Background Harry Truman was born on May 6, 1884 in Lamar, Missouri and died on December 26, 1972. Served in the Missouri Army National Guard from 1905 to 1911. Took night classes at Kansas City Law School from 1923 to 1925, but never got a college degree. His highest level of certified education was graduating high school. Senator of Missouri from January 3, 1935 to January 17, 1945. Vice President from January 20, 1945 to April 12, 1945. President from April 12, 1945 to January 20, 1953. He took office after the death of Franklin D. Roosevelt.
21 Points Truman proposed the 21 points to Congress in September of 1945. The 21 points covered a variety of programs to help aid the economy out of a time of war and into a time of peace. These programs included improved unemployment compensation, increased minimum wage, decreased cost of living, more job opportunities that would allow for full- time work, and improved federal aid to veterans. Initially many of these new programs were not at all successful, with much of Congress being entirely against the propositions. They were subsequently were put aside so that other matters could be focused on. Truman’s popularity rating ended up plummeting to 32 percent by September 1946, and many citizens wondered if he was an effective leader. It wasn’t until 1948 when Truman introduced what became known as the Fair Deal that many of these reforms began to really take effect.
Fair Deal After Truman was re-elected, he didn’t hesitate to present the “Fair Deal” to Congress. The Fair Deal was an agenda layout of various programs that Truman wanted to put into effect throughout 1949. The Fair Deal, like his earlier 21 points, aimed to create new programs that would help, provide new jobs, expand the education system, construct new houses, compensate war veterans, and more. Also like the 21 Points, the programs introduced in the Fair Deal were not well supported by Congress, aside from a few such as The Housing Act of 1949, and the various Veteran’s programs.
Education In 1946, the National School Lunch and Milk Act was put into effect which established school lunch programs across the nation that were intended to provide healthy meals for the students. In 1946, The George-Barden Act increased the federal support for vocational education. In 1950, long term loans were made to colleges to support construction of new dormitories. In 1950, $96.5 million was used for school construction.
Housing In 1947, the Federal Housing and Rent Act allowed for the construction of more rental houses in cities. There was a significant increase in the money provided for farm houses. The Housing Act of 1949 turned out to be one of the few major successes of the Fair Deal. The Act strived to accommodate all American families with a decent home by building more than 800,000 new public houses.
Veterans Unlike much of the rest of the Fair Deal, the Veteran’s programs that aimed to support returning soldiers from World War II were widely accepted and successful. The Veteran’s Emergency Housing Act of 1946 provided housing for the returning soldiers. Veteran’s compensation and pension rates were increased in 1952.
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