tv Harry Trumans Education CSPAN November 23, 2021 1:52pm-2:22pm EST
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through sunday at cspanshop.org. welcome to whistle stop, a new program from the truman library institute. thank you for joining us today for our next trip down the tracks. i'm kathy pikarsky director of strategic initiatives and host for our journey on the permanent exhibition at the truman presidential library and museum. after a spectacular $29 million renovation. at every stop along the route the series provides with you special access to all the fascinating galleries art facts films and stories and slides. before i give the all aboard, i'd like to give a quick thank you to our generous whistle stop series sponsor, black and beach. today we are traveling to missouri at the turn of the century. to explore harry s. truman as formative years. after watching truman abrupt ascreens to the presidency and the museum introduction film
brilliantly detailed in the first episode in our whistle stop series by aj beam. available for trueing on the truman institute library website if you missed it we'll stop in the next gallery, plow to politics. so explore the origins of the 33rd president and discover the first thing or things in his past that prepared him for the presidency. the art facts, documents and hand drawn interactive in the first room of politics. in the first room of the politics galli will guise are guide you through the construction of the strong foundation that truman laid on to succeed in the presidency, his american background, valueses is and close personal relationships and life experiences. this includes the lasting kregss or where you explore the things that left a lasting impression on truman. now for today's journey we have a very special conductor.
it's me. in addition to hosting whistle stops and leaning strategic prongts for the truman library i was project lead for are the nationally recognized permanent exhibition and honored to be your conduct are today. so i'll take your tickets and we'll get in locomotive rolling. nine u.s. presidents to not have a college degree and the only one in the 20th century he was far from uneducated. at an early age truman was an avied individual reader and would be from throughout his life from the bible and history and history to fiction and poetry. david mccullough once said truman was a great student of history which is extremely important to understand if one wants to understand him. and the fal gallery has many photos of truman. this one of him at age 13. as a child truman's poor eyesight limited his ability to play sports or enjoy many
outdoor activities. instead truman filled his time with reading and playing the piano. in the galleries when you walk by the piano it will play several of the pieces that truman would play, one of them by pataruskyp truman piano play something a story by itself to we leave that for another day. at this stop we're focusing on the reading. this is a photograph of trum within his brother vivian. truman is 4 years old in this picture and vivian 2. many years later in 1894 they both caught diphtheria before there was a vaccine it was a serious bacterial infection that could be deadly in children. truman was temporarily paralyzed in arms and legs. remembering this period his sister said that's when truman started reading so much. he couldn't do anything else and couldn't get up without help.
so he would lie on the floor and put books down on the floor in front of him and he would read that way. for his tenth birthday his mother mother gave him a four volume set of the charles f horn great men and famous went a pen and pencil schedules of two of run of the most prominent people in history. before the four volumes were soldiers and sail sailor sail years workmen and heroes and artists and authors. now the set of books on the exhibit are not the original ones that truman read. those have been lost to time. but they are from the same period. truman would later recount the receipt of the books, his favorite of which was statesmen and stages as one of the turning points in his life. now not to be outdone by his wife truman's father john give him plu tark's rise of the noble grease yans and roman ps.
