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Compare and Contrast two U.S. Presidents - Harry Truman and Ronald Reagan

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History and Political Science: Compare and Contrast two U. S. Presidents [Harry Truman and Ronald Reagan] The role of President of the United s is one of the most visible and demanding jobs in the world. Each new President brings to the job a different mix of character traits, experience and skills which then help to determine the style of his administration and the type of leadership that the country experiences. This paper compares and contrasts two very different President: Harry Truman (1884-1972) who was President from 1945-1953, and Ronald Reagan (1911-2004) who was President from 1981-1989.

A brief summary of the historical context and main achievements of Truman and then Reagan is given, and after this, the two Presidents are compared, bringing out similarities and differences in the areas of domestic policy, foreign policy and legacy for the future. Finally conclusions are drawn which demonstrate that both men were effective Presidents, but Ronald Reagan did the better job. Harry Truman, a Democrat, became President towards the end of the Second World War. He made one of the most fateful decisions in the history of mankind when he gave permission for the use of the atom bomb on Japanese cities, in an effort to bring the war to a speedy conclusion.

Having served himself as a soldier in France in the First World War he had direct experience of the dreadful casualties of trench warfare with mechanized traditional weapons, and he was reluctantly persuaded that the atom bomb would be a means to an end, pushing the enemies to surrender. The tactic was effective, but the cost in human life shocked the world, and the shadow of nuclear weapons has influenced world history ever since.

After the war Truman proved to be a diligent supporter of the victims of the war. He helped put together the Marshall plan which sent aid to millions of starving people and contributed to the rebuilding of war-torn Europe. By 1950 tensions with the Soviet Union had begun to reach worrying levels, and this is the background to the ideology which the President developed and which came to be known as “the Truman Doctrine. ” In a speech on the subject of the threat of Communism to Greece and Turkey, he developed the idea that the United States should actively intervene in world politics to contain the spread of Communism beyond its post war boundaries.

Truman summed up this notion with the words: “I believe it must be the policy of the United States to support free peoples who are resisting attempted subjugation by armed minorities or by outside pressure. ” (Truman, 1947, quoted in Bostdorff: 2008, p.

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preview essay on Compare and Contrast two U.S. Presidents - Harry Truman and Ronald Reagan
  • Pages: 7 (1750 words)
  • Document Type: Essay
  • Subject: History
  • Level: Masters
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