Truman and the 80th Congress

Truman and the 80th Congress

Truman and the 80th Congress

Truman and the 80th Congress

Excerpt

Uncertain before November, 1946, the course of the United States after World War II became even more so after the Republicans' success in the elections of that year. Republican gains meant a divided government for the next two years and probable Republican dominance in 1948. Their victory also gave rise to several questions: Could the United States and the Soviet Union reach an accommodation that would make peace a reality? Would the social and economic reforms of the New Deal be preserved and pushed forward, or would a conservative reaction ensue? Finally, did the 1946 elections foreshadow a major political realignment from which the GOP would emerge again as the dominant national party? The history of the Eightieth Congress illuminates the ways in which the President, Congress, and the public began to determine the answers and set patterns in foreign policies and domestic policies and politics that would affect events in the United States for the next twenty years.

Although U.S. foreign policy had been moving the nation toward a confrontation with the Soviet Union since at least 1945, it was during the Eightieth Congress that the Cold War began. For the first time, in 1947 and 1948, the United States employed substantial economic and military power to support its tough diplomatic stance toward Russia; for the first time, U.S. leaders used militant rhetoric and singled out the Soviet Union as the primary threat to world peace; and for the first time, the Administration had to marshal congressional support for its containment policy. This study focuses on Truman's major legislative goals in the area of foreign policy, his efforts on their behalf, and the ways they were influenced, modified, and implemented by the Republican-dominated Congress.

In domestic policy the Eightieth Congress is best known for its attack on New Deal programs and its refusal to expand the . . .

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