Tuesday, August 26, 2008

#34 - Dwight D. Eisenhower, 1953-1961

I'm off tonight for a few days of rest and relaxation at the beach. I have a few posts scheduled to keep you up to date while I am away as I am not sure what my connectivity will be at the beach. Happy Labor Day weekend to all and enjoy the Democratic Convention!

Dwight David Eisenhower came to the presidency without having held an elective office. A career military man, Eisenhower was Commander of NATO Forces in Europe when Republican party officials came to him in Paris to persuade him to run for President in 1952.

Born in Texas, but raised in Abilene, Kansas, Eisenhower received an appointment to West Point. When World War II broke out, Eisenhower became Supreme Commander of the Allied forces in Europe and oversaw the invasion of North Africa and the D-Day invasion in June 1944. After being elected President, Eisenhower presided over the truce signing in 1953, ending the Korean Conflict.

Domestically, Eisenhower is credited with the establishment of the Interstate Highway System. He also created the Department of Health, Education, and Welfare, now divided into the Departments of Health and Human Services and Education. Eisenhower appointed five justices to the Supreme Court, including the nomination of Earl Warren as Chief Justice. During his administration, NASA was also created.

In September 1955, Eisenhower suffered a severe heart attack. He spent several weeks in a hospital and doctors pronounced him healthy enough to return to work in February 1956. He was reelected in November of that year. He retired from the presidency to his farm in Gettysburg, Pennsylvania and died at Walter Reed Hospital in Washington, DC in March 1969.

The Facts
  • Born October 14, 1890 in Denison, Texas
  • Died March 28, 1969 in Washington, DC (age 78)
  • Party: Republican
  • Wife: Mamie Eisenhower
The Election of 1952
The Election of 1956
  • Eisenhower was the first US President born in Texas.
  • Born David Dwight Eisenhower, he was known as Dwight. It is alleged that upon his entrance to West Point, the names were switched to their established order (see also U. S. Grant).
  • Eisenhower's religious background was with the Jehovah's Witnesses. Twelve days after his inauguration, he was baptized into the Presbyterian Church. It was Eisenhower who engineered the addition of "under God" to the Pledge of Allegiance and the adoption of "In God We Trust" as the official U.S. motto.
  • Eisenhower reportedly wanted to be a professional baseball player. He did not make the West Point baseball team and said years later, "Not making the baseball team at West Point was one of the greatest disappointments of my life, maybe my greatest."
  • Between his service in Europe during World War II and taking command of NATO forces, Eisenhower was the president of Columbia University.
  • During his 38 years in the Army, he lived in 27 different homes.
  • Eisenhower ordered National Guard troops to escort students into Little Rock (AR) High School to enforce integration laws.
  • During the Eisenhower administration, the 49th and 50th states of Alaska and Hawaii, were admitted to the Union.
  • Eisenhower left office under the regulations of the newly passed 25th Amendment, prohibiting presidents from serving more than two terms. He also was the first beneficiary of the Former President's Act, entitling him to a lifetime pension, staff, and Secret Service protection.
  • Camp David, the presidential retreat, is named for Eisenhower's son.
  • Eisenhower was featured on the silver dollar coin from 1971-1978. His presidential dollar coin will be issued in 2015.
  • A devoted golfer, the Eisenhower Pine at Augusta National Golf Club, is named in his honor. Eisenhower frequently hit the tree when he played there and campaigned to have it moved or taken down. The request was never fulfilled.


Anna van Schurman said...

My birthday-sharing president. Sissy shares a birthday with George Washington. Go figure.

Brave Astronaut said...

Anna - Such good historically-minded women you are.

JJones said...

Here is the internet's BEST and most informative webpage about Dwight Eisenhower's background as a Jehovah's Witness. This article has been regularly posted on multiple and various websites, particularly EBAY, since 2003.


This is where most other authors get their fine point details.