Lot Content

Global notice COVID-19 Important notice
TRUMAN, Harry S. Manuscript list of Democratic Presidents signed ("Harry S. Truman"), WITH HOLOGRAPH ADDITIONS IN TRUMAN'S HAND, n.d. 1 page, 8vo, on verso of a partial printed menu.
TRUMAN, Harry S. Manuscript list of Democratic Presidents signed ("Harry S. Truman"), WITH HOLOGRAPH ADDITIONS IN TRUMAN'S HAND, n.d. 1 page, 8vo, on verso of a partial printed menu.

Details
TRUMAN, Harry S. Manuscript list of Democratic Presidents signed ("Harry S. Truman"), WITH HOLOGRAPH ADDITIONS IN TRUMAN'S HAND, n.d. 1 page, 8vo, on verso of a partial printed menu.

TRUMAN RANKS THE DEMOCRATIC PRESIDENTS - AND MODESTLY EXCLUDES HIMSELF

An unknown individual presented Truman with this handwritten list of Democratic Presidents--possibly at a Jefferson or Jackson Day dinner?--and asked him to indicate which he thought were the greatest. He placed an asterisk next to the names of Jefferson, Grover Cleveland (but added the qualification: "1st Term"), Franklin D. Roosevelt, Andrew Jackson, James K. Polk and Woodrow Wilson. Whoever gave this list to the President was not as close a student of history as the former President, for Truman notes the absence of John Tyler, writes in the name next to Pierce. But Tyler and Pierce do not get Truman's asterisk, and neither do Monroe, Madison, Van Buren, Buchanan, Andrew Johnson or Truman himself. He also questions the inclusion of John Quincy Adams on the list as an "Ind. Fed."--an independent Federalist--but lets him stay with an "OK." But Adams doesn't get a star. (The person who drafted this list later added the names of Nixon and Carter for some reason, but they were obviously not on there when Truman signed this.)

Modesty kept Truman from including himself in the pantheon of Democratic greats, and indeed, when he left office his popularity was low. Yet just 10 years after his retirement a poll of leading historians ranked him the 9th greatest President, far above many of the Democratic chiefs listed here. His commitment to internationalism in the Cold War, his implementation of the Truman Doctrine and the Marshall Plan, his willingness to stand-up to segregationists and red-baiters, all served to enhance his reputation in the eyes of later generations. Above all, people have come to admire his character. Columnist Mary McGrory, writing after Truman died, summed it up best: "He was a certifiable member of the human race, direct, fallible, and unexpectedly wise when it counted" (McCullogh, Truman, 989).
;

More from The Forbes Collection of American Historical Documents:

View All
View All