PRESIDENTIAL COURAGE1 Brave Leaders and How They Changed America 1789-1989 By Michael Beschloss      Return to  Political Economy Historical Summaries

Executive Summary

Theodore Roosevelt  took on corporate monopoly trusts that controlled railroad rates and routes and which destroyed small towns and farms and cost consumers with higher prices.
FRANKLIN DELANO ROOSEVELT prepared for war by helping Britan while some favored Germany and many were still angry over our WWI participation and didn't want another war.
HARRY S. TRUMAN recognized the newly created state of Israel quickly despite  tremendous political pressures from both sides of the recognition question.
JOHN F. KENNEDY Used Federal Troops to integrate the U. of Mississippi, sent civil rights legislation to Congress.
RONALD Reagan's  Accelerated the end of the Cold War with an aggressive anti-communism stance and the threat of a Star Wars missile defense system the Soviets couldn't afford.
Editor's notes: 1) The author often summarizes events in only the first of four chapters on a President.  2) Presidents are elected on even decades like 1990, 2000 with off year elections of 1992, 2002, 2014 3) Pictures are from Wikipedia and Internet can often be enlarged with a click.

Go to Part 1 for

George Washington's Jay Treaty avoided war with England.

John Adams avoided a Quasi-War with Franc but 
went against party war hawks and  which cost him reelection.

Andrew Jackson took on eastern bankers and vetoed the charter extension of the Second Bank of the United States because he felt it had excessive power over farmers.

Abraham Lincoln required freeing the slaves as a condition of saving the Union.

Summary of Events The Politics


President Roosevelt was nervous about the coming 1904 election because he had gotten the job when William McKinley had been murdered, and no  President-by-succession had ever won election on his own..

"In December of 1901  TR had showed the nation he was no McKinley when he wrote to Congress about the  ' "grave evils" ' of corporate monopolies. He  knew that ' "Americans resented eastern bankers and corporate trusts whose dictates on railroad rates and routs could destroy towns  and farms." ' Ohio Senator Hanna, who never wanted TR as McKinley's running mate  was stung when he found out Roosevelt had sued to break up Northern Securities. Hearing the shocking news, J. P. Morgan's son Pierpont Morgan bought shares in his own gigantic trust to avert financial panic.  see trusts     Excerpt from-Wealth Against Commonwealth,1894     

President McKinley had won reelection in 1900 by again  beating William Jennings Bryant who was known as ' " Boy Orator of the Planes." ' Ohio Senator Mark Hanna had been McKinley's chief promoter and sold him like ' "patent medicine," 'calling him an ' "Advance Agent of Prosperity" ' and braking all records in campaign contribution. The 7 million dollars was raised  by requiring big business to fork over 4% of corporate assets. McKinley won by a landslide. Hanna would warn TR not to run for reelection.

Roosevelt wrote a friend that "...his ' "chief fight" ' as President was against the new plutocracy, ' "as unattractive now as in the days of Carthage."

"Like both Adams and Andrew Jackson, he was taking a large risk by challenging the citadels of wealth and power,"

  Roosevelt face a pro business court system as demonstrated in 1877 with  Munn vs. Illinois which was a labor victory that would be overturned by  the Supreme Court. Consumers were also hurt by court decisions. See Pacific Railway Co. vs. Illinois


"... in the fall of 1902, he tried to stop the coal strike  that threatened, more than any event since the Civil War, to divide the country." For months, over 100,000 Pennsylvanian miners had been striking. There was sabotage, riots and murder. The leader of the United Mines Workers suggested a Presidential commission but railroad man George Bear refused to bargain with ' " instigators of violence and crime." ' 

Fearing ' "... the most terrible riots the country had ever seen..." ' Roosevelt got seventy-two year old ex--Commanding General of the U.S. Army John Schofield, to agree to, if necessary,  to seize the mines using ten thousand troops. Roosevelt was please that the General, his outdated skullcap and whiskers, did not look like a ' " military dictator" '.

Using the threat of  troops to nationalize the coal industry, TR got J.P. Morgan, still fending off the National Securities suit, to use his influence to have a commission resolve the differences.


Roosevelt knew he might be braking the Constitution by seizing property without due process of law but he felt that ' :"The Constitution was made for the people, and not the people for the Constitution." ' See Pullman Strike of 1894


Liking T.R.'s dexterity, the Republicans did well in the 1902 midterm elections. Roosevelt had the morals of a ' "green-grocer" ' and he felt easy divorces were "...were dragging the country into the ' "barnyard." '

In 1903 Roosevelt asked Congress for a Department of Commerce. It was the request of big business who wanted to insure labor was watched as closely as business. Wealthy Republicans, lead by Ohio Senator Mark Hanna, were unable to stop Roosevelt's nomination in 1904. The senator then suddenly dies from typhoid fever. 
In March of 1904 the Supreme Court ruled 5 to 4 that Northern Securities must be dissolved. Of Judge Oliver Wendell Holmes who voted in the negative, Roosevelt said, he could carve ' "a judge with more backbone than that" from a "banana." '

Roosevelt felt he had amended capitalism to save it . "Better to take it from him than ' "some Bryan" ' who would ' " ride over them roughshod." '

Secretary of State John Hay gave a ring belonging to Lincoln to the new President as an inauguration gift. It was said to contain one of Lincoln's hairs and  TR said it would remind him ' " to put human rights above property rights." '

To dampen Roosevelt's radicalism the delegates chose  McKinley Conservative Senator Charles Fairbanks of Indiana as the 1904 V.P. running mate. Roosevelt wasn't happy. Fear of Roosevelt diminished  and rich Republicans like Morgan and Harriman  gave $150,000 and $250,000 respectively to his campaign.

