Lasting Legacy

Harry Truman left office with the lowest approval rating of any president to that time. Yet in the decades that followed, scholars revisited his leadership in the context of the challenges he had to address.  Historians now tend to rank him among the top half dozen American presidents. Faced with some of the most difficult tests to confront any president, he did much to shape America and the world in the last half of the 20th century and beyond.

President Truman's decisions set the course of American foreign and domestic policy for generations. They continue to shape American life today. The areas covered in this exhibit include foreign policy, national defense, the presidency, domestic policy, civil rights, and the role of government.

Key artifact

Additional info: Blonde walnut table and chair from the Presidential Penthouse of Hotel Muehlebach, Kansas City, Missouri. Used by President Truman to sign the Truman Doctrine on May 22, 1947 and the Bonn Peace Agreement August 22, 1952. On July 30, 1965, in the auditorium of the Truman Library, the table was used by President Johnson to sign the Medicare Bill into law. On March 12, 1999, the table was used for the "accession" of the Czech Republic and the nations of Hungary and Poland to the North Atlantic Treaty Organization .