Most influential president: Harry Truman or Lyndon Johnson? | The Tylt
Most influential president: Harry Truman or Lyndon Johnson?
The President of the United States is the most powerful political figure in America, and throughout history, presidents have shaped the very fabric of our nation. As we approach President's Day 2018, we are asking Tylters to tell us which president they believe had the biggest impact—positive or negative—on America.
Presidents have led us through global conflict, civil war, economic crises and cultural revolutions. From George Washington to Donald Trump, which president do you believe was the most influential?
Be sure to vote on our other President's Day matchups below!
The 33rd president of the United States, Harry Truman first assumed the office in 1945 after Franklin D. Roosevelt passed away. Truman oversaw the end of WWII and infamously dropped the atomic bomb on the Japanese cities Hiroshima and Nagasaki.
After Germany officially surrendered, Truman delivered a famous speech to the American people:
"Much remains to be done. The victory won in the West must now be won in the East. The whole world must be cleansed of the evil from which half the world has been freed. United, the peace-loving nations have demonstrated in the West that their arms are stronger by far than the might of the dictators or the tyranny of military cliques that once called us soft and weak. The power of our peoples to defend themselves against all enemies will be proved in the Pacific war as it has been proved in Europe."
Truman served in WWI as a captain in the Field Artillery and became a Senator in 1934. As president, Truman made some of the most consequential decisions in history from the development of nuclear weapons to the creation of the United Nations in 1945 to the beginnings of the Cold War.
Truman served two terms before retiring to his home in Missouri.
Lyndon Johnson served as the 36th president of the United States and, similar to Harry Truman, took over the office after President John F. Kennedy was assassinated. A Texas native, Johnson was a larger-than-life character who presided over the Civil Rights Act and the Vietnam War.
Johnson served in WWII as a lieutenant commander in the Navy. He went on to become the youngest Minority Leader in Senate history before becoming Vice President in 1960. After Kennedy's assassination, Johnson set out with his "The Great Society" agenda which included aid to education, a fight against poverty and the creation of Medicare.
Johnson made the following remarks after he signed the Civil Rights Act of 1964 into law:
Americans of every race and color have died in battle to protect our freedom. Americans of every race and color have worked to build a nation of widening opportunities. Now our generation of Americans has been called on to continue the unending search for justice within our own borders.
We believe that all men are created equal. Yet many are denied equal treatment. We believe that all men have certain unalienable rights. Yet many Americans do not enjoy those rights. We believe that all men are entitled to the blessings of liberty. Yet millions are being deprived of those blessings—not because of their own failures, but because of the color of their skin.
Johnson only served one full term as president, and surprised many when he chose not to seek re-election in 1968 at the height of the Vietnam War.