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Social Policy




  • Historians in the first generation after Ike’s presidency believed that he was indifferent to the Civil Rights Movement.  They thought he enforced Brown v Board of Education only because of his presidential duties.  That opinion has been revised since the Eisenhower Administration’s archives opened in the 1980s.  Historians now view him as reluctantly interested in expanding rights for African-Americans and credit him with setting segregation on the road to extinction. (Nichols, A Matter of Justice)

  • Ike’s parents taught him egalitarianism and to not care about an individual’s wealth or race. (Nichols, A Matter of Justice)

  • While in high school, his football team played a game where the other team had an African-American player.  Ike was the only member of his team willing to play opposite the black player, allowing the game to resume.  Ike shook his hand before and after the game. (Nichols, A Matter of Justice)

  • Ike trained black soldiers during the Pancho Villa crisis in 1916.  They performed poorly.  Ike assumed they were not as intelligent as white soldiers.  He later realized their poor performance was due to the fact that they had never received any training. (Kreig, Dwight D. Eisenhower: Soldier, President, Statesman)

  • He knew African-American soldiers were interested in seeing action during WWII.  Ike looked for ways to do this.  While working in the War Plans Division following Pearl Harbor, he sent a black unit to Australia to defend against a potential Japanese invasion.  The Australian government said they would prefer white soldiers.  Ike responded that he would only send a black unit.  The Australians acquiesced.  (Nichols, A Matter of Justice)

  • Ike desegregated Red Cross clubs under his authority during the war. (Nichols, A Matter of Justice)

  • An African-American soldier was falsely accused of raping a white British woman a few weeks before D-Day and was sentenced to death.  The NAACP wrote Ike and asked him to intervene.  Ike reviewed the case and acquitted the man for lack of evidence.  (Pipes, Ike’s Final Battle)

  • Ike was desperate for reinforcements during the Battle of the Bulge.  He took advantage of the crisis to send black units into combat, which he knew they desired.  They served well.  Ike later told a black aide, “They fought nobly for their country.  And I will never forget.” (Pipes, Ike’s Final Battle)

  • President Truman asked Ike, who was Army Chief of Staff, to speak to the Armed Service Committee about integrating the military in 1948.  Ike did so and talked to a group of officers about this issue.  He did not realize all the officers were southerners.  Ike told the Committee his officers opposed integration and that passing laws enforcing integration would not change anyone’s minds.  Ike later realized his mistake and apologized to his black aides.  (Kreig, Dwight D. Eisenhower: Soldier, President, Statesman)

  • Sergeant John Moaney was an African-American volunteer who joined Ike’s staff in 1942.  He and Delores, his wife, served as Ike and Mamie’s aides until Mamie died in 1979.  Ike said he was closer to John than anyone besides his wife.  The Moaneys resented any claims that the Eisenhowers were racist.  Delores said Ike treated her like a lady.  (Susan Eisenhower, Mrs. Ike)

  • Ike was repulsed by individual acts of bigotry.  When a white guest used a racial term Ike leapt to his feet and declared, “You will not speak that way in my house again!” (Susan Eisenhower, Mrs. Ike)

  • He insisted Americans not be divided by regions, race, or creed.  No American should be thought of as a minority.  (Gellman, The President and the Apprentice)

  • He did not have the most enlightened views on race.  He was not immune to racial stereotypes and occasionally referred to black crowds as “You people.”  (Newton, Eisenhower: The White House Years)

  • He supported equal opportunity for blacks but objected to racial mingling, especially intermarriage.  Ike only had a son, but said he did not think, “a [black man] should court my daughter.”  This was the view of most white Americans in the 1950s.  (Gellman, The President and the Apprentice)

  • In spite of his shortcomings, Ike told Herbert Brownell, who would become his Attorney General, that he wanted to continue Lincoln’s legacy by ending segregation within federal jurisdiction before announcing his candidacy in 1952.  Ike wanted to move the country closer to the ideals of the Declaration of Independence and Constitution.  He said during the campaign that, “Discrimination is criminally stupid.”  (Gellman, The President and the Apprentice)