..."T.R. lauded the "man in the arena," who if he failed, at least did so "by daring greatly." ' 

One of FDR's sons told the author of this book that ' "My father spent his whole adult life competing with T.R.." '

10 Best and 10 Worst Presidents from Rant Political

FRANKLIN DELANO ROOSEVELT Summary of Events The Politics

















Pictured here Winston Churchill giving his famous 'V' sign—on 20 May 1940, just ten days after Churchill became Prime Minister, German troops reached the English Channel. Visiting to offer congratulations, ambassador Kennedy found Churchill ' " drinking a Scotch highball, which I felt was indeed not the first one he had drunk that night.

On November 5th, 1940, Roosevelt saw signs that voters were turning him out of office after two terms. Adolph Hitler was crushing Europe and lurking behind his opponent, Senator Willkie, according to the FBI and other intelligence services, was Nazi money that wanted him to push Winston Churchill into a quick peace with Hitler. FDR wanted a military buildup and convinced Wilson's decision to enter WWI was a ruinous mistake, many did not want to be dragged into another European war."

In September of 1939, after Britain declared war against Hitler, FDR began secret corresponding with Winston Churchill the new First Lord of the Britain
Navy. This raised the suspicions of U.S. Ambassador

in London Joseph Kennedy who was determined to stop another fruitless war that could threatened his three sons, Joe, Jack, and Bobby.  

Tyler Kent, a clerk in Kennedy's operation, discovered the secret messages between the two leaders and convinced they were dragging the U.S. into the war on behalf of the Communists and Jews, he planned to make the messages public right before the FDR's reelection. His apartment was raided by Scotland Yard. They found many documents including that morning message from Churchill to Roosevelt. Kent's Jewish mistress in the bedroom. Kent was tried in London where the matter of their communication could be kept quiet under the Officials Secrets Act.

Roosevelt was pondering what to do about a Supreme Court ruling that had stopped the FBI from wireless wiretapping.  J. Hoover argued that such an action would stop the FBI from listening to Nazi plans to blow up the Queen Mary and other such dangers.  President  Roosevelt was interested other information like what the Nazi's knew of Kent's information. Roosevelt signed the secret orders giving Hoover blanket authority " ' to secure information by listening  devices" '. Attorney General Robert Jackson thought the order was illegal but he did not resign. He later wrote that Roosevelt usually acted in terms of ' "right and wrong" ' not ' " legal and illegal." '











Lucy Mercer.jpgFDR's  wife Eleanor almost divorced in 1918 when she found his love letters to Lucy Mercer, her social secretary. Needing more adoration than Eleanor would or could provide and with no close male friends, Franklin, by 1940 relied on two women. Others were suspected. Lucy made Time magazine's Top Ten Mistresses list.

'Hoover widened his net to include anti-Roosevelt Senators and bitter isolationist Charles Lindberg."  Joe Kennedy thought Lindberg views ' "honest" ',  FDR was convinced Charles was a Nazi.  see which side was correct

' "By the end of his second term FDR's Hyde Park branch of the Roosevelt's was no longer on speaking terms with those from Oyster Bay." ' Theodore Roosevelt, Jr. had wanted to follow his father to the Presidency.  He and his sister Alice Longworth were members of the isolationist lobby and not happy with President Roosevelt.

FDR defeated Republican Wendell Willkie who was estranged from his Indian wife Billie and living with New York Tribune book editor Irita Bradford Van Doren. Billie agreed to campaign foe Wendell and share his hotel room. Asked about it she said, '" Politics makes strange bedfellows." ' 
















FDR asked Hoover to investigate Willkie, Hoover refused. 

Getting lend lease of fifty destroyers for Britain through Congress was proving difficult so FDR asked Attorney General Robert Jackson if he could just do it and again Jackson said OK to a difficult issue. It was announced on September 3, 1940. Willkie said it was dictatorial and FDR said Jefferson didn't ask Congress when he made the Louisiana purchase. By the end of September Japan had joined Hitler and Mussolini.  Pictured here President Roosevelt signs the Lend-Lease bill to give aid to Britain and China (1941)




Roosevelt's Democratic nomination was apposed by 148 delegates including Joe Kennedy who like many, opposed the U. S. entering the war.  The democratic  platform opposed entry but FDR got them to add unless attacked. Both McKinley and Wilson had used attacks to enter a world war.

Hitler's chief diplomat was funneling money to isolationists on Capital Hill.  Roosevelt had a recorder installed in the Oval Office hoping to stop Trying to stop leaks like the false claim he would defend Europe form Germany. The recorder was playing when Roosevelt was slinging mud about Willkie's affair with Van Doren.

By October the expected Republican surge came as Hitler was stalled and Willkey was gaining because of Republican charges that Roosevelt was making secret deals to get America into the war. Powerful union leader John L. Lewis used radio to tell America that  Roosevelt was scheming and would make "cannon fodder" out of their sons.

