How has the presidency changed? 1921-81

  • Created by: AF06
  • Created on: 29-10-18 09:09

Warren Harding (1929-33)- Republican

  • Quiet and humble personality
  • Had a lack of decisiveness
  • Pledged a 'return to normalcy'- but no one really understood what this meant
  • Disorganised with presidential outlook
  • Became known as 'President Hardly' given his role in the Teapot Dome Scandal and lack of decision and priority.
  • Used Congress to reverse laws and policies of Woodrow Wilson presidency
  • Went on a 'Front Porch' election campaign across America
  • First president to be heard on the radio (1922)
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Calvin Coolidge (1923-29)

  • Restrained, cautious personality
  • Balanced the federal budget
  • Cut size of federal government
  • Tried his best to get on with Congress, but was unable to achieve harmony
  • Listened to the Democrats
  • Restored public faith in government 
  • Reputation for honesty and integrity
  • Spoke on the radio monthly
  • Held 520 press conferences
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Herbert Hoover (1929-33)- Republican

  • Reputation for being hard-working and uncorrupted
  • Was ready to take lead on a project
  • Helped feed millions of Belgians in WWI
  • Had trouble passing legislation through Congress
  • Ran a risk free presidential campaign, conducting 7 radio speeches
  • Reputation tarnished after Great Depression
  • Believed in Rugged Individualism
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FDR (1933-45)- Democrat

  • Exceptional manager of Congress
  • Worked well with Congress to get New Deal passed
  • Struggled to get radical elements of the New Deal past Congress
  • Empathiser and grandfather figure
  • Harnessed the power of the media
  • Was viewed as a pioneer of using the radio
  • Famous for his fireside chats
  • Surrounded himself with a 'Brain Trust'- a group of experts advising him on key issues
  • Seen as the 'Saviour of the Nation'
  • Drew criticisms from the left and the right
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Harry Truman (1945-53)- Democrat

  • Worked less well with Congress as they blocked many of his desired reforms
  • Had fewer contacts so was less able to network and charm
  • Not charismatic or very confident
  • Overwhelmed by the importance of the job
  • Made mistakes under pressure- the result was many people using the phrase 'to errr is Truman'
  • Saw working with media as important
  • Gave careful briefings with flipchart and pointer (economic policy)
  • Sometimes didn't explain enough (e.g. policy regarding Korean War)
  • Worked well with White House administration
  • Didn't always choose the right people for a job
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Dwight Eisenhower (1953-61)- Republican

  • Worked well with Congress
  • Good at political bargaining and persuasion
  • Had an optimistic, friendly manner
  • Often obscured or minimised a problem (e.g. Space Race with USSR, the missile gap issue)
  • Exceptional organisation
  • Set up regular briefings and long-term planning sessions
  • Had everyone concerned in to debate a decision
  • Had a good public manner
  • Used clear imagery in his speeches
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JFK (1961-63)- Democrat

  • Worked very well with Congress
  • Good at political bargaining and persuasion
  • Family connections were a massive help
  • Came from a political family so understood importance of charm
  • Worked hard on speech-making style and self-presentation
  • Used television really well to reach out directly to the American people
  • Poor organisational ability
  • Advisors competed for attention therefore not working together
  • Abandoned Eisenhower's regular meetings for meetings that were needed
  • Didn't always consult the right people
  • Good public manner, he was accessible and attractive
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LBJ (1963-69)- Democrat

  • Worked very well with Congress
  • Had political background so really understood how to use connections and persuade
  • Good at creative thinking to make things happen
  • Understood importance of winning people over
  • Could change his style and opinions to get what he wanted
  • Not a media natural but was careful to keep them informed
  • Didn't suit Kennedy's organisation, but he still kept it
  • Patchy speech style; could give good speeches or stiff, awkward ones
  • Worked best giving speeches to smaller groups
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Richard Nixon (1969-74)- Republican

  • Awkward with Congress given his suspicious nature
  • Found it easy to manage Congress as he found it hard to make personal connections and persuade
  • Clever and capable nature
  • Hated people disagreeing with him
  • Could make spur-of-the-moment decisions, but then back-track
  • Distrusted the media, so therefore was very bad at managing it
  • Re-instated system of regular meetings and briefings with White House staff
  • Not good at taking advice
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Gerald Ford (1974-77)- Republican

  • Didn't work well with Congress
  • Unpopular with Congress given that he regularly vetoed their legislation
  • Regarded as an awkward, uninspiring man
  • He quoted himself that he was 'a Ford, not a Lincoln'!
  • Incapable of using the media effectively
  • Never managed to win trust back after the Watergate scandal
  • Shared the same organisational ability as Nixon
  • Vilified for pardoning Nixon for his role in the Watergate scandal and for the fall of Saigon
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Jimmy Carter (1977-81)- Democrat

  • Inexperienced in Washington
  • Couldn't get legislation effectively passed through Congress
  • Only understood Georgian politics
  • Was very likeable initially
  • Weak and unconfident as a president
  • Didn't manage the media effectively
  • Often seen as the subject of ridicule
  • Surrounded by capable administrators and good advisors
  • Public opinion was very poor as he was seen as weak and incapable
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