  • Ike requested there to be no segregated events during his Inaugural ceremonies.  He and Mamie refused to attend segregated movie theaters.  Mamie desegregated the White House Easter Egg Roll.  (Nichols, A Matter of Justice)

  • Ike visited a Naval Academy shortly after taking office.  He was pleased to see several African-American officers in leadership roles.  He had been told that white men would not willingly serve under black men, but that “was evidently not true.”  (Pipes, Ike’s Final Battle)

  • Ike’s first step in combating segregation was to end segregation under federal jurisdiction.  He did not need Congress’ approval to do this because he was head of the Executive Branch.  He completed the integration of the Armed Forces that had begun under Truman but threatening to withhold funds.  He did the same for military academies and bases, including in the South.  He made lynching a federal crime and outlawed poll taxes.  Most importantly, he desegregated Washington, DC, making the nation’s capital a model for the rest of the country.  (Nichols, A Matter of Justice)

  • Ike privately convinced as many priests and religious leaders as possible to preach support for the Civil Rights Movement.  He appointed as many qualified blacks to his administration as possible, including subcabinet positions.  He also declared racial discrimination a national security issue, since the Soviets used America’s racist history in their propaganda.  (Kreig, Dwight D. Eisenhower: Soldier, President, Statesman)

  • Ike’s second step was to only appoint federal judges who supported integration.  Thurgood Marshall and other NAACP lawyers said they always looked for Ike-appointed judges for their cases because they knew they would win.  (Pipes, Ike’s Final Battle)

  • Ike appointed five justices to the Supreme Court, including Chief Justice Earl Warren.  All five supported integration.  Ike and Warren later had a falling out.  Warren thought it was because of his pro-integration views, but Ike said he only disapproved of Warren’s liberal stance on criminal justice issues.  (Pipes, Ike’s Final Battle)

  • The Warren Court unanimously desegregated America’s public school system in 1954 with Brown v Board of Education.  Ike had mixed feelings about this outcome.  He knew it was an important step in ending segregation, but also knew it would provoke a backlash and disrupt society.  He was not at home in social struggle.  He wished the Court began desegregation with older people, like graduate students.  People became more emotional over children.  (Pipes, Ike’s Final Battle)

  • Ike never endorsed Brown, saying, “The Supreme Court has issued its opinion, and I will obey.”  Historians have criticized Ike for this cautious statement.  But Ike believed in results, not rhetoric, and believed a strong endorsement of Brown would turn the South against him.  He would be unable to coax them into accepting segregation if that happened.  He also did not think presidents should give their honest opinion of Supreme Court cases, since it would raise the question of whether the president would do his duty in executing the law if he disliked a Court decision.  (Eisenhower, Mandate for Chance)

  • The Court ruled on Brown II in 1955, ordering schools be integrated “with all deliberate speed.”  This was generic and did not provide a strict timetable.  Ike, who was used to military precision, did not like the vagueness of this ruling.  (Pipes, Ike’s Final Battle)

  • Ike was sad when he lost southern friends for pledging to obey Brown.  Richard Russell, the Senate’s leading defender of segregation, told Ike to ignore Brown since Plessy v Ferguson, the 1896 case that upheld segregation, was sacred.  Ike asked why Brown should not also be considered sacred.  Russell said the Court’s justices in 1896 were wise men, while the justices in 1954 were merely politicians.  Ike asked Russell to name any of the justices in 1896.  Russell could not name one.  (Pipes, Ike’s Final Battle)

  • Many Southern Congressmen and Senators signed the Southern Manifesto, which denounced Brown and pledged to uphold segregation.  Ike referred to the Manifesto’s supporters as  “extremists” but appreciated their pledge to only use legal means to make their case.  (Pipes, Ike’s Final Battle)

  • Brown helped stimulate the large-scale Civil Rights Movement of the 1950s and 1960s.  Many activists demanded the government take immediate action in outlawing segregation.  Ike thought this was a mistake.  He was a gradualist who believed societies could only change incrementally.  He did not understand why black activists resented his calls for patience.  (Pipes, Ike’s Final Battle)

  • Ike believed gradualism allowed for necessary change but minimized the backlash from conservative forces. He thought the world could be improved by not perfected, and any attempts at perfecting it, like the French or Russian Revolutions, ended in catastrophe.  Furthermore, he wanted to be remembered as a military hero, not a social revolutionary.  (Nichols, A Matter of Justice)

