Republican candidate General Dwight D. Eisenhower was inaugurated as the 34th President of the United States on January 20, 1953, becoming the first Republican in twenty years to be elected as president. President Eisenhower broke tradition by reciting his own prayer after taking the oath instead of kissing the Bible and jumping right into his inaugural speech. When elected for a second term, his inauguration fell on a Sunday (January 20, 1956), so President Eisenhower was sworn in privately by Chief Justice Earl Warren in the East Room of the White House (Eisenhower Public Library and Museum 2012); his public inauguration into office followed the next day. President Eisenhower was 62 years old when he was sworn into office in 1953.
Due to the ratification of the 22nd Amendment Eisenhower became the first president to be constitutionally prevented from running for re-election to the office after serving the maximum two terms allowed (Eisenhower Public Library and Museum 2012). President Eisenhower’s ability to perform his role as president came after a long career in the United States Army. In 1911 Dwight D. Eisenhower entered the United States Military Academy at West Point, NY, graduating in 1915 as a 2nd Lieutenant, going on to serve as a young officer through World War I and World War II moving his way up the chain of command until reaching the rank of five star general after leading the D-Day invasion in 1944, the highest rank an officer can reach in the United States Army. In 1948 General Eisenhower Resigned from the Army (Eisenhower Public Library and Museum 2012). President Eisenhower’s military role with world leaders transitioned over into his role as president seamlessly.
President Eisenhower’s tenure as the 34th president was full of accomplishments and milestones: ending the Korean War, enduring the Supreme Court rulings on ending segregation, enforcing the rulings, balancing the budget three times in his eight year tenure, Hawaii and Alaska becoming the 49th and 50th States during his presidency, to signing the bill establishing National Aeronautics and Space Administration (NASA), to delivering his Farewell Address to the Nation warning of the “Military- Industrial Complex” (Eisenhower Public Library and Museum 2012) are only a few of the highlights of Eisenhower’s presidency.
No other president before Eisenhower was given the amount of chaos that he contended with in his presidency. “Eisenhower was confronted with major Cold War crises every year he was in office: Korea, Vietnam, Formosa, Suez, Hungary, Berlin and the U-2. While more than once America seemed on the brink of war and those around him clamored to drop the Bomb, Eisenhower always kept a level head. He dealt calmly and rationally with each situation, always finding a solution that avoided war without diminishing America’s prestige (NPS 2012). He endured and kept our beloved country at peace during his presidency despite the numerous crises’s the country faced. President Eisenhower’s first major accomplishment in the oval office and true to his campaign promise, attempted to end the Korean War.
“In July 1953 after President Eisenhower threatened to use nuclear weapons, an armistice was signed, ending the Korean War. Despite the Korean War, Korea remains divided at the 38th Parallel. President Eisenhower’s leadership style of sincerity, fairness, and optimism helped to comfort the nation after the war (AP 2012). This also called for a demilitarized zone and voluntary repatriation of soldiers in the armistice. In December 1953, President Eisenhower gave “Atoms For Peace speech” at the United Nations proposing an international atomic energy agency and peaceful development of nuclear energy; thus, making it very clear the power of America’s nuclear arsenal in his first year in office. On July 29, 1957, the United States ratified International Atomic Energy Agency to pool atomic resources for peaceful use as proposed by President Eisenhower in his speech to the United Nations previously (“US History 2012”).
During his first term, President Eisenhower endured the ruling of the Supreme Court in “Brown Vs. Topeka Board of Education” in 1954 with the Supreme Court ruling segregated schools are “inherently unequal” and unconstitutional. In 1955, the Supreme Court reaffirmed its stance on principles of school segregation, ordering gradual compliance by local authorities. On September 9, 1957 President Eisenhower signed the Civil Rights Act of 1957, the first since the reconstruction amendments over eighty years before (Dwightdeisenhower 2012).
On September 27, 1957 President Eisenhower ordered federal troops to the scene of violence at Little Rock Central High School in Little Rock, Arkansas to enforce integration of Negro students who had been barred by the National Guard as ordered by Arkansas Governor Orval Faubus (Eisenhower Presidential Library and Museum 2012). Then “Nine Negro students entered the high school doors, under Army guard sat thru a full day of classes.
The governors of southern states then asked the president to remove the troops, and the president’s reply was: “his own responsibilities under the Constitution were not subject to negotiation. (Korda, p 698). ” Thus, Eisenhower resolved the crisis. This action was the most serious domestic challenge of his presidency. President Eisenhower felt that desegregation should start small like with parks and restaurants also with the Armed Forces then move up steadily until every citizen was equal. Today, we still see areas of racial problems that President Eisenhower faced during his presidency.
On several occasions Eisenhower had expressed distaste for racial segregation, though he doubtless believed that the process of integration would take time (Encyclopedia Britannica 2012). ” These are only a few of the tremendous milestones that President Eisenhower endured or accomplished during his tenure in the Oval Office. Today we still see the effects of his accomplishments and milestones. Although most do not realize that President Eisenhower was a brilliant man, he had one image, and behind the scenes he was an outstanding leader who could bluff anyone. When President Eisenhower turned over the Oval Office to newly elected John F. Kennedy, Eisenhower let it be known that he would like his title of General of the Army (5 Star General) be restored.
This required Congressional legislation; the new president asked a military assistant why Eisenhower would want to give up the title of Mr. President to be called General. The military assistant explained that the military was an integral part of Eisenhower’s life. President Kennedy then understood, created the legislation, and the bill was passed in March 1961(Korda, p. 61-762). ” Eisenhower and George Washington were the only two United States President with military service to reenter the Armed Forces after leaving the office of President (Eisenhower Presidential Library and Museum 2012). Nine years later at the age of seventy eight, Eisenhower passed away from heart failure, as he was dying Eisenhower gave one last order “Lower the shades! I want to go. God take me (Korda, p. 723). ” Per his wishes General Eisenhower was taken by train from Washington, DC to Abilene, Kanas for burial after his body laid in state at the capital.
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