between the two books he gathered heroes he zroev to emulate and listens he would carry with him to the presidency. a few of the heroes and influences are detailed in the gal gallery. today we look in depth at not only some of what truman read and what he took away from it but how he butt put to use as president. but first we should finish with truman list raert bookshelf because biographies of noble individuals were far from all that he red. mary ellen a john wanted a houseful of books for the family. attempt fog you fill the bodily harm with as many books as they could. he gathered lose change saving up for the complete set of william shakes peer. rollout truman read poetry. robert burns and alfred lloyd tennisons aets film he first copied in longhand and carried a copy in his wallet et the rest of his life published in 1842 it
captured truman he is vision of a peaceful world. i'm going to read a stanza of it for you here now. until the war drob throbs no longer and the battle and the parliament of men of the world, common sense shall hold a fretful roman awe and the kindly earth shall slumber locked in universal awe. now a school mate remembers seeing truman take three books home every weekend. truman claimed to have read the bible twice by age 12. by age 14 he says that he had read every volume of these two thousand books. three to four thousand by some estimates in the independence library seen here. and in his later years in 1962 truman wroets to his friend and
former secretary of state dean atchison about it. and you can see what he wrote on the right-hand side whichly read for you now. he said, believe it or not, i read them all, including the encycle lows maybe i was a damn fool but it served me well when my terrible trial came. not surprisingly truman's classmates seen in the senior dallas photo and truman in the back row, the fourth from the left. truman's classmates consulted him with questions about history or religion. in 1960 oral history oral acroarchives one of his classmates henry child called truman a historian as he remembered a particular instance in which truman straighted out the boys about the dealt dalton gang it was a group of auto lieus between 1890 and 12892. the boy debated which brother started the group and how many were killed in the attempted
bank robbery in kansas that was the gang's demise. of course truman had the answer. henry recalled theyed call him on it but they didn't because they had respect for him. the boys might not have called him in a sissy. but later in life truman called himself a sissy recalling those years. looking back truman said reading history to me was far more than a romanticic adventure. there was solid instruction and wise teaching. which i i somehow felt i wanted and needed. i could see the history had some extremely valuable lessons to teach. i learned from it that a leader is a man ha has the ability to get other people to do what they don't want to do and like it. two of truman high school composition books are in the collection of the truman library, providing insights on people moral ideals that truman gathered from readings.
and from them we can conclude the following about truman's beliefs. courage counted above all. patriotism was important. shame was detestable. on courage truman wrote, the virtue i call courage is not and alwaysing facing the foe but in taking care of those at home. a true heart, a strong mind and a great deal of courage and i think a man will get through the world. after world war ii courage and a strong mind got truman through his stewardship of a post-war democrat order. but that's a few galleries town the track. after reading the merchant of venice which can be seen here truman wrote what he believed was the ideal man. he should be in the first place brave. then he should fear his god. he must not be cold haughty or hypocritical but have a warm matter and love someone. now with all this reading truman was rblt prshlt an excellent
student, right? not exactly we only have his second grade report card on vau in the exhibit as seen here. none of his high school report cards survived a fire at the school. but there are some oral hivrts his teachers we know he was a good student but not exceptional. especially necessary next to his presented and future press secretary charlie ross who latin and mathematics teach he were palmer called brilliant. nonetheless it was clear that truman had a special something. and in later years miss palmer admitted although perhaps her memory had change with the benefit of time, i knew harry would amount to something. by i never thought he would be president. and that's the first lady. after truman had ambition to study law and finance but it was his finances and duty to family that led thiem through numerous career first in the mail room, time keeping for the railroad and lastly working in banks and in downtown kansas city.
crewing for commerce bank where we have his employment application and one of his reviews spoiler alert he was a good employee. before become called back to the family farm. now we know from his corresponds during this time and his diaries he continued to read. including some latin. just for fun. if you're familiar with the truman story, he next leaves the family farm to serve, woop, preview he next leaves the family farm to serve in world war i. as the whistle stop truman congress have swr impressed his unit with his knowledge of french history in the city of orleans. they insisted they visit a branson statue of joan of arc. the lessons he learned arest. reading provided him moral and