Joe Kennedy's family returned to America as German bombs were hitting London, and Kennedy..." was ready to put "twenty-five million Catholics votes behind Willkie ..."
























Joe Kennedy was extremely successful at a young age and was extremely patriotic.

Obsessed with leaving each of his nine children with millions of dollars, he felt his small capitalistic class was safer under Hitler than under Churchill or the communists.

Kennedy was an Intimate and close friend of writer/politician Clare Boothe Luce. In a letter before his planned radio Presidential campaign endorsement of one of the candidates, she begged Kennedy not to indorse Roosevelt as she was "terribly frightened for this country..." 










Gallop polls in 1940 revealed that Americans felt the most pressing problem facing the country by far(47%) was staying out of the war.  But Roosevelt knew that especially in a time of crisis he was to lead and not to follow the American public. "Roosevelt was inspired by an almost mystical belief in the glory and power of Presidential leadership...." Pictured here Generalissimo Chiang Kai-shek of China (left),  Roosevelt (middle), and Winston Churchill (right) at the 1943 Cairo Conference.

Upon returning to Washington the Summer in 1940,  Kennedy  entered the Oval Office and found the President using a cocktail shaker. Kennedy was upset at being shut out from the destroyer lend lease deal but FDR blamed it on the State Department. 

People wanted Willkie to bargain with Hitler and they weren't happy with the lottery for the America's first peace time draft involving men twenty-one to thirty-five. Isolationist said those who voted for the draft would lose reelection. Roosevelt was relieved when Republican opponent Willkie endorsed some form of military service. 

Kennedy endorsed FDR saying the war involvement charges were false. Germany was very upset because they felt FDR could mold America's  ' " easily excitable character" ' and bring the United States into the war.

After the election, FDR enlisted Willkie's public support  to help England. His supporters feared hire taxes and loss of their businesses and they threatened Willkie who, ' " hurt and worried" ' agreed to help Roosevelt.

Kennedy felt he deserved an important post after the attack on Pearl Harbor had gotten America into war. But his old reputation of being anti-Semitic and his pro-appeasement  of Hitler kept the President at arms length. 

By 1944 Joe Kennedy was agonizing over the heroic death eldest son Joe who died while flying over the English Channel. Secretly supporting FDR's Republican opponent Thomas Dewey, Kennedy  still went to tell the President that Irish-Americans feared FDR was ' "Jewish Controlled." '

We have  other book summaries and reviews History/Politics     

Economics         The War        Education           Finance

HARRY S. TRUMAN Summary of Events The Politics











President Harry S, Truman was surprised when Secretary of State General George Marshall, architect of the WWII victory in Europe and never went to parties, showed up at his 1948 small sixty-forth birthday party. Truman thought of Marshall as the ' " great one of the age." ' Marshal  praised Truman for his integrity and courage in making decisions that only had  the country's best interest at heart. 





Disgruntled by postwar adjustments and Truman's stumbles after FDR's death, 1946 voters had given Congress to the Republicans.  Truman's approval rating had dropped to the mid-thirties by the spring of 1948 and pollsters said he would lose reelection. 

With a new Jewish state was about to be born, Truman's met with Whitehouse council Clifford Clark and Secretary of State George Marshall. Clifford  argued that we should immediately recognize Israel to help protect her from five vastly larger Arab armies ready to pounce. He reasoned that Israel would be a reliable democratic state in the ' "unstable Middle East" '.  Also, America was trying to stop Russia from conquering the worlds plus America  had also always felt a ' " a great obligation" ' to stop persecution. Marshal argued that Israel didn't stand a chance and we could not come to her aid. "No longer lauding his ' "integrity," ' Marshall unbranded the President (in what Clifford found ' "a righteous Goddamned Baptist tone" '  for playing politics with the Middle East to attract Jewish voters." Marshal then said he wouldn't vote for Truman if he followed Clifford's advise and a shaken condemned Truman adjourned the meeting. This and other heated debates from both sides put  pressures on Truman. 














The Britain controlled 1947 Palestine and they stopped the Jewish  immigrant ship SS Exodus from arriving in Palestine where Jews from all over Europe were hoping to form a new Jewish state. World wide outrage resulted. 

Britain would soon be leaving Palestine and a UN committee had proposed the area be partition into Jewish and Arab states with an economic union.  Assistant Secretary of State Loy Henderson felt American involvement would jeopardize oil supplies and the entire Arab world would become America's enemy. President Truman's Jewess business associations and good heart were to  face off with his Midwestern anti-Semitic background.

FDR's former Treasury Secretary and unobservant Jew Henry Morgenthau  called Truman to complain about the Exodus situation.








The Exodus, formerly President Warfield, arriving at 
(British Admiralty photo)




A dyspeptic Truman complained about Zionists in his diary.  " [Morgenthau had] no business calling me. The Jews have no sense of proportion, nor do they have any judgment on world affairs... The Jews, I find are very, very, selfish." They care not how many Estonians, Latvians, Finns., Poles, Yugoslavs or Greeks get murdered or mistreated... as long as the Jews get special treatment. Yet when  they have power--physical, financial, or political--neither Hitler nor Stalin has anything on them for cruelty or mistreatment to the underdog." 

