Write an essay evaluating the role of the presidency by selecting one president, from Harry Truman to Jimmy Carter, whom you felt did the best job and the one you felt was a failure. Compare and contrast your choices showing the strength and weaknesses of the men and their contributions or lack of it to […]
In the US government, the president’s office is considered the most influential position globally; in this context, it is the prime focus of the country’s political leadership and many aspects of the world. Thus, the leader therein has a wide range of accountabilities; they are the manager of prosperity, peace protector in times of national crises, a principal legislator in law-making, leader of their political party, a diplomat in foreign relations, commander-in-chief of the armed forces, and overseer in the enforcement of the law. The Constitution presents the head of state with the tools of administration, and the office-holders apply these mechanisms in differing contexts and with different skills (Mckeever and Davies 93). Based on that concept, the need to evaluate the role of the presidency to determine the president who did the best job and the one who is a failure is warranted.
Harry Truman is perceived as one of the presidents who performed well during his term. Arguably, the ample record of his presidency confirms that he is, in fact, the nation’s twentieth-century pioneering civil rights head of state (Gardner 222). A lot of critical, pivotal domestic and foreign policies, which have proved to be successful, have been implemented under his administration. Under his leadership, the country benefited from “the domestic agenda: economic and business,” a program aimed at regulating the financial system and providing well-being to citizens. It offered various benefits, including low mortgage payments and free tuition for college students.
More so, Truman took a firm standpoint in support of civil rights; he creatively and tenaciously used his presidential prerogatives to bring constitutionally guaranteed civil rights protection and equality to all citizens (Gardner 222). He also adopted foreign dogmas, such as the Truman Doctrine, a tactic which helped contain Soviet expansion; thus, it eliminated the Communist threat in Turkey and Greece. He also implemented the Berlin Airlift, an approach which was used as a response that successfully handled the Berlin blockade by forcing the Soviets to lift it.
On the other hand, President Jimmy Carter knew how to address and lecture the country but not how to successfully lead it; thus, he is perceived to be a failure during his presidency. Many Americans regard him as history’s worst head of state (Bowers 26). He insufficiently elaborated foreign and domestic policies, which, in turn, failed to address the weak economy, the humiliating Iran hostage crisis, and the runaway inflation that was facing the country at that time (Borgenicht and Regan 24). To this end, his strategies to address the dire economic state of the nation, which was characterized by unemployment and low output but high inflation, were highlighted by their unclear contribution and inconsistency.
He also pioneered an unpopular energy policy, which introduced high taxes on oil to discourage its consumption and encouraged demand for more fuel-efficient cars that increased the costs regarding technology, production, and abundant coal supplies. Leading car companies, national industries, Congress, and the general public did not embrace the programs. In global politics, Carter lacked ingenuity, prudence, and experience; consequently, he could not anticipate upcoming events, such as the Iranian revolution and the Soviet invasion of Afghanistan. He is alleged to be liable for the controversial Iran-American relations that led to the forthcoming decades of tension between the two states. Practically, as soon as these trends merge, they start to unravel (Moss and Thomas 6). He also signed the SALT II treaty with Brezhnev, which was criticized for encouraging Soviet adventurism in international borders.
In summary, the citizens expect a lot from their head of state; they want the leader to take quick actions, such as formulating adequate domestic and foreign policies to help solve the nation’s problems. Based on the analysis of President Jimmy Carter and Harry Truman, it can be argued that the head of the country can be judged if they best did their job by considering their political competencies and personal qualities.
Borgenicht, David, and Turk Regan. The Worst-Case Scenario Almanac: Politics. Chronicle Books, 2010.
Bowers, James. The Naked Truth: The Naked Communist – Revisited. BookBaby, 2011.
Gardner, Michael. Harry Truman and Civil Rights. SIU Press, 2002.
Mckeever, Robert, and Phillip Davies. A Brief Introduction to US Politics. Routledge, 2014.
Moss, George, and Evan A. Thomas. Moving on: the American People since 1945. Pearson, 2013.
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Published On: 04-05-2019