ethical guidance. he used these as tools to make decisions. truman seen here with best on the truman balcony after the renovation of the white house, looked to history for invieth into civil rights, the recognition of israel. fighting como communism, post-war policy and whether or not he should run for another term. he didn't only use history. he had top advisers and experts before making a decision. but the lessons he had taken away from his favorite books as a young boy were never far from his mind. as presiding judge of jackson county truman wrote in a autobiographile man yew script which he entitled the military career of a missourian that in reading the lives of grate men i found the first victory they won was over carolin emerges
self-zplip came first. he is referred great plenty and famous women where he found men to emulate. the roman general cincinnatiious. and george washington among others. now hannibal was a general and military strategist who later went in politics. he was admired for his ability to judge individual strengths and weaknesses. doing so in fact was with only one eye. truman would reflect that there is not in all history so wonderful an example of what a single man of genius may achieve against tremendous odds. and i remember cyrus cincinnati us and washington because we'll go back to them in a little bit. in senate truman knew his formal education did not match that of his fellow senators and he worked hard to compensate for it. assigned to a new interstate commerce subcommittee charged with investigating railroad finances, truman gathered more
than 50 volumes of railroad management, and more from the library of congress. in later years he remarked how surprised and disappointed he was with how few of his congressman utilized the library. the white house staff simply came to admire truman he is's grasp of history. truman said if a man is aacquainted with what other people experienced at its best is it will be easier for him to go through a similar experience. it is ignorance that causes most mistakes. the man who sits here ought to know his american history at least. his wealth of knowledge was a great strength. when he said he would have liked to have a history teach per. he was asked rather teach it than make it? truman responded yes qb i think so it would be not nearly so much trouble. from his years of reading truman
was also posed by demagogues and big on theory. among these including the ku klux klan. truman knew that as president he couldn't sit i'dly by and do nothing in the face of the glaring injustices occurring in the south. in response to a letter from home advising him to take it easy on kivrl rights. truman spoded the main difficulty with the south that is that they are living 80 years before behind the times and the sooner they come out it the better it will be for the country. as we looked to upcoming whistle stops truman would degrate the military and federal workforce. while history informed truman about our great republic he was also steeped in knowledge ever the challenges of our democracy. on june 16th 1949 he told reporters inquiring about the
red scare, read your history through jefferson's administration hysteria died down and the country didn't go to hell and it isn't going to now. he was not ambivalent about communism and threat to democracy. he read plu tark's rise given by miss father to assess the situation. it was the same with the old birds in greece and roam as now. the only thing new in the world is the history we don't know. thinking of thing we know how do we reum truman read the beebl presumably the family bible seen here twice before the age of 12. well, because he said so. once writing, i owe a great deal of familiarity with the bible to the mass onic studies and the fact i read it twice before 12 years old. after joining the grand massonic lodge he became the 33 degree
mason the highest attained by a u.s. president. he had opinions and rings including the 33rd degree ring are on exhibit in the power to politics gallery as well as a bible given to him in honor of his service of the masons. now in the bible truman found the moral code -- core of american government which he described in a 1952 address. i'm sure you're tired of hearing me quote president truman so we're going to let him tell you himself. >> the fundamental basis of this nation's ideals was given to moses on mount sinai. the fundamental basis of the bill of rights of our country comes from the teachings we get from exodus, st. matthew, isaiah and st. paul. the sermon on the mount gives us a way of life.
maybe some day man will understand it as the real way of life. the basis of all great moral codes is, do unto others as you would have others do unto you. treat others as you would like to be treated. some of you may think that such a philosophy as that has no place in politics or government. but it is the only philosophy on which you can base a lasting government. government -- governments built on that philosophy are built on a rock and will not fail. >> one of truman's favorite psalms was psalm 13 by the rivers of babel on we sat down yeah, we we want when we remembered zion. this along with his bapz upbringing self-administered history education informed his support of a jewish state. it's also believed the story of
cyrus who freed jews influenced his view of the jewish homeland. the idea of the jewish return to zion resonated with the president even though many in the political military establishment strongly opposed the idea. on may 14th, 1948 truman declared the de facto representation of the provisional government of the state of israel, which is a fascinating story that we'll explore at another whistle stop. but rather cincinnatis and washington and and the cincinnatis was famous for holding power no longer than necessary. like george washington truman admired the men li man's ability to now know how and when to lay down great power. trum had in mind when he wrote at april 6 stating he would not run for a third ferm in 1952. you can read both on these two pages. but i will also read it for you.