  • Martin Luther King came to national prominence late in Ike’s presidency.  King recognized that he and Ike agreed on the goal of racial justice but disagreed on the approach.  King wanted rapid change and saw Ike as temperamentally conservative and resistant to revolution.  King said Ike, “could not be committed to anything which involved a structural change in the architecture of American society. His conservatism was fixed and rigid and any evil defacing the nation had to be extracted bit by bit with a tweezer because the surgeon's knife was an instrument too radical to touch this best of all societies.”  The two men did not let their disagreement over tactics lead to antagonism.  Ike described King’s assassination in 1968 as “a disaster.”  (Pipes, Ike’s Final Battle)

  • He supported the Montgomery Bus Boycott and sit-ins, describing them as “moderate, nonviolent, constitutional, and progressive.”  (Nichols, A Matter of Justice)

  • Ike wanted to calm his countrymen and allow their reason and goodwill to resolve racial issues.  A centrist, he denounced “foolish extremists on both sides of the question.”  He saw little difference if an extremist was for or against racial equality; their divisive rhetoric and illegal tactics made things worse.  (Newton, Eisenhower: The White House Years) 

  • His centrist approach to civil rights was modeled after Lincoln, his hero, who resisted abolitionists’ calls for the immediate abolition of slavery that would have caused the Border States to secede and join the Confederacy.  Instead, Lincoln took four years.  He issued the Emancipation Proclamation in September 1862 and announced the Thirteenth Amendment in April 1864.  In contrast, Ike believed the Radical Republican approach to Reconstruction, which punished the South, set civil rights back a century.  (Nichols, A Matter of Justice)

  • Ike saw Southerners as misguided, not evil.  He sympathized with Southern mothers who did not want schools integrated by did not agree with them.  He feared that acting too fast on civil rights would strengthen the Southern backlash and make reconciliation between races and regions more difficult.  (Nichols, A Matter of Justice)

  • Ike believed guaranteeing African-Americans the right to vote was the most important thing he could do to advance their interests.  Voting rights would give them political influence.  Other rights would follow.  This was why he proposed the Civil Rights Act of 1957, the first civil rights bill since Reconstruction, at the beginning of his second term.  The bill would give the Justice Department the power to prosecute any one who violated a voter’s Fifteenth Amendment rights.  Senate Majority Leader Lyndon Johnson feared that allowing a Republican president to sign major civil rights legislation would lead African-Americans to return to the GOP, so he used his legislative influence to weaken the bill.  Many of Ike’s advisors told him to veto the weakened bill for symbolic reasons.  He signed it, saying a weak bill was better than no bill.  The Civil Rights Act of 1957 became the model for Johnson’s 1965 Voting Rights Act.   (Nichols, A Matter of Justice)

  • The Little Rock Crisis began shortly after Ike signed the Civil Rights Act.  The local school district ordered Little Rock High School to integrate in autumn 1957.  Nine African-American students were set to attend the school.  Arkansas Governor Orval Faubus wanted segregationists’ support in the next election and ordered the Arkansas National Guard to block the black students from entering the school.  A white mob joined Faubus and screamed at the Little Rock Nine.  Ike thought Faubus and his followers were demagogic extremists and would not allow them to violate federal law.  But he was hesitant to send soldiers into a Southern state.  He wanted to give Faubus the chance to back down.  They met, and Faubus agreed to cooperate.  Then he continued denying entry to the black students.  Ike felt lied to and double-crossed.  Now it was personal.  (Pipes, Ike’s Final Battle)

  • Ike nationalized the Arkansas National Guard and ordered them to leave the area.  Then he sent in the 101st Airborne Division to escort the Little Rock Nine into the school.  The paratroopers stayed with the black students for months.  Ike had deployed the 101st Airborne on D-Day, so his decision to use them was highly symbolic.  Had he failed to act at Little Rock, the Civil Rights Movement would have been set back and the Supreme Court would have been weakened.  (Smith, Eisenhower in War and Peace)

