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Compare and contrast the domestic policies of one Republican and one Democrat president in the second half of the twentieth century.

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Compare and contrast the domestic policies of one Republican and one Democrat president in the second half of the twentieth century.

Presidents Harry Truman and Dwight Eisenhower played a major role in the post-war period, a period considered as an « Age of Affluence » for the US, and a sort of rebirth. The end of the Second World War led to a period of exceptional socio-economic growth and progress, and put an end to the period of the Great Depression, which gave the USA a position of leading country in the new world order. This period  also marked the beginning of a new consumerist society.

These two American presidents came from opposing parties, and therefore had different point of views on the American System, and different responses to the numerous domestic challenges that the country was facing. Truman and Eisenhower handled domestic issues differently, especially on a social and economic level, although their believes and policies were sometimes convergent, on subjects such as communism in the US.

Firstly, the two president had different responses to the numerous social changes that occurred during the post-war era. Truman had a firm intention to build on Roosevelt’s New-Deal social programs. His approach of social challenges outweighed Eisenhower’s, who, as a Republican, was more conservative, even though he judged that the government had the role to protect poor and weak people. Truman's "Fair Deal" social plan was refused by Congress, which was Republican, and extremely reluctant to his policies. However, Harry Truman managed to improve and extend social security to more citizens, he rose the national minimum wage and passed the "Full Employment Act". Truman was strongly engaged to fight poverty, in particular via his "Fair Deal" program. But the Congress, because of the Republican majority, countered many of his proposals.

As President, Eisenhower had not any specific programme against poverty. However, he followed Truman’s "New Deal" to a certain extent. Eisenhower believed in the government providing social security to the American people. He signed legislation that expanded Social Security and, just like his predecessor, increased the minimum wage to the symbolic amount of one dollar per hour. Ike also created the Department of Health, Education and Welfare, and supported government construction of low-income houses, but with lower spendings than under Truman. His approach of social security could be qualified of "Dynamic Conservatism".

Truman and Eisenhower both were active in the civil right’s movement, but in different ways. Indeed, Truman used his executive power to be the first President to deal with the issue of racial discrimination. He had fully desegregated the army by 1946, and created the « Fair Employment Practices Committee » in order to prevent discrimination against African-Americans on the job market. President Truman also created the Civil Rights Division, an important branche of the Department of Justice.

Eisenhower was less active on the issue of civil rights and segregation. However, the real start of the civil right movement began with his presidency, and one could not deny that Ike paved the way for the civil rights movement of the 1960s. In 1954, Eisenhower went against the racist concept “Separate but equal” and desegregated schools. He also set up a commission in 1957 in order to protect the black people’s voting right, and passed the Civil Rights Act. In addition, he used his executive power to protect the rights of black students in the Little Rock high school.

Also, Truman and Eisenhower had opposite conceptions of economic policies. Eisenhower was a Republican fiscal conservative, whereas Truman was


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