in my opinion, eight years of presidency is enough and sometimes too much for any man to serve in that capacity. there is power. it can get caught in a alban man's blood just as money and lust for gambling have been knowned to. this is a republic, the history in the greatest in the world. i want this country to continue as a republic. cincinnatiisos and washington pointed the way. when roam forgot cincinnatis the downfall began. when we forget such men all of whom could have had a continuation and office then we will start down the road to dictatorship and ruin. both men inspired truman to embrace private life after the presidency. seen here, you got it, reading with beth in their home and delaware street, independence, missouri. when asked by an editor of his memoirs if he would like to read himself to sleep at night truman
answered, no, young man, i like to read myself awake. interested in following in truman he is bibl file plu tark as lives crease ar commentaries with benjamin franklin's autobiography. the fall and decline of the roman empire. bunker bean. missouri's struggle for statehood. plato's republic. the complete works of robert byrnes, the deplete works of lord byron. edward shepper kreezer 15 decisive battles of the world. charles veersen economic interpretation of the constitution and william shakespeare, all of his writings. over awed yet. then a little piece of advice from the president. it's been a lifelong program for me. and if you start out even on this incomplete list, you will find it a lengthy study but well worthwhile. . it will keep you out of mischief tori.
as we approach the station i hand over the controls to david mcall to give final thoughts as told a audience in front of the truman library in honor of the library bra as 50th anniversary in 2007. >> ethyl nolened, who was harry truman's cousin, wrote some very per acceptsive things about truman. is he said among other things, i don't know anybody in the world who ever read as much or as widely as he did. he was what you would call a book worm. history became a passion as he worked his way through a shelf of standard works on ancient egypt, greece and rome. he had a real feeling for history, she wrote, but it wasn't something in a book but it was part of life, a section of life or a former time was of
interest because it had to do with people. harry truman understood that history is human. he understood that history isn't simple, that the history of our country isn't simple. america isn't simple. he understood that in a way there is no such thing as the past. nothing ever happened in the pastor. it only happened in the present. somebody else's present, not ours. john adams, george washington, harry truman, they didn't walk around saying isn't this fascinating, living in the past. aren't we remarkable in our funny clothes? truman understood the english language. look at the famous speeches of the 1948 campaign. almost all delivered
extemporaneously from the back of the train. look at the quality of the language, the good, clear english language. how proud his teachers must have been. if a one syllable word would suffice for a three syllable word you could count on harry truman to use the short word, just as abraham lincoln did. and it much to do with the fact that he had had latin. he had had a classical education, which is exactly the kind of education john adams had, or thomas jefferson. and if you were george washington or henry knox or the general nathaniel greene and only had a sixth grade education, then you read the classification in english translations. a classical education was what
they understood history to mean in the founding time. there was no american history to read. so they read classical history. and from classical history came their notions of honor, virtue, honesty, character. character is destiny, the greeks said. and if you want to study that in a living model look at the story of harry truman. common sense -- common sense isn't common, as voltaire observed. and who knows how many before voltaire. truman understand that. the enormous value, bedrock value of common sense. >> truman's first real test of his common sense, character and leadership is the subject of our next stop.
in world war ii on october 14th find out what happened after truman wrote home to beth i wouldn't be left out of the greatest history-making epic the world has ever seen for all there is to live for. you can find information about future installments of in series as well as other interesting programs by signing up for our email news letter at truman library institute.org. >> how exactly did america get up to its next. >> we believe one of the greatest characteristics of being american we are trichg to provide equal opportunity for all citizens. >> the cspan documentary competition 2022, students across the country give us behind the scenes look as they work on entries using the hashtag student camp. and if you're middle or high school student can you join the conversation by entering the cspan student camp competition. create a five to six minute documentary using cspan video clips and answer the question
how does the federal government impact your life. >> express your view, no matter how large or small you think the audience will receive it to be. and know that in the greatest country in the history of the earth your view does matter. >> 80s to all the film makers out there remember content is king. and just remember to be as neutral and impartial as possible in your portrayal of both sides of an issue. >> cspan awards $100,000 in total cash prizes, and you have a shot at winning the grand prize of $5,000. entries must be made before january 20th, 2022. for competition rules, tutorials or how to get started visit our website at student.org download. cspan's new mobile app and stay up to date with live video coverage of big politic willingle events live stream of
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