  • Little Rock made Ike reevaluate his view of southerners.  It was not just thugs who opposed the black students’ entry; it was professionals like doctors and lawyers.  He thought his faith in southerners might have been displaced.  (Pipes, Ike’s Final Battle)

  • Ike also resented Southern comparisons between the 101st Airborne and Nazi SS after Little Rock.  Ike argued, “In one case the military power was used to further the ambition of a ruthless dictator; in the other to preserve the institutions of free government.” (Nichols, A Matter of Justice)

  • Ike’s support of the Civil Rights Movement continued growing in the early 1960s, after he left office.  He supported Kennedy’s civil rights initiative and endorsed the Civil Rights Act of 1964.  He campaigned for African-American candidates throughout the decade.  (Pipes, Ike’s Final Battle)

  • Ike said Senator Goldwater’s vote against the 1964 Civil Rights Act made him “sick.”  Goldwater said his vote was based on states’ rights.  Ike said race was a federal issue and feared Goldwater’s nomination in 1964 would lead the GOP to becoming a white supremacist party.  He vowed to oppose any Republican politician who sought votes by encouraging the white backlash to civil rights.  (Pipes, Ike’s Final Battle)

  • Ike did not like that certain elements of the Civil Rights Movement became more radical in the late 1960s.  He supported equality of opportunity, but this was not good enough for those who only accepted equal outcomes.  Ike was also bothered by extreme rhetoric, saying, “No one has defined what black power means. If it means using legitimate, voting power, that’s one thing. If it means reckless, destructive power by force, that’s something else.”  (US News, Eisenhower Speaks his Mind)


  • Ike viewed the rule of law as indispensable for avoiding anarchy.  He said law treated people equally, regardless of class.  He also believed that international law, the International Court of Justice, and the UN were key in his quest for world peace.  He wanted international law to one day replace the use of force in resolving international disputes.  (Eisenhower, Statement by the President on the Observance of Law Day)

  • Ike was the first president to have the American Bar Association formally vet his judicial appointments.  He did not want to appoint “political hacks” for life.  (Smith, Eisenhower in War and Peace)

  • He usually looked at a potential judge’s character, not how they would vote, in making appointments.  But he treated support for racial integration as a litmus test and suggested that Nixon appoint Herbert Brownell, who was more liberal on civil rights than Warren, as Warren’s replacement as Chief Justice.  (Nichols, A Matter of Justice)

  • Ike did not think presidents should honestly comment on Supreme Court opinions since it would raise the question of whether the president would do his duty in executing the law if he disliked a Court decision.  (Eisenhower, Mandate for Chance)

  • The Supreme Court had to be obeyed, but laws are rarely effective if they do not reflect the majority will.  (Gellman, The President and the Apprentice)

  • Ike’s support of Brown suggests he was not an origialist, but he also did not want judges “rewriting the Constitution.”  His centrism meant he was probably a judicial minimalist like Sandra Day O’Connor.  (US News, Eisenhower Speaks his Mind)

  • Ike did not think judges should serve for life.  He said, “Supreme Court and federal judges should only be allowed to serve for twenty years, or until age 72, whichever comes first. They can still receive lifetime pay, but this will bring in fresh blood.” (US News, Eisenhower Speaks his Mind)

  • Ike spoke about a constitutional convention in 1963: Those who wrote our Constitution designed a government that would be a servant, responsive to the people, managed by the people. Their foresight was equal to their faith in the people. And through decades of growth and change their work - after the Bill of Rights - required few amendments. But the founding fathers could not foresee that, in the space of three lifetimes, the Republic would extend from the Atlantic three thousand miles out into the Pacific, or overleaping an independent neighbor would reach into the Arctic; or that an economy of small farms and large plantations, whose cities existed mainly as ports of entry and exit, would be transformed into massive concentrations of people forming communities without regard to county or state lines. They could not know that in less than two centuries the immensity of domestic and international affairs would tend to create in us a feeling of individual helplessness and even lead us into an unthinking abandonment of personal and local responsibility to a few men in government, giving to them a frightening power for good or evil; and almost certain to invite error or abuse. Through all these developments government more and more escapes the control of the people. Though in townships and villages, school districts and towns, citizens still make decisions for themselves, the room for decision daily shrinks because each must be made in the context of responsibility and power lost to a distant bureaucracy. Framers of the Constitution could not foresee the exact causes that might bring about such a trend but they knew that the potential danger existed. Only an inspired and educated citizenry will provide the power to keep America from following the path of earlier civilizations in which the love of country, the dedication of service to society weakened through the love of ease and the worship of affluence.

