.

You'll never see this again.

This is the problem with politicians today.

Harry Truman was a different kind of President.  He probably made as many or more important decisions regarding our nation's history as any of the other 42 Presidents preceding him. 

However, a measure of his greatness may rest on what he did after he left the White House. The only asset he had when he died was the house he lived in, which was in Independence Missouri.  His wife had inherited the house from her mother and father and other than their years in the White House, they lived their entire lives there. When he retired from office in 1952 his income was a U.S. Army pension reported to have been $13,507.72 a year. 

Congress, noting that he was paying for his stamps and personally licking them, granted him an 'allowance' and, later, a retroactive pension of $25,000 per year. After President Eisenhower was inaugurated, Harry and Bess drove home to Missouri by themselves.  There was no Secret Service following them. When offered corporate positions at large salaries, he declined, stating, "You don't want me.  You want the office of the President, and that doesn't belong to me.  It belongs to the American people and it's not for sale."

Even later, on May 6, 1971, when Congress was preparing to award him the Medal of Honor on his 87th birthday, he refused to accept it, writing, "I don't consider that I have done anything which should be the reason for any award, Congressional or otherwise." As president he paid for all of his own travel expenses and food. Modern politicians have found a new level of success in cashing in on the Presidency, resulting in untold wealth. 

Today, many in Congress also have found a way to become quite wealthy while enjoying the fruits of their offices. Political offices are now for sale (cf. Illinois). Good old Harry Truman was correct when he observed, "My choices in life were either to be a piano player in a whore house or a politician.  And to tell the truth, there's hardly any difference!

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Mafia Mike October 21, 2012 at 05:49 AM
Once upon a time, long, long ago, we had Presidents with dignity and pride.
Karen Itzenhuiser October 21, 2012 at 05:59 AM
This was a man of integrity. A man of honesty and consistency of character that I'm not sure we'll ever see again. Such virtues in todays society are very rare. Good article! Thanks for sharing.
jbw October 21, 2012 at 06:29 AM
Could it be that he felt a mixture of humility and guilt after authorizing the use of nuclear weapons against large civilian populations? We might have another president like him soon depending upon our policies with Iran.
Michael McClusky October 21, 2012 at 12:37 PM
I remember reading David McCullough's biography "Truman." After he returned home to Missouri he and his wife decided to go on a cross country cruise without warning anyone of their intentions. Every jurisdiction they drove into went into a panic, because law enforcement certainly did not want anything to befall the former president on their watch. In typical Truman fashion, he could not see what all of the fuss was about. His modesty knew no bounds. He was our last great president.
RJS October 21, 2012 at 01:12 PM
"FAT CHANCE" of that ever happening again. Todays presidents are all about how to set up the already rich. None of the candidates are worth the ground they walk on. And when they do get in, they're nothing but puppets run by the wealthyist of the country. The rich get richer and the poor get poorer. Am I wrong on my thinking? I think NOT! RJS
Mafia Mike October 21, 2012 at 04:00 PM
We'll never have another president like Harry S. Truman jbw. Since WWII, there has never been a president with this mans intregity, dignity and pride, and most likely never will be. His authorization of the atomic bombs in Hiroshima and Nagasaki were conducted by the United States during the final stages of WWII in 1945 which ended the war when the invasion of the Japanese archipelago became imminent. There was no humility or guilt.
mau October 21, 2012 at 04:13 PM
The Clinton's never owned their own house either, until they left the White House.
Greg Burmeister October 22, 2012 at 11:20 AM
I don't believe Jack Kennedy took a salary while in the White House either.
oak creek resident October 22, 2012 at 12:56 PM
Uhhhh the kennedys were/are filthy rich, duhhh.
Bren October 22, 2012 at 02:05 PM
Truman had no knowledge about the Manhatten Project until after he was sworn in as president, other than appropriating funds for it as a senator (based on assurances with no actual review of the project). The weapon was described to him as "looking" to have "almost unbelievable power." Of course, it was impossible to measure what that looked like in the pre-atomic era. Or the results. Dropping the first bomb on a civilian population (instead of say, the mountains, where its power could also be observed), and dropping the second bomb, were highly controversial decisions. Anyone who has watched documentaries about the effect on the population of these weapons must appreciate why sanctions and isolation of hostile countries must always be the first course of action. The effects of war on innocent people is devastating.
H.E. Pennypacker October 22, 2012 at 02:11 PM
Let's also not forget that Truman was a Democrat. Yes folks, the peace loving Democrats were the first party to use nuclear weapons on innocent civilians.

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