Political pressure from both 
sides was immense.

















Soon  Truman's good friend Eddie Jacobson from the Army and Kansas City  implored him to back the new Jewish and Arab states in Palestine. Truman warned that financial and military support would not be possible. 

After the partition into two states, Truman's arms embargo to the Middle East hurt Israel as Britain was arming the Arabs. But Jewish friends of Hoover got lax FBI enforcement of the embargo.

The State Department had been working for years with the Arab states to have the Palestine partition fail. Some felt U.S. troops in Europe to face off the Communists might be needed in the Middle East. Truman wavering on support of any kind for the partition, and Chaim Weizmann a Zionist patriarch rushed to New York hoping to see the President. Truman's friend Eddie Jacobson was asked to help and he sent Truman a wire saying ' "I have asked very little from you in the way of favors during all our years of friendship, but I am begging you to see Dr. Weizmann as soon as possible."  Tired of Zionist  ' " ...badgering" ' the President wired Eddie that the Palestine problem was probably ' "not solvable." '  Jacobson flew to New York and got the proposed  meeting arranged by using a private presidential meeting. At the secret meeting with Weizmann, Truman agreed to support the partition. Before the President could act his U.N. Ambassador Marshall upset the apple cart by telling the Security Council that a peaceful partition was not possible and the U.N. should rule Palestine. Truman would not accept that his Secretary of State George Marshal knew what was happening. Clifford disagreed and thought the President so naive that he questioned a second term for his boss.

Leading up to the UN vote, Truman ordered the UN envoys from the U.S. not to use improper pressure and anger the Arabs. The first vote failed by one vote, Clark Clifford got Truman to let his aids lobby for partition and the final vote easily passed.  "Complaining of pressure from Washington, Arab delegates walked out."  Truman warned a pro-Zionist New York Congressman after the initiative passed that "the pressure boys almost beat themselves... I don't do business that way." 

28) I AM Cyrus






Truman  had decided that the State Department  had '... put the Jews in the same category as Chinamen and Negroes" and was ready to listen. 

By May of 1948 Clifford had reported to President Truman that the Jews in Palestine were showing ' " unexpected military strength." '

Weizmann informed Eddie Jacobson who informed the President that a Jewish State would be proclaimed when the British left Palestine and that immediate recognition by the United States was vital. Truman in a secret message, informed Weizmann that he would make it so. Not knowing of Truman's actions the State Department threaten the Zionists to relent their efforts.

The President and Marshall had it out over immediate recognition. Truman won and Marshal sent someone to stop the United States U.N. delegation from reigning in mass. The Jewish State was declare, Truman recognize it, and Chaim Weizmann  became its first President of Israel.

JOHN F. KENNEDY Summary of Events The Politics















































Aide and friend Ted Sorensen conceded that as a Congressman, Senator and presidential candidate  Jack Kennedy had not given civil rights much thought. He steered away from integration during the long campaign by saying as a Senator, he had nothing to do with the 1954 Brown v. Board of Education Supreme Court integration ruling. Negroes like base ball star Jackie Robinson wanted nothing to do with him and winning the Solid South could prove difficult to Kennedy.

JFK won the 1960 close election by getting 90% of the Negro vote because he promised to help them have full equality. Fearing a strong backlash from Southerners and conservatives caused him to acted slowly. A May of 1963 Birmingham, Alabama riot resulted in smashed cars and burned buildings. It was America's most segregated. This got Whitehouse attention. Some Negroes  were getting interested in the more aggressive Black Panther movement and Alabama Governor George Wallace was about to try and stop two Negroes from integrating his state university.

By 1959 Kennedy was changing his mind. "Midterm Congressional victories had shifted the Democratic party's center of gravity toward Northern big cities. And with his recovery from a massive heart attack, Senate Majority Leader Lyndon Johnson was planning to base his
own Presidential candidacy on the very white Southerners Kennedy had been wooing."  













Lt. Kennedy on his navy patrol boat PT-109

 Dropping his Southern strategy, his attempt to set up a meeting with Marti Luther King, Jr. received no response.  He campaigned for Negroes rights anyway and his brother fear that liberal Democrats might go for sentimental favorite Adlai Stevenson.

Bobby Kennedy told aids to do what it takes to get Negroes support. The Kennedy's got singer Harry Bellefonte to arrange a meeting with King The meeting went only well. Democrats stopped more of liberal a rebellion by countering a platform that promised the moon on Civil Rights by nominating the party's most famous white Southerner Senator Lyndon Johnson as Kennedy's running mate.

Harry Belafonte (center) at the 1963 Civil Rights March on Washington, D.C. with Sidney Poitier (left) and Charlton Heston.


  President Kennedy's great grand father Patrick Kennedy immigrated on a coffin ship from Ireland because of the Great "Potato" Famine and because as a third son he got no inheritance. He succumbed at thirty-five to the highly infectious cholera that infested East Boston. His newborn son   P. J. Kennedy would be the only surviving male in the family because of two outbreaks of cholera. He started work as a stevedore at fourteen. A successful business person and local politician his son Joseph P. Kennedy, Sr. would be one of the most successful business persons/public servants of his day.

