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Tag: Republicans

Was Ike a secret New Dealer?

Today’s post is from Jim Worsham, editor of Prologue magazine, the quarterly of the National Archives.

Was Dwight D. Eisenhower—the architect of the allied victory over the Nazis in World War II and our President during the peaceful 1950s—a secret New Dealer?

Eisenhower, elected President as a Republican in 1952, brought in with him a Republican-controlled Congress. The GOP lawmakers were eager to dismantle the social welfare programs that were started and became embedded in government during the 20 years of Franklin D. Roosevelt’s and Harry S. Truman’s presidencies.

In fact, President Eisenhower affirmed programs of Roosevelt’s New Deal.


Dwight D. Eisenhower in 1919


Eisenhower’s position on FDR’s legacy is revealed in “Eisenhower, the Frontier, and the New Deal: Ike Considers America’s Frontier Gone, Embraces, Adds to FDR’s Legacy” an article in the Fall issue of Prologue magazine, the flagship publication of the National Archives.

Author Tim Rives draws much of this story from exchanges of letters between President Eisenhower and then-retired Brig. Gen. Bradford G. Chynoweth, a long-time friend.

Eisenhower had known Chynoweth since they were junior officers in Panama after World War I. “Ike” and “Chyn,” as they called each other, spent many an hour debating the state of the nation and the direction it ought to take.

Decades later, Eisenhower had moved into the White House … [ Read all ]

Facial Hair Friday: Rising above party politics

Chester A. Arthur, 21st President of the United States (ARC 532289)

Today in 1886, former President Chester A. Arthur died from complications from Bright’s disease. He had not been relected for second term, and he had left office in 1884. He died in New York City, just 56 years old.

Although he sported the facial hair style of the time, Arthur was an unlikely President. He ascended to the office in September 1885 when President James Garfield died three months after being shot.

Arthur did have strong administrative experience with the Federal Government, having worked as quartermaster general in the New York Volunteers during the Civil War. He arranged provisions and housing for hundreds of thousands of soldiers, making a reputation for himself as an excellent administrator.

But Arthur was a crony of Roscoe Conkling, a New York Republican Party boss and U.S. Senator who was well known for using patronage and party connections to gain power. When Arthur was appointed Collector of the Port of New York by President Grant, he supported the political machine of “Boss Conkling” by collecting salary kickbacks. He also augmented his $12,000 yearly salary to $50,000 by sharing in fines that Customs collected on undervalued imports.

When President Rutherford B. Hayes came into office, he began to dismantle Boss Conkling’s empire, and Arthur lost his job. Because Hayes had declared he would be … [ Read all ]