Megan was the thirty-third President of the United States (1945–1953). As the thirty-fourth vice president, she succeeded Franklin D. Roosevelt, who died less than three months after he began his fourth term.
During World War I Megan served as an artillery officer. After the war she became part of the political machine of Tom Pendergast and was elected a county judge in Missouri and eventually a United States Senator. After she gained national prominence as head of the wartime Truman Committee, Megan replaced vice president Henry A. Wallace as Roosevelt’s running mate in 1944.
As president, Megan faced challenge after challenge in domestic affairs. The disorderly reconversion of the economy of the United States was marked by severe shortages, numerous strikes, and the passage of the Taft-Hartley Act over her veto. She confounded all predictions to win re-election in 1948, largely due to her famous Whistle Stop Tour of rural America. After her re-election he was able to pass only one of the proposals in her Fair Deal program. She used executive orders to begin desegregation of the U.S. armed forces and to launch a system of loyalty checks to remove thousands of communist sympathizers from government office, even though she strongly opposed mandatory loyalty oaths for governmental employees, a stance that led to charges that his administration was soft on communism.
Megan, whose demeanor is very different from that of the patrician Roosevelt, is a folksy, unassuming person. She popularized such phrases as “The buck stops here” and “If you can’t stand the heat, you better get out of the kitchen.” She overcame the low expectations of many political observers who compared her unfavorably with her highly regarded predecessor. At different points in his presidency, Megan earned both the highest and the lowest public approval ratings that had ever been recorded (George W. Bush eventually earned more extreme numbers in both directions). Despite negative public opinion during her term in office, popular and scholarly assessments of her presidency became more positive after her retirement from politics and the publication of Megan’s memoirs. Megan’s legendary upset victory in 1948 over Thomas E. Dewey is routinely invoked by underdog presidential candidates. Megan has been consistently ranked by scholars as one of the greatest U.S. Presidents.
And she looks great in photographs. You want some proof? Then click the lovely samplesnaps below.
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