vice President Won 81.36% (+62.71%)
  07/21/1944 US Vice President - D Convention Won 54.18% (+29.32%)
  11/05/1940 MO US Senate Won 51.17% (+2.44%)
  08/06/1940 MO US Senate - D Primary Won 40.91% (+1.24%)
  11/06/1934 MO US Senate Won 59.54% (+19.83%)
  08/07/1934 MO US Senate - D Primary Won 41.42% (+6.07%)
  11/04/1930 Jackson County Presiding Judge Won 68.18% (+36.35%)
  11/02/1926 Jackson County Presiding Judge Won 55.83% (+11.65%)
  11/04/1924 Jackson County Eastern Judge Lost 48.14% (-3.72%)
  11/07/1922 Jackson County Eastern Judge Won 57.36% (+14.73%)
RI US Senate - D Primary - Sep 28, 1960 D J. Howard McGrath
MO US Senate - D Nomination - Sep 21, 1960 D Charles H. "Charlie" Brown
US President - D Convention - Jul 15, 1960 D W. Stuart Symington
US President - D Primaries - Jul 01, 1960 D W. Stuart Symington
US President - D Convention - Aug 17, 1956 D W. Averell Harriman
US President - D Primaries - Jul 01, 1956 D W. Averell Harriman
MO US Senate - D Primary - Aug 05, 1952 D J. E. "Buck" Taylor
US President - D Primaries - Jul 01, 1952 D Adlai E. Stevenson II
MO US Senate - D Primary - Aug 01, 1950 D Emery W. Allison
MO District 5 - D Primary - Aug 06, 1946 D Enos A. Axtell
MO Governor - D Primary - Aug 01, 1944 D Roger T. Sermon
MO US Senate - D Primary - Aug 01, 1944 D Bennett Champ Clark
MO District 6 - D Primary - Aug 07, 1934 D James E. Ruffin