Mr. President: The First Publication from the Personal Diaries, Private Letters, Papers, and Revealing Interviews of Harry S. Truman, Thirty-Second President of the United States of America

By William Hillman; Harry Truman | Go to book overview
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PART FIVE
The Man

I

WHENEVER THE President talks about government or people the word he uses most frequently is happiness. Happiness may be considered a quaint word today. But happiness does not mean welfare or security alone to Mr. Truman, nor does it mean the accumulation of wealth or honors, and it never means domination of other men.

The President said, "Happiness is a state of mind. A farmhand, if he has an ample living, can be just as happy as a millionaire with homes in Maine and Florida. Wealth is a relative proposition, but all men must be assured of an opportunity to work and then it's up to them. But happiness comes from contentment in doing what a man wants to do no matter what kind of work he is doing, provided he does not hurt his neighbor. A man must take pride in his work, but he must go on working because that is the life which gives him peace of mind. Governments are set up to bring about order and their end is to create happiness for men. But government is for all the people and not for any one group or for any special groups. The people have no lobby in Washington looking out for their interests except the President of the United States and it's too bad if the President does not work for their good."

Politics to the President means government.

The President continued.

"It is a pity that some people have a contemptuous idea of politics because politics under our system is government and a man who is not interested in politics is not doing his patriotic duty toward maintaining the constitution of the United States. I am proud to be a politician and to work politically for the happiness and the welfare of the country."

-195-

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Mr. President: The First Publication from the Personal Diaries, Private Letters, Papers, and Revealing Interviews of Harry S. Truman, Thirty-Second President of the United States of America
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