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Harry S. Truman: Biography and Beliefs

The future President of the United States of America Harry S. Truman worked at a series of challenging jobs in his youth (1901-1922), which contributed to his experience and helped him during his presidency. There was logic in his succession of jobs since 1901 till 1922: work in two large banks, eleven years of farming, experience in the Army of the USA, and business in haberdashery assisted him with his decisions when he was charged with the responsibility of the Presidency.

Essay Map

  1. After graduating from high school Truman could not make choice of future career.
  2. Truman’s desire for military career.
  3. Studies and the first job.
  4. Work in the bank.
  5. Farming during eleven years and finding common sense.
  6. Military service.
  7. Haberdashery: an improvement of life and a failure.
  8. Logic in his occupations was traced by Truman after he became a politician.

In 1901, (when) Harry Truman (Who) graduated from Independence high school at the age of seventeen. He had no direct course in choosing his career. (Simple) Much later in the early 1920s Harry decided what he wanted to do and ran for public office. But now, in 1901 he began his adult life and had no idea that he would build a successful career as a politician. Harry got each job by chance, and he profited by experience he acquired at work. Like any youngster he wanted to do well, but he was not a man of great ambition.

Truman’s interest in military affairs, (What) which arose during the Spanish-American War, was the only evidence that the young man wanted to solve the problem of his future occupation. (Linking sentence, Topic sentence) He read Great Men and Famous Women, tried to get admission to the United States Military Academy at West Point. Truman strove for (Verb) free college education, and hoped to be an outstanding (Adjective) general. Beyond this hope, he intended to impress Bessie Wallace so that she could be a famous general’s lady. (Unique unusual detail) “Truman had imagined attending West Point and found time to prepare for the examinations with tutors. But his poor eyesight scuttled that notion” (Burnes 5). Thus, he failed because of his near sight.

Truman took a vacation in a state of confusion. It was his first trip to Illinois far from home. Then he traveled to Texas. Harry Truman entered Spadling’s Commercial College in Kansas City. (Where) It (Pronoun) was a considerable institution, but he could not proceed with his studies, (Why) because his father went a bankrupt. In 1902 Truman started work in the mail room of the Kansas City Star. Later he became a timekeeper for a construction company. It was an initiative of his father because one of the members of Harry’s graduating class Tasker. P. Tailor had worked as a timekeeper, but “he went swimming in the treacherous river and drowned” (Ferrell 26). (Compound-Complex) This story was quite mysterious. Harry discovered the body of Taylor when sitting on the riverside with a female acquaintance.

This job ended and nothing was in sight, but Harry got another opportunity. (Link sentence) His acquaintance, Edwin, asked him if he wanted to work in a bank. Despite Harry’s model behavior, he could not get this job without recommendations. His job of a clerk implied that he was diligent and attentive. Harry had a lot of experience listing and distributing checks. He did well and drew attention of the bank’s vice president, which made him the personal filing clerk to the cashier and to the bank’s owner and president. (Complex) Later, Truman left for a rival bank with a raise. During the years of job in the banks, Truman learned to keep accounts and found out much about city life. (Supporting Detail 1) “Working for the banks, making his own money, he could concentrate on his instruction in city ways” (Ferrell 30). The bank work did not impress him, but during his leisure time he did everything that had no relation to keeping accounts. He was happy in the city, and what a blow it was to move back to the farm. (Linking Sentence)

Harry farmed with his father, and after his death did farming himself. Here Harry realized that he was a perfectionist like his father. Truman studied soil improvement and farm management. He fed the horses and mules, struggled against hog cholera. “It was on the farm that Harry got his common sense. He didn’t get it in town” (Burnes 21). (Supporting Detail 2) During his farm years, Harry met his future wife by chance, (How) and courtship commenced. They later got married.

An acquaintance with his future life was not the only fruit of Truman’s life on the farm. The solitude afforded dreaming of bigger things. It was not dreaming of the presidency, but the dreaming of larger tasks. (Repetition of key words)

A such larger task presented itself through the decision to go into the army during World War I. This crucial resolution was made, because Harry was a patriotic citizen. However, the departure from Kansas City was painful. He wrote to his wife: “It seems that I have caused you to be unhappy by my overenthusiastic action in getting myself sent to war” (Truman and Ferrel 224). Nothing could prevent him from going to war, Even his deep affection for Bessie.

A sequence of adventures in the United States and abroad widened his mind beyond any experiences he had lived through in Kansas City and on the farm. At first, Truman was instructed at Doniphan, and later sent overseas. He spent a year out of the United States. In France he got some education, and after returning home was assigned a commander of Battery D. “…he found himself with 193 men of diverse backgrounds, far different from the bank clerks and salesmen and lawyers” (Ferrell 57). At first the men of the battery were against their commander. As bad luck would have it, a group of tough draftees from New York City had arrived. Truman established his authority and control without hesitation. The men of the battery gradually showed a desire to follow him. The army proved that he could be a leader, when he was a commander of Battery D; it made him understand that he could be a leader of a larger scope. (Supporting detail 3) (Transition)

Besides his traits of a leader, Truman realize gravity of political and diplomatic events that passed by him. The Paris Peace Conference, contempt for President Wilson, League of Nations contributed to his politician education.

The experience in the army was unforgettable. However, Harry tried haberdashery before he was elected county judge and moved to high office. At the outset, his life improved. He and Bess married. “Marriage was, to be sure, the most important event of Harry Truman’s life” (Ferrell 73). Now he need not worry and persuade Bess of his love. The marriage proved long-lasting. The store in the center of the city brought him back to city life he liked so much. This very store became a sort of headquarters to promote activities for the city. The store was a five-story building. It was a club to which his army colleagues came to spent time. After the nationwide economic recession of 1921-1922 lowered prices of manufactured goods, Truman lived through bankruptcy, and now he was determined to start his political career.

Thus, the importance of different jobs in youth for the future national and international leader is beyond any doubt. Vast experiences and life full of events and struggle left a trace on his determination to become a successful politician and a good husband for his Boss, his first lady, his wife.

Truman later said that “if someone wanted to go into politics he needed preparation in three fields” (Ferrel 23). (Supporting detail 4) One of them was finance, the second field was farming, and the third one was experience in the U.S. Military. (Parallelism)

Truman never believed in prestigious law schools or modern educational institutions, and he would never have been able to attend them because of his insufficient finances. (Compound) But beyond question, experience from the pursuits (Noun) in which he rambled in his youth, extremely helped him in the exercise of his presidential authority.

Works Cited

Burnes, Brian, and Donna Martin. Harry S. Truman: his life and times. Kansas City, MO : Kansas City Star Books, 2003.

Ferrell, Robert H. Harry S. Truman: a life. Columbia, MO: University of Missouri Press, 1995.

Truman, Harry S., Ferrel, Robert H., and Bess Wallace Truman. Dear Bess: the letters from Harry to Bess Truman, 1910-1959. Columbia, Mo: Univ. of Missouri Press, 1998.


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