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Old December 9th, 2012, 03:32 PM   #1

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Jefferson to Adams what Eisenhower was to FDR


I came across this quote in book and I thought it would grease the wheels of thought.

"Jefferson was to Washington and Adams what Dwight Eisenhower
was to Franklin D. Roosevelt and Harry Truman."


What do you think it means?
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Old December 9th, 2012, 04:01 PM   #2

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To me it would mean slowing the expansion of federal government power. You could probably say the same thing for Harding and Wilson.
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Old December 9th, 2012, 08:16 PM   #3

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Quote:
Originally Posted by tjadams View Post
I came across this quote in book and I thought it would grease the wheels of thought.

"Jefferson was to Washington and Adams what Dwight Eisenhower
was to Franklin D. Roosevelt and Harry Truman."

What do you think it means?
They're probably references to the political differences between the two.

Adams and Jefferson, up until the point when neither was president, engaged in heavily partisan battles over how the country would be won. During these battles, the two saw each other as their own personal nemisis.

With regard to Ike, I don't think he was a political threat to FDR. The only general who tried to run against him was MacArthur, but he never got out of the GOP primaries. When Ike did run, I'm not sure if he actually ran against Truman or against one of Truman's cabinet members, but they were on opposite sides of the political spectrum. Truman was a Center-Left Democrat while Ike was a Center-Right Republican. (However, I'm not familiar enough with that election to know exactly how partisan it was...
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Old December 9th, 2012, 09:00 PM   #4

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Aside from the parallel mentioned by Rongo, there were others. Jefferson represented a historic change in party from Federalist to Democratic-Republican. Eisenhower represented a historic change after FDR/HST from 20 years Democratic party to Republican Party. Also, Jefferson had held high appointive Federal office under Washington (Sec'y of State and Ambassador to France) and was Vice President under Adams (at that time by virtue of being runner-up in the presidential election). Eisenhower served under both FDR and HST as Supreme Allied Commander, and NATO Supreme Commander (1950-52).

While Jefferson ran for President against Adams, the democrate asked Eisenhower to run in 1948 and Truman offered to run as his Vice President, but Eisenhower declined and never aligned with the Democratic Party.
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Old December 9th, 2012, 09:39 PM   #5

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Here's the full quote from the book,

"Another imprecise analogy, but one worth considering, is that Jefferson was to
Washington and Adams what Dwight Eisenhower was to Franklin D. Roosevelt and
Harry Truman: a president who reformed but essentially ratified an existing course of government."
[1]



[1] Jon Meacham, Thomas Jefferson: The Art of Power (New York: Random House, 2012), 509.
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Old December 9th, 2012, 10:02 PM   #6

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Quote:
Originally Posted by tjadams View Post
Here's the full quote from the book,

"Another imprecise analogy, but one worth considering, is that Jefferson was to Washington and Adams what Dwight Eisenhower was to Franklin D. Roosevelt and Harry Truman: a president who reformed but essentially ratified an existing course of government." [1]

[1] Jon Meacham, Thomas Jefferson: The Art of Power (New York: Random House, 2012), 509.
That sounds as though the book is making some commentary on the fact that while Adams and Jefferson and FDR/Truman and Eisenhower were both on different parties that had different viewpoints for the govenment... there was no apocolyptic change that occured when Jefferson took over from Adams and Ike took over from Truman.

After all, it could be argued that the Louisiana Purchase was a "continuation" of Adams' policies in the sense that it didn't strictly follow the US Constitution but used the elastic clause (which Jefferson to my knowledge had heavily criticized). And in time, after Jefferson's presidency was over, he and Adams largely settled their personal differences and put aside partisan politics.

And Ike not only continued Truman's policies with regard to civil rights but he even expanded them. Truman desegregated the military. Ike took it a step further by moving it from the military to public schools.

And in that sense, neither Jefferson nor Eisenhower took the country backward to where it was before Adams or FDR...

But that's only a guess on my part, based on the lines you've provided.
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Old December 9th, 2012, 11:17 PM   #7

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^That's pretty close to what I think the author had in mind, he calls it an
"an imprecise analogy."
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Old December 10th, 2012, 01:32 AM   #8

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Been meaning to read that book, but it's low in my stack.
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Old December 10th, 2012, 07:37 AM   #9

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Quote:
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Been meaning to read that book, but it's low in my stack.
I only have one other book by Mr. Meacham (American Lion) and this is
only my second exposure to his writing: I'm hooked. I find this man
one of the most intelligent, well balanced and fluent writers I've ever
read. In his Jefferson book, he personally explains his (Meacham) thought pattern
with "When I started to write this book..." and it is really enlightening.
This Jefferson book is not one dripping with foamy praise of the man,
or excuses him for his mistakes and actions. It is very unbiased and
very, very packed with factual bits that will give any person wanting
to know more about Jefferson, a fair and clean read. I'm not finished
reading it yet, but if the middle and the end are as good as the
beginning, then I'm in store for a minty-fresh adventure.
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Old December 11th, 2012, 02:49 PM   #10

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Quote:
Originally Posted by tjadams View Post
I only have one other book by Mr. Meacham (American Lion) and this is
only my second exposure to his writing: I'm hooked. I find this man
one of the most intelligent, well balanced and fluent writers I've ever
read. In his Jefferson book, he personally explains his (Meacham) thought pattern
with "When I started to write this book..." and it is really enlightening.
This Jefferson book is not one dripping with foamy praise of the man,
or excuses him for his mistakes and actions. It is very unbiased and
very, very packed with factual bits that will give any person wanting
to know more about Jefferson, a fair and clean read. I'm not finished
reading it yet, but if the middle and the end are as good as the
beginning, then I'm in store for a minty-fresh adventure.
Good to know.
This book is on my Christmas list!
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