U.S. 1952 Presidential Elections: President Truman

Figure 1.--The stead decline in President Tryman's poularity convinced him that he could not win reelection. Here we see him returning to Washingtion early in 1952. The wire service photo dared January 29, 1952 was captioned,"Young son of White House Attache Greets President: Sporting a cowboy hat, 6-year old Richard Feenly, son of a White House attache, is among the first to greet President Truman on his arrivl in Washington today to address a meeting of the Democratic Wimen's Clubs, opening his Party's 1952 political campaign. President Truman flew back from Florida for a one night stay and returns to Key West to cintinue his vacation tomorrow."

President Truman unexpectedluy won the 1948 election. The Republicans had ben sure Govenor Dewey would win. In part because of the stalemate in Korea, his popularity had declined sharply. Other issues had sapped jis popularity, such as the Comminist advances in Eastern Europe and China and charges of corruption and treason. His civil rights record hirt him in the Democratic stronghold of the Deep South. He always suffered from the fact that Franklin Roosevelt was such a hard act to follow. President Truman He could have run again had he wanted and he almost certainly could have had the Democratic nomination. While he had served two terms, he had only been elected to one term. He realized that he could not win another election. Truman had made many courageous decesions. He esentually launched the Civil Rights movement by dessegregating the military. He laid the foundation for the American victory in the Cold War by standing firm in Berlin with the Berlin Air Lift and resisting Soviet aggression in Korea. Neither led, however, to clear cut victories. And his popularity suffered by the seemingly endless casualties in Korea. His popularity steadily plunged. History would reverse the contemprary assessment, but the President decided not to run for a third term. He tried to convince war hero General Dwight Eisenhower to run for president as a Democrat, but failed. He then threw his support behind Govenor Adlai Stevenson after which he essentilly withdre from political life. Historians would later elevate him to one of the more successful presidents, but at the time he was very unpopular and efforts to help Stevenson would probably have been counter productive. After the iaguration ofvthe new president,mPresident Truman would quietly return to Missiouri, for tge firstvtime in two decades, a private citizen. No big fuss just boarding the train home. He would be last ex-president to travel home by train. I think he left knowing that he hadcdone a good job. It woud take tge rest of the country aittle time to ppreciate just how good a job he had done.


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Created: 4:21 AM 6/2/2012
Last edited: 4:51 AM 6/3/2012