For a Harvard gradate Joe, like his 

president to be son Jack, was not particularly academic. Jack loved history but refused to be pressured in studying what he didn't like. Winston Churchill was the same. Give them History or give them a gentleman's C or D.  All three possessed enough of the kinds of intelligence and abilities it takes to reach the very top of their chosen profession. From Leaders on Education

The first break in the "Solid South": Missouri goes for Republican Theodore Roosevelt in the 1904 election.
(Cartoon by John T. McCutcheon.)






Lyndon Johnson, Robert Kennedy, and the Feud That Defined a Decade.
By Jeff Shesol.
Illustrated. 591 pp. New York:
W. W. Norton & Company. $32.50.


"In 1961, at a late-night supper in the White House living quarters, Vice President Lyndon B. Johnson accosted Attorney General Robert F. Kennedy in front of embarrassed friends and officials. ''Bobby, you do not like me,'' Johnson declared. ''Your brother likes me. Your sister-in-law likes me. Your daddy likes me. But you don't like me. Now, why? Why don't you like me?'' Kennedy did not respond to Johnson that evening, but his feelings were clear. As Jeff Shesol notes in ''Mutual Contempt,'' a penetrating and richly detailed account of the ''feud'' that shaped the 60's, Kennedy despised Johnson with a ferocity that startled many observers, while Johnson harbored fears of Kennedy that bordered on paranoia. '
















We have 
other book  summaries 
and reviews


The War       Education





"Dishearten by Kennedy's foot-dragging, civil rights leaders declared ' "Project Freedom Ride 1961 " ' to test bus terminal integration and hopefully ' "create a crisis" '  to get Kennedy moving. Soon a white mob beat Freedom Riders and burned their Greyhound bus in Anniston, Alabama. In  Birmingham, they were again beaten as "the notorious public safety chief Eugene 'Bull' Connor held back his police force so that  Ku Klux Klansmen could brutalize the outsiders without interference". Protesters were arrested. Civil rights leaders had their crisis.   








During the early days of the Freedom Riders, Attorney General Bobby Kennedy's deputy learn that the President thought the Freedom Riders were ' "a pain in the ass." ' 


The President had a mild response to the Freedom Rider problems and the New York Times remarked the response ' " did not sound like a profile in political courage." ' This bothered the President.

Click to enlarge most pictures.


Bobby's attempt to get protection assistance for the Freedom Riders from Alabama Governor Patterson had failed so fearing the murder of Martin Luther King, Jr. while on a speaking engagement on Sunday, May 21, Bobby provided fifty U.S. Marshals for protection.

When the public heard the news that the University of Mississippi had been integrated, they rioted and resistance reached the point of  armed insurrection. Kennedy called up the Army that he later felt was very slow to react. Soon the city of about 7,500 was guarded by 30,000 U.S. Army personal and Mississippi National Guardsmen.   

Eventually, the situation quieted down and a few week later President Kennedy, learning of the Soviet missile in Cuban, asked if they could hit Oxford, Mississippi. In the Summer of 1962, the Supreme Court order the integration of the University of Mississippi. Veteran James Meredith would be the first black student as the result of a 

legal battle he launched after realizing Kennedy, in spite of his inaugural address,  had hardly mentioned civil rights.

The Kennedy's were trying to avoid the national controversy similar to the one caused when President

James Meredith see integration of the U. of Mississippi



US Army trucks loaded with steel-helmeted US Marshals roll across the University of Mississippi campus on October 3, 1962.



Captured: 50th Anniversary of the Freedom Rides







For more pictures visit Source

Eisenhower integrated Arkansas's Little Rock Central  High School in 1957. But again, the state Governor not only failed to help, but reneged on a deal designed to make him look good to his voters.  President Kennedy federalized the Mississippi National Guard, made the Governor realize that as President, he had taped their entire deal which, if revealed,  would make the Governor look bad. Barnett made his speech announcing Meredith had been registered and then pulled one more fast one by removing state troopers protecting Meredith. President Kennedy was so distraught from the entire ordeal that he summoned his "well-concealed amphetamine doctor known as '  "Doctor Feelgood." '
































After the Birmingham  incident, Bobby Kennedy's aid Burke Marshal tried to work out an agreement with Birmingham's white businessmen and Martin Luther King who wanted "...integrated lunchrooms, bathrooms and drinking fountains plus more black jobs, a biracial committee on desegregation and the dropping of all charges against the protesters." Marshall got King to agree to a deal but maverick minister Fred Shuttlesworth wouldn't agree and threatened a march without King. Then Birmingham  retroactively increased the release bond for each of the held protesters to $2,500 and more demonstrations were threatened by King's brother A.D. Then A.D.'s house was bombed and a bomb was thrown outside the motel room housing Dr. King. A friend of Bobby Kennedy's said even the attitude of servants had become confrontational.

"Before the Birmingham, only four percent of Americans had considered civil rights to be the country's number-one problem. After Bull Connor's dogs attacked protesters,  the figure skyrocketed to the fifty-two percent."



The president told the nation he was sending riot control troops to military bases near Birmingham but unlike Bobby he was not ready to make Civil Rights a crusade.

