25 Harry Truman Quotes From The Unpopular President (2022)

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These Harry S. Truman quotes reveal what one of the most unpopular presidents thought about government, politics, and life in general.

Harry S. Truman was one of the few US vice presidents who became President because they had to take over when the previous president died or resigned. He was the 34th vice president and the 35th president from 1945-1953. He grew up in Missouri and then went to France during World War I, where he served as a captain in the Field Artillery.

He would end up being the first, and only, president to use nuclear weapons during a war. Truman also obtained NATO approval to aid in what would end up being the Korean War.

The Cold War also began brewing during his presidency. These war issues were not the only reason he left office with a 22% approval rating, in fact, several controversies swirled around him while in office. Enjoy reading these Harry Truman quotes!

Don’t forget to also check out these Dwight D. Eisenhower quotes on life, politics and progress.

Harry S. Truman quotes about government and the economy

1. “Once a government is committed to the principle of silencing the voice of opposition, it has only one way to go, and that is down the path of increasingly repressive measures until it becomes a source of terror to all its citizens and creates a country where everyone lives in fear.” ― Harry S. Truman

2. “Suppose you were an idiot. And suppose you were a Republican. But I repeat myself.” ― Harry S. Truman

3. “The Republicans believe in the minimum wage — the more the minimum, the better.” ― Harry S. Truman

4. “Whenever you have an efficient government you have a dictatorship.” ― Harry S. Truman

5. “Republicans don’t like people to talk about depressions. You can hardly blame them for that. You remember the old saying: Don’t talk about rope in the house where somebody has been hanged.” ― Harry S. Truman

6. “A bureaucrat is a Democrat who holds some office that a Republican wants.” ― Harry S. Truman

7. “Give me a one-handed Economist. All my economists say ‘on one hand…’, then ‘but on the other.” ― Harry S. Truman

8. “Dictatorship, by whatever name, is founded on the doctrine that the individual amounts to nothing; that the State is the only one that counts; and that men and women and children were put on earth solely for the purpose of serving the state.” ― Harry S. Truman

9. “America was not built on fear. America was built on courage, on imