What was Truman’s goals in his Fair Deal domestic policy and what were his successes and failures in accomplishing those goals?

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lprono eNotes educator| Certified Educator

In spite of all predictions, President Truman was re-elected in the 1948 election and the unexpected victory boosted the President's confidence. At the beginning of his second term Truman conceived a broad governmental project to give economic security to the poor and the aged. In his 1949 State of the Union address, he summarized this project as the ambition of giving "every segment of our population a fair deal". However, this ambitious project of providing economic relief and wider access to health care for larger sectors of the American population was largely unrealized. The President's programs to improve the condition of African Americans met with the same fate. Truman's popularity was in fact badly affected by the Korean War and the President left office with an extremely low rate of approval. Yet, his legacy was more enduring than what these facts may suggest. Much of Truman's Fair Deal went on to constitute the basis for Lyndon Johnson's Great Society and became law in the 1960s.

brettd eNotes educator| Certified Educator

Great response above.  Building on that, after four terms of President Roosevelt and a Democratic Party that dominated the congressional agenda, and then Truman finishing the lion's share of FDR's fourth term, the Republican Party staged a comeback in the years following Truman's re-election.  Frustrated conservatives responding to his State of the Union announcement of the Fair Deal, and long opposed to the massive expansion of the government under the New Deal and World War II, organized, added seats, and pushed back against Truman's agenda.  His unpopularity during the war made this opposition easier and propelled Eisenhower to office in 1952. 

I agree completely with the above poster about his proposals, unrealized though they were, as they were an ideological foundation for LBJ's Great Society,which would be more supported by the prosperous 1960s.

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