  • Against the possibility that ordinary and customary processes of self-government might weaken or be found ineffective, or later laws and interpretations of original constitutional intent might conflict with the mass convictions of Americans, the Founders provided a final and decisive means of reformation and restoration by the people themselves. Through their state legislatures and without regard to the federal government, the people can demand and participate in constitutional conventions in which they can, through their own action, adopt such amendments as will reverse any trends they see as fatal to true representative government. I do not here refer to any amendment presently proposed, or under consideration by the several states. Moreover, constitutional amendment is not to be lightly undertaken. But if you and your generation fortified by a superb education, with access to the knowledge and wisdom of the ages, and imbued with the spirit of our founders, decide that reformation of a radical kind becomes due - then I say, let nothing stop you! Study, examine, survey, think, consider, decide and then - by all means - act! (Convention of States Action)

  • Ike supported “Immunity Bath” legislation that permitted the Attorney General to grant immunity from prosecution to a witness testifying before a grand jury or a Congressional testimony where such a witness would use the 5th amendment to protect fellow conspirators. (Eisenhower, Mandate for Change)


  • Ike was uncomfortable around women.  He spoke to women’s organizations as president and often began with a joke about how ill at ease he felt.  (Ambrose, Eisenhower: Soldier and President)

  • An advisor brought up the question of gender equality.  Ike asked, “Where are women not equal?”  He saw the Nineteenth Amendment as the key step to women’s rights and said they held the majority of political power since most voters were women.  (Today in Civil Liberties History)

  • Ike was the first president to ask Congress to pass the Equal Rights Amendment.  When asked about the topic he replied, “It’s hard for a mere man to believe that a woman doesn’t have equal rights!”  (Today in Civil Liberties History)

  • He said women needed to be educated so they could become doctors, lawyers, teachers, and scientists, but most importantly, to become good mothers and voters. (President Eisenhower Explains Importance of Women’s Education)

  • He appointed women to as many high-level positions as possible, including to the cabinet and as ambassadors.  (Smith, Eisenhower in War and Peace)

  • Ike initially opposed government-funded birth control, believing it was beyond the government’s powers.  He later changed his mind and became the last Republican president to be openly pro-choice on abortion.  His main concern was overpopulation and women using illegitimate children to collect welfare.  He even made an uncharacteristically extreme suggestion that Congress consider sterilizing women who had more than two illegitimate children.  (Ambrose, Eisenhower: Soldier and President)

  • He served as chairman of a Planned Parenthood committee after leaving office.  (Republicans Supporting Planned Parenthood)


  • Ike referred to God as the “Supreme Overlord” and to Heaven as the “Great Beyond.”  (David Eisenhower, Going Home to Glory)

  • Religion was important for the family in Abilene.  David began every morning reading scripture to his sons.  They prayed before every meal.  Every son had to read a Bible passage in the evening.  None of the sons maintained their parents’ strict faith as adults.  (Smith, Eisenhower in War and Peace)

  • Ike referred to himself as one of the “most deeply religious man I know.”  But most biographers believe he was more spiritual than religious.  He prayed during the war but was not a sophisticated theologian.  (Brooks, The Road to Character)

  • Ike had little question that God existed.  He said atheists were “stupid” and “did not think.”  He accepted evolution and “the theory that the Earth was created in a fiery volcano” but because “intense heat destroyed life, the first protoplasm must have come from somewhere.”  That was God’s work.  (Gellman, The President and the Apprentice)

  • He believed that much of Western and American values grew out of “Ancient Jewish teachings,” saying, “The whole world is the seed of Abraham.”