The President tried to convince Alabama Governor Wallace that King's nonviolent approach was better than that of Malcolm X and the Black Muslims but  Wallace responded that King and  Shuttlesworth were competing over ' " who could go to bed with the most nigger women-- and white and red women too!" '

The white house was trying to move the civil rights problem into the courts before someone got killed. They tried to get V.P. Johnson involved with a civil rights bill but he was upset about being ignored. The courts ordered the University of Alabama integrated, and Governor Wallace was made to look foolish in an attempt to stop the student entry into the University. The next day Kennedy made a televised speech to the nation framing the civil rights movement ' "in moral terms." ' Black American then realized the President had changed.

We have other book  summaries and reviews at
History/Politics, Economics, The WarEducation and  Finance



Image result for minister Fred Shuttlesworth

Reverend "Fred" Shuttlesworth







Early activist Rosa Parks with King helped King's 1955 efforts to end Montgomery bus segregation. He was victorious as a United States District Court rules in Browder v. Gayle that racial segregation on all Montgomery public buses was illegal..[67][68] King's role in the bus boycott transformed him into a national figure and the best-known spokesman of the civil rights movement.




















"The week after Kennedy's civil rights speech three dozen American cities violently erupted. Kennedy fearing problems tried to stop  a planned civil right demonstration on the capital grounds and when that failed managed to get it moved to the more easily controlled Lincoln Memorial.  There, the peaceful  "I have a dream" speech, with Abe in the background  inspired many and help the civil rights cause.




The first penalty for backing civil rights came one day after Kennedy's civil rights speech as Democrats killed a routine Administration  public works bill. A Harris poll showed Northern Irish, Polish, and Italian Americans might turn Republican. 

Texas was a key political state for the coming 1964 election and tickets for a Kennedy Friday, November 22  speech in Austin were going so slowly that "Lyndon Johnson had to call in some chits so that JFK would not be embarrassed in his [Johnon's] home state."  JFK knew that Dallas was the stop before Austin. It was hostile terrain and to make light of this the soon the be President Johnson planned to male a joke as part of his introduction to  JFK in Austin. 

' " Mr. President, we're glad you made it out of Dallas alive." '





  Editor's Note: For years it has been known that JFK din not yield to pressure from LBJ and the Joint Chiefs of Staff to bomb Cuba during the Cuban missile crisis. Documents released after the fall of Communism and after this book was written indicate Russian Premier Nikita Khrushchev planned to retaliated with a major nuclear attack. This knowledge moved him up on my list of great President.
RONALD REAGAN Summary of Events The Politics



















The summer of 1979 had unemployment and inflation soaring giving candidate Ronald Reagan a thirty point lead. As the election approached the lead dissipated as  President Jimmy Carter claimed Reagan would ' "push the nuclear button." ' A poor debate by the President and his inability to free fifty-two hostages held by Iran caused undecided voters to stampede to Reagan.

Asked about detente at his first press conference, Regan stated "Well, so far detent has been a one way street that the Soviet  Union has used to pursue its own aims," with the right ." He would negotiate but they sought a ' "one- world Communist state," ' with ' "the right to commit any crime, to lie, to cheat." ' " No presidency since at least Kennedy had talked so tough about the Kremlin in public."

President Reagan survived an early assassination attempt. He wouldn't go to Sunday church though he took the Bible literally, believed in the Messiah's second coming, and the imminence of Armageddon. From our summary Don't Know Much About History See From Evil Empire to The Axis of Evil



California Governor Reagan was always pushing President Richard Nixon to be tougher on Communism and when the  UN expelled Taiwan for Communist China Reagan was so angry that he implored  Nixon to ' "get the hell out of that Kangaroo court." ' 

Nixon thought of himself as middleman for President elects Reagan's activities with the Soviets and Nixon pushed for a Secretary of State who would cut him in on foreign policy decisions.  Nixon was pleased with Alexander Haig who he describes as ' " the meanest, toughest, most ambitious son of a bitch I ever knew." '

Reagan dismissed  Soviet talks about negotiation and Russia knew he would go to the limit. Reagan use the hot line created by Kennedy and Premier Khrushchev to warn Russia of the dire consequences that could result  if they got  too aggressive during Polish martial law caused by Solidarity union activities. Their maverick leader  Lech Walesa had been arrested.

1980 strike at Gdansk Shipyard
 birthplace of Solidarity.





















By midterm elections Reagan faced a severe recession and a public that would rather have a nuclear arms  freeze than a arms build up that might be followed by a negotiated verifiable arms reduction. 

In a surprise to most people around him Reagan announced the idea of a $17 billion missile defense system to protect U.S. cities from Russian attack. Called Star Wars, critics called it a harebrained no work system.

America had picked up covert activities against the Soviets on every continent and planned a big military exercise in the Pacific Northwest. Pershing missiles soon to be deployed in Europe had made the Soviets vulnerable to a sneak attack from the U.S.  

The Soviets shot down a Korean airliner near Japan causing Regan to announce it was them against the world. Tensions were high on both sides.

The President depressed after an advanced showing of the TV movie The Day After which depicted Lawrence, Kansas the day after a nuclear war with the Soviets.

