Program Details

What a Man in that Office Ought to be Like: Harry Truman's Character as President

Clifton Truman Daniel
History / Other

Course Description

The first time he received a lesson in the Truman character was the first time Clifton Daniel learned his grandfather had been President. He found out in school - first grade, not high school. His teacher asked him, “Wasn’t your grandfather President of the United States?” His brilliant reply: “I don’t know.” He went home, dropped his book bag at the door, marched across the living room to where his mother was sitting, put his hands on my hips and said, “Mom, did you know … ” She looked at him and said, “Yes. But just remember something. Any little boy’s grandfather can be president. Don’t let it go to your head.” Mr. Daniel's grandfather did not let high office go to his head. He treated it as an honor, a duty, and never as something to abuse or profit from. As a county judge, he refused to throw lucrative jobs to shady contractors. As a senator and president, he refused to engage in low-ball politics and in retirement, he refused to make money off the presidency. That character not only served him well, but also those around him - his employees, his friends, his family and even those hurt by his decisions. In this lecture, Mr. Daniel will explore the roots of his character. (Whenever he was headed back to work as a judge, senator or president, his mother always told him, "Harry, you be good.") And also how that kind of character can not only be contagious, but also be passed down through generations and spread to people who not only never knew him, but also may not have liked him.

About the Instructor

  • Clifton Truman Daniel is the grandson of President Harry S. Truman and his wife, Bess. He is the son of author Margaret Truman and former New York Times Managing Editor E. Clifton Daniel Jr. Daniel is the honorary chairman of the board of the Truman Library Institute, nonprofit partner of the Truman Presidential Library and Museum in Independence, MO. He is the author of Growing Up With My Grandfather: Memories of Harry S. Truman and Dear Harry, Love Bess: Bess Truman’s Letters to Harry Truman, 1919-1943. In addition to lectures on his grandparents and White House history, he currently portrays his grandfather onstage in the one-man show, Give 'Em Hell, Harry!

Upcoming programs presented by Clifton Truman Daniel.

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