Comparing political ideologies and emphasizing scandals and unfulfilled promises, explain how two presidents from 1940 to the present used and misused power. [Please note that eNotes does not do...
Comparing political ideologies and emphasizing scandals and unfulfilled promises, explain how two presidents from 1940 to the present used and misused power.
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Roosevelt: Convinced of America's eventual participation in the growing war in Europe, Roosevelt used his executive authorities to insert the United States into the war through maritime convoys of aid to Great Britian. U.S. cargo ships transiting the Atlantic with supplies for a country at war was a backdoor way of inserting America into that conflict.
Another use or misuse of power appropriate in the context of the question could be Roosevelt's agreement with Churchill and Stalin on post-war arrangements that sacrificed the independence and freedom of those countries designated for the Soviet Union's sphere of influence.
Truman: could be said to have used or misused power -- depending upon one's perspective -- in his 1948 order desegregating the Army without congressional consent. Once again, depending upon one's perspective, the order to use atomic bombs on Japanese cities could certainly qualify, particulary among those historians who view the second bombing, on Nagasasaki, as militarily unnecessary.
Eisenhower: used the army in 1957 to enforce desegregation, which was highly controversial in the South as well as in the military. Beyond this example, some historians have questioned whether Eisenhower did enough to fight McCarthyism, especially when campaigning for the presidency as a Republican, the party in which Senator Joseph McCarthy resided. Eisenhower was reluctant to overtly criticize a senator from his own party during a campaign, although he is known to have loathed McCarthy.
Kennedy: Beginning with his election to the presidency, which involved arrangements between his father and major organized crime figures, and extending to his role in the deteriorating political situation in South Vietnam, the Bay of Pigs, and the plots to assassinate Fidel Castro, Kennedy's tenure, while widely beloved, was nevertheless fraught with moral and legally tenuous events. His extramarital affairs, especially with Judith Exner, the mistress of Sam Giancana, one of the most powerful mobsters in the country, not only endangered his presidency, but may have endanged his life.