Having set the stage, Reagan very quietly had Secretary of State George Shultz set up a White House meeting with the Soviet ambassador  to make sure he knew that Regan's hard line didn't mean he would not negotiate. As a token of good faith Reagan asked for and  received the freedom of some religious people who had taken refuge in the U.S. Moscow embassy. This did not stop Reagan from was referring to the Soviet Union as the ' "evil empire." '  Wife and confidant Nancy agreed the President should quite public fears with an address to the nation. President Reagan  told the world that it was now a much safer place now that the Kremlin could not ' "underestimate our strength or question our resolve."

Reagan really felt good because of his reelection and because the Joint Chiefs of Staff assured him America had never better able to protect herself.

We have other book summaries and reviews
Economics    The War       Education   Finance













President Reagan delivering the March 23, 1983 speech initiating SDI



















The 1986 Soviets  Chernobyl nuclear power plant disaster was the only category 7 disaster until the 2011 Fukushima, Japan disaster.

President Reagan believed that the book of Revelations predicted that "...a star from heaven fell on the water" and "men died of the water..." ' and he told aids that the Bible had predicted the disaster. This aerial view of the damaged core and roof of the turbine hall at the photo center.  The adjacent reactor 3 (image lower left) shows minor fire damage.

A November 19, 1985 Iceland meeting of President Reagan met and new Soviet leader Mikhail Gorbachev. Reagan told him straight out that Americans detested Soviet world empire ambitions and they could either reduce their nuclear arms or get ready for a new arms race. ' "Shocked and offended by Reagan's threat, Gorbachev told his staff, "I have met a caveman! A dinosaur" ' As the meeting wore on, the arguments became more friendly. Reagan suggest they cut nuclear arms 50% and then talked about the U.S. deploring Star Wars.

Eventually Gorbachev agree to Reagan's proposed cut in nuclear arms and the site verified elimination of U.S. based European intermediate-range missiles. Star Wars would be the clincher. Reagan new the Soviets couldn't afford it so rather than let them off the hook and drop the program to get a treaty, he let the talks brake down. 

1985 Presidents Ronald Reagan and Mikhail Gorbachev 



























In late November of 1986 the world learned that that proceed from secret U.S. arms sales to Iran had been used to finance the Nicaraguan ' "Contras. " '  Congress had cut off funding to those fighting the country's Marxist government. At 76 Reagan was showing the signs of his age. The  last thing he needed was the Contra affair scandal that could cost him the Presidency. 


During a 1987 speech near the  West Berlin Brandenburg Gate  Reagan dramatically yelled ' " Mr. Gorbachev, tear down this wall." '  With Democratic control of the Senate and making the  possibility of Star Wars was extremely low, Gorbachev agreed to a ban on intermediate rang missiles.

Reagan was asked during his 1986 Moscow  visit if he still thought of Russia as an evil empire. He said ' " No I was talking about another time, another era." '
Images for Berlin wall

1986 View of graffiti art from the West side of the wall's infamous "death strip"









More Summaries from Quick Notes

Very Quick Summaries

A Very Brief
U.S. History
Political Eras and
Important Events
1 pages

20th Century U.S.
Decade Ranking

Which Decade Was
Best, Worst?
1 pages

20th Century
Decade Evaluation

Interaction of Politics
and Economics 
4 pages

20th Century U.S.
 Political Economy
5 pages

Presidential Politics
Party Politics and Presidential Elections from 1788 to 2012

5 pages

The War On Terror
Who Are We Fighting


1 or 2 pages each

Middle East Facts

40 Maps Ex

40 Maps Ex
plain the Middle East

History of the Middle East Conflict in 11 Minutes

Brief Sunni-Shiite Conflict History



Militant Hamas Vs. Moderate Fatah

A Concise History of Christianity

Iran,20th Century History of

Iraq,20th Century History of

Islamic Fundamentalism

Sunnis and Shiites at War 

US, 20th Century History of

Military Decisions by US Presidents

Wars to Forge

A Look Back at the War in Afghanistan

The Rise and Fall
of the Great Powers’ 





















Summaries of Published Books

Presidential Courage Brave Leaders and How They Changed America 1789-1989
by Michael Beschloss 8 page summary

Turning Points in American History cove 400 years Five 2-page parts

Thomas Jefferson The Art of Power 2012 Jon Meacham 8 page summary

American Dynasty Aristocracy, Fortune, and the Politics of Deceit in the
House of Bush
by Kevin Phillips
, 6 page summary 

See Welcome
the Hackocracy
a look at Bush 2's appointments that made a difference.

Second Chance Three Presidents and the Crisis of America Superpower
 by Zbigniew Brzezinski, 6 page summary,

Generations and The Fourth Turning William Strauss and Neil Howe
read an 2 page summary

Don't Know Much About History Everything You Need To Know About
American History But Never Learned, by Kenneth C. Davis
6 page summary

Education and Income Inequality, chapter 21 The Age of Turbulence, Adventures
in a New World, by Alan Greenspan 

Hoodwinked  An Economic Hit Man Reveals Why the World Financial Markets
Imploded--and What We Need to Do to Remake Them
, by 
John Perkins

The War Book Reviews

 Blackwater The Rise of the World's Most Powerful Mercenary Army Book
 Reviews from the New York Times, Crooks and Liars, and The Economist

How jihad went freelance is a review of three recent books. Al-Qaeda has
 evolved from a single group to an amorphous movement. Does that make
 it less dangerous or more so? Jan 31st 2008 of The Economist.