  • Ike believed that democracy and equality were rooted in religious thought and relied on the idea that every person had a soul.  Ike: “If there is not a soul that is related in some way to a religious Being, no matter what the faith, then I can see no reason why each of us should not exploit to the full any talent he may have vis-à- vis his fellow, vis-à-vis his neighbor, and take advantage if he possibly can.”  He believed communist regimes treated their people brutally because they did not believe in divine souls.  (David Eisenhower, Going Home to Glory)

  • Ike read the Declaration of Independence’s reference, “endowed by their Creator with certain unalienable Rights” to mean that the Founders intended religious faith to be a central aspect of free government.  (David Eisenhower, Going Home to Glory)

  • He was comfortable with religious groups expressing themselves on politics as part of “religious freedom.”  His belief that religion was good for society stemmed from his analysis of the rise of European fascism in the 1930s.  Europe’s loss of religious faith after WWI allowed dictators to fill the void.  (David Eisenhower, Going Home to Glory)

  • He said the Church was the conscience of the nation but wished preachers spent more time talking about eternal truths and less about current events.  (Ambrose, Eisenhower: Soldier and President)

  • Ike believed America had become too secular and approved of the religious revival of the 1950s.  His religious beliefs did not shape his daily life but he wanted to set a good example as president.  He became baptized, joined the Presbyterian Church, and began his First Inaugural Address with a prayer.  He went to Church mainly for appearances’ sake.  (Newton, Eisenhower: The White House Years)

  • Ike signed legislation that put “Under God” in the Pledge of Allegiance and “In God We Trust” on American currency.  He said anyone who opposed these decisions was a communist. (David Eisenhower, Going Home to Glory)

  • He was comfortable with prayer in school and disagreed with the Warren Court ruling it unconstitutional in 1963.  Ike said, “There is no reason for Americans to raise their children in a communist type of school that denies the existence of God.”  (David Eisenhower, Going Home to Glory)


  • Mass shootings and gun control were not political issues discussed in the 1950s, so there is no account of Ike’s thinking about these topics. 

  • Hunting was one of Ike’s favorite hobbies.

  • During Prohibition he was tasked with shutting down handgun factories in New England.  (Johnson, Eisenhower: A Life)

  • Four Puerto Rican extremists fired at the Capital Building in 1954.  Ike said, “Those people just shoot wildly, just shoot into a crowd.  Probably blindly insane.” (Ambrose, Eisenhower: Soldier and President)

  • Senator Knowland met with Ike in 1954 to discuss the Bricker Amendment, which would weaken the president’s ability to conduct foreign policy.  Knowland suggested that Ike’s pursuit of nuclear disarmament could lead to Americans losing the right to bear arms.  Ike replied that if the Second Amendment became an obstacle to a disarmament treaty, then the Constitution would have to be amended to revoke that Amendment.  Knowland recalled, “If he had to give up the objective of getting a disarmament agreement, the President said, there would be no reason for staying here. A decent disarmament treaty is an absolute must!” (Ambrose, Eisenhower: Soldier and President)


  • Ike supported immigration reform.  He considered the immigration quota system established by the Harding and Coolidge Administrations to be discriminatory.  He said his immigration policy would, “strike an intelligent, unbigoted balance between the immigration welfare of America and the prayerful hopes of the unhappy and oppressed.” (Tichenor, Dividing Lines)

  • He took a hardline against illegal immigration, calling illegal Mexican border crossings “an act of war.”  His Justice Department deported 250,000 illegal immigrants in what was termed “Operation Wetback.”  However, they were given the option to legally immigrate to the US.  Many did.  (Carroll, Trump: Eisenhower deported 1.5 million immigrants

  • He resettled 35,000 Hungarian refugees into the US and asked other countries to adopt as many refugees as possible following the 1956 Hungarian Revolution.  (Gellman, The President and the Apprentice)


  • Ike was tough on crime.  He spoke at the 1964 Republican Convention about, “maudlin sympathy for the criminal who, roaming the streets with switchblade knife and illegal firearms seeking a helpless prey, suddenly becomes, upon apprehension, a poor, underprivileged person who counts upon the compassion of our society and the laxness or weakness of too many courts to forgive the offense.”  (Ferguson, Kissinger: The Idealist)

  • Ike believed African-Americans had higher crime rates because of lower educational standards and said statistics showed blacks with greater educational advantages had lower crime rates. (US News, Eisenhower Speaks his Mind)

