Dwight D. Eisenhower: The Call of Duty and the Love of Applause

By Gilbert, Robert E. | The Journal of Psychohistory, Summer 2010 | Go to article overview

Dwight D. Eisenhower: The Call of Duty and the Love of Applause


Gilbert, Robert E., The Journal of Psychohistory


David Dwight Eisenhower was born on October 14, 1890 to Ida and David Eisenhower in Denison, Texas. The family lived in Denison briefly after their general store in Abilene, Kansas, had gone bankrupt but then returned to Abilene when young David was two. There his father became manager of a local creamery at relatively low wages. David Dwight, whose names were soon reversed by his mother in order to avoid confusion with his father, was the third of seven sons. One, Paul, died in early childhood of diphtheria. The other six survived to adulthood and each built a successful career in his own right. Their mother was so even-handed in dealing with them that even after Dwight acquired international fame and she would be asked by reporters whether she was proud of her son, her standard reply was "Which one?" (Eisenhower, 1986, p. 225).

Ida and David had met as students at Lane University in Kansas, a school affiliated with the United Brethren Church. Since women of her day rarely attended college, Ida demonstrated an independent spirit when she enrolled at Lane (Childs, 1958, p. 18). After her marriage to David in 1885, she became a major force in her household and eventually in the lives of her children.

Ida fervently stressed the importance of hard work, self-reliance, and doing one's duty. She also emphasized to her sons that while they could achieve great success if they worked hard, they must always accept their achievements with humility (Wukovits, 2006, p. 8). Although very righteous, she had a pleasant disposition. Years later, one of her grandsons could still remember her humming happily (Kornitzer, 1955, p. 73). She was also deeply religious, so much so that her favorite reading material was the Bible. Dwight later remembered that his mother's most firmly held principle was that of self-discipline which she "preached constantly" (Eisenhower, 1967, p. 32). Indeed, she had such strong self-discipline and was so upright in her personal life that she actually studied law at home so that she would be prepared if she ever encountered her husband's business partner who the family was convinced had stolen their grocery store's profits (Eisenhower, 1967, p. 31). She blamed the dishonest business partner entirely for the family's financial difficulties rather than her husband. Dwight once said that each time his father failed "my mother just smiled and worked harder" (Günther, 1951, p. 49).

While the future president counted his father among the main forces that had shaped his early years, his feelings toward him were ambivalent. David was a moody man who always remained somewhat distant from his sons. He had never taken an active interest in their lives and rarely discussed with them their activities or their aspirations for the future (Ambrose, 1983, p. 20). He simply stressed to them the importance of selfdiscipline and adhering to the message of the Bible. Not surprising, his religious viewpoints were narrow and rigid, leading his son Edgar to describe him as "an inflexible man with a stern code" (Perret, 1999, p. 13). Rather than draw his sons to him, he seemed more often to drive them away, especially since he rarely smiled and often flew into rages. To punish his sons for their transgressions, he would beat them severely. On one occasion, when Eisenhower was six years old, his father was arrested, pleaded guilty and was convicted for striking a neighbor's child (Perret, 1999, p. 13).

Although David was industrious and stressed the importance of hard work and self-dependence to his sons (Sixsmith, 1972, p. 2), he never provided his family with anything more than a modest standard of living. Also, his volatile disposition made him a figure more to be feared than loved. The future President's own son, John, once commented that "...I don't think Dad communicated on a confidential basis with his father, ever." (Eisenhower, 1996, p. 43). When his father died in 1942, Eisenhower did not attend the funeral but instead remained at his desk in the nation's capital. …

The rest of this article is only available to active members of Questia

Sign up now for a free, 1-day trial and receive full access to:

  • Questia's entire collection
  • Automatic bibliography creation
  • More helpful research tools like notes, citations, and highlights
  • Ad-free environment

Already a member? Log in now.

Notes for this article

Add a new note
If you are trying to select text to create highlights or citations, remember that you must now click or tap on the first word, and then click or tap on the last word.
One moment ...
Default project is now your active project.
Project items

Items saved from this article

This article has been saved
Highlights (0)
Some of your highlights are legacy items.

Highlights saved before July 30, 2012 will not be displayed on their respective source pages.

You can easily re-create the highlights by opening the book page or article, selecting the text, and clicking “Highlight.”

Citations (0)
Some of your citations are legacy items.

Any citation created before July 30, 2012 will labeled as a “Cited page.” New citations will be saved as cited passages, pages or articles.

We also added the ability to view new citations from your projects or the book or article where you created them.

Notes (0)
Bookmarks (0)

You have no saved items from this article

Project items include:
  • Saved book/article
  • Highlights
  • Quotes/citations
  • Notes
  • Bookmarks
Notes
Cite this article

Cited article

Style
Citations are available only to our active members.
Sign up now to cite pages or passages in MLA, APA and Chicago citation styles.

(Einhorn, 1992, p. 25)

(Einhorn 25)

1

1. Lois J. Einhorn, Abraham Lincoln, the Orator: Penetrating the Lincoln Legend (Westport, CT: Greenwood Press, 1992), 25, http://www.questia.com/read/27419298.

Cited article

Dwight D. Eisenhower: The Call of Duty and the Love of Applause
Settings

Settings

Typeface
Text size Smaller Larger Reset View mode
Search within

Search within this article

Look up

Look up a word

  • Dictionary
  • Thesaurus
Please submit a word or phrase above.
Print this page

Print this page

Why can't I print more than one page at a time?

Full screen

matching results for page

Cited passage

Style
Citations are available only to our active members.
Sign up now to cite pages or passages in MLA, APA and Chicago citation styles.

"Portraying himself as an honest, ordinary person helped Lincoln identify with his audiences." (Einhorn, 1992, p. 25).

"Portraying himself as an honest, ordinary person helped Lincoln identify with his audiences." (Einhorn 25)

"Portraying himself as an honest, ordinary person helped Lincoln identify with his audiences."1

1. Lois J. Einhorn, Abraham Lincoln, the Orator: Penetrating the Lincoln Legend (Westport, CT: Greenwood Press, 1992), 25, http://www.questia.com/read/27419298.

Cited passage

Thanks for trying Questia!

Please continue trying out our research tools, but please note, full functionality is available only to our active members.

Your work will be lost once you leave this Web page.

For full access in an ad-free environment, sign up now for a FREE, 1-day trial.

Already a member? Log in now.