Other Interesting Reviews

How the West Was Lost Fifty Years of Economic Folly--and the Stark Choices
Ahead by Dambisa Moyo
1 page review and  8 Minute Video

and 43 Minute Video

The Predator State Video Part 1     

Part 2
Decades of US Problems Faced by US
oughts Concerning Society  

More Thoughts Concerning Society

Capitalistic Democracy

Generations and The Fourth Turning

The Big Secret Behind U.S. Federal Debt

Who Will Solve These Health Care Problems
Causes and Solutions to Health Care Problems

U.S. Education Vs. Germany and Britain, Our Biggest Value Added Competitors
GDP Per Capita by State

Election Issues, 1 page summaries of federal debt, health care, education & econ
Decades of US Problems Faced by US

Interesting Stuff

20th Century U.S. Political Economy

The Great Recession Using Quick Notes

The War On Terror: Who Are We Fighting

Capitalistic Democracy
Decades of US Problems
urrent Events Internet Library Events Internet Library  

Travels with Walter, an Educator's Life
explores the genius behind these Free Internet Libraries.

E-mail antonw@ix.netcom with suggestions.




                   Political Economy Book Reviews

Capitalism in the Twenty-First Century "Why We' re in a New Gilded Age"
by Thomas Piketty 2014

The Shifts and Shock What We Learned from the Financial Crisis
by Martin Wolf 9/11/14

Seven Bad Ideas How Mainstream Economists Have Damaged America and the World by Jeff Madrick Reviewed by Peter Richardson 2014

"This Time Is Different" is a history of financial collapse from 1300 to the present.

"The Shock Doctrine: The evil of “Disaster Capitalism, a book report video was posted to the Crooks and Liars  blog on December 1, 2007

"Nickel and Dimed" On (Not) Getting By in America is a book written by Barbara Ehrenreich. Written from the perspective of the undercover journalist, ...Nickel and Dimed" On (Not) Getting By in America is a book written by Barbara Ehrenreich. Written from the perspective of the undercover journalist, ...

23 Things They Don't Tell You About Capitalism is critical and a good source of the twenty-three items 

Videos by the author Ha-Joon Chang
    Part I     Part II     Part III   

A Brief History of US Banking is a brief chronology.

The Center Holds Obama and His Enemies is "the thrilling story of one of the most momentous contests in American history, the Battle Royale between Obama and his enemies from the 2010 midterms through the 2013 inauguration." Video by Jonathan Alter, 2013

Strange Rebels: 1979 and the Birth of the 21st Century. By Christian Caryl. Basic; 400 pages
argues that 1979 belongs to the select club of real turning-points: "years in which one era ended and another was born. 1917 proved to be a bloody dead end and 1848 proved to be, in A.J.P. Taylor’s phrase, “a turning-point in history when history failed to turn”. But others, such as 1789 (when France’s ancient régime collapsed) and 1517 (when Martin Luther nailed his 95 theses on the door), resound down the ages." Editors note: Was the liberalism of the 20th century coming to an end?

Free Trade Doesn't  Work by Ian Fletcher, adjunct fellow at the United States Business and Industry Council, and CPA' In his effective 267 pages of text, Ian Fletcher dissects and often demolishes fundamental teachings about the benefits and risks of trade and replaces them with evidence based updates.  He then recommends a practical alternative based on clear objectives.

Nemesis by Chalmers Johnson from Stephen Lendman of counter currents "Our democracy and way of life are now threatened because of our single-minded pursuit of empire with a well-entrenched militarism driving it that's become so powerful and pervasive it's now an uncontrollable state within the state."

How You Can Kill Al-Qaeda in Three Easy Steps review from  Boing Boing  
I just got done reading Howard Clark's new book "How You Can Kill Al-Qaeda (in Three Easy Steps). He's an ex-Marine and former Homeland Security adviser who says the way to win the war on terrorism is to help empower the mainstream Muslim community, who in recent years has been overshadowed in the public spotlight by fringe Al-Qaeda extremists. The whole idea of fighting terrorism with ideas and not weapons is definitely nothing new, but Clark's populist tone and foreign policy street cred was a refreshing perspective to have in the discussion. "Click on the link below in the next 30 minutes and I'll throw in this egg slicer absolutely free! Here's how to order!" Book's official site...  
One Nation Under Contract: The Outsourcing of American Power and the Future of Foreign Policy
In this CSPAN2 book interview,  Allison Stanger talks of her book which looks at the increasing use of private contractors by the U.S. government and argues that with proper oversight contractors can be valuable tools for carrying out our foreign policy.  Includes audience Q&A. 

Guns, Germs, and Steel -  the fates of human societies '...attempts to explain why Eurasian civilizations, as a whole, have survived and conquered others, while attempting to refute the belief that Eurasian hegemony is due to any form of Eurasian intellectual, moral, or inherent genetic superiority." 

The Limits of Power The End of American Exceptionalism,
Bill Moyers sits down with history and international relations expert and former US Army Colonel Andrew J. Bacevich who identifies three major problems facing our democracy: the crises of economy, government and militarism, and calls for a redefinition of the American way of life

The Limits of Power Democracy Now interviews Andrew Bacevich, a conservative historian who spent twenty-three years serving in the US Army.