Endings and Beginnings,
In the mid-1950s, when Dwight Eisenhower seemed at the height of his popularity and political influence, he repeatedly expressed two resolves. First, he wanted to ensure the loyalty of the Democratic majorities in Congress to the foreign policies of his administration. Second, he planned to recast his own party. In early 1954, he had remarked to Press Secretary James Hagerty on the need for “a word to put ahead of Republican—something like 'New' or 'Modern' or something.” This objective required both recruiting attractive new candidates for the party and reshaping GOP policies to appeal to young voters.
As it turned out, neither of these two resolves bore positive results. Faced with a Democratic-controlled Congress throughout his second term, Eisenhower adhered to the formalities of bipartisan cooperation in setting the broad outlines of foreign policy, but more often he worked successfully to circumvent congressional authority. Meanwhile, serious new challenges abroad—ranging from war scares in Asia and the Middle East to the surprise Soviet launching of a space satellite that transformed and intensified the