  • Ike disagreed with the Warren Court’s liberal rulings on criminal law.  Warren asked Ike what he would have with communists who came before the Court.  Ike replied, “I would kill the SOBs.”  (Newton, Eisenhower: The White House Years)

  • Ike said anyone who advocated for overthrowing the government should have his or her citizenship revoked. (US News, Eisenhower Speaks his Mind)

  • Ike supported the death penalty.  He executed a soldier for desertion during the Battle of the Bulge.  He did not pardon the Rosenbergs from the death penalty because it would have interfered with the judicial system.  He was not comfortable allowing a woman to be executed but felt he had no choice with Ethel Rosenberg.  He believed she was the leader and that sparing her would tell the Soviets to recruit female spies.  (Newton, Eisenhower: The White House Years)


  • Though Ike and McCarthy were bitter enemies, Ike supported the idea of rooting out communist infiltration of American life if it could be done without ruining the reputations of innocent people.  (Nichols, Ike and McCarthy)

  • He did not believe in suppressing ideas.  He opposed book burning and let guest lecturers at Columbia speak about communism.  He said WWII occurred because the world failed to take Mein Kampf seriously.  He said Americans had to know what communism actually preached if they were going to defeat it.  Suppressing the study of an ideology was not helpful. (Johnson, Eisenhower: A Life)

  • He believed people should learn about other cultures. (Johnson, Eisenhower: A Life)

  • He opposed outlawing advertisements for alcohol and cigarettes, saying such a mentality would turn America into a police state.  (Ambrose, Eisenhower: Soldier and President)


  • Ike wanted to improve American forests, parks, and fisheries.  (Eisenhower On the Issues)

  • He created the Arctic National Wildlife Refuge, protecting nine million acres of shore in Alaska.  (Eisenhower On the Issues)

  • Ike supported the private use of nuclear power to provide energy. (Eisenhower, Mandate for Change)


  • Ike expanded the health, educational, and employment opportunities for Native Americans.  He wanted to give them the “material and social advantages of his birthright and citizenship” while “maintaining cultural integrity of the various tribal groups.”


  • Born in 1890 and a career military man, Ike was greatly bothered by Countercultural Revolution of the 1960s.  (David Eisenhower, Going Home to Glory)

  • Ike respected young people.  He’d served with them in the army and during WWII.  But he thought the “juvenile delinquency” threatened the nation and said, “education and self-discipline are what we need.” (David Eisenhower, Going Home to Glory)

  • He said Americans should be ashamed of the lawlessness of the late 1960s.  He blamed the over-promising of the New Frontier and Great Society for the race riots.  He was amazed any adults, whether black or white, would participate in riots.  He saw rioters as uncivilized and needed to be prosecuted, regardless of underlying grievances.  The solution was greater respect for the law. 

  • He feared a breakdown of monogamy and predicted a storm of illegitimacy could lead to anarchy.  (David Eisenhower, Going Home to Glory)

  • Ike identified other signs of the American people “weakening” in the 1960s including the increase in divorce, race-motivated Church bombings, and murder witnesses refusing to intervene. (Eisenhower, Waging Peace)

  • Richard Nixon, Ike’s protégé, was inaugurated two months before Ike died.  Nixon had run on a “law and order” platform.  Ike hoped Nixon could restore a respect for law and patriotism while still pursuing legal equality.  (David Eisenhower, Going Home to Glory)


  • Ike opposed eliminating the draft and supported universal military training since the end of WWII.  (Nixon, RN: The Memoirs of Richard Nixon)

  • In the 1960s he thought one year of military training, without deferments, could be good for the “hippie generation” and could teach them discipline, restraint, and self-respect.  (David Eisenhower, Going Home to Glory)


  • The 1956 Republican Platform called for self-government and representation in Congress for the District of Columbia. (1956 Republican Platform)

  • He supported lowering the voting age to 18.  He saw voting as the most important decision for a citizen of a democracy. (Johnson, Eisenhower: A Life)

  • He initially thought the US was not responsible for population control abroad.  He changed his mind, saying that no amount of foreign aid would help countries that did not stabilize their population growth.  (US News, Eisenhower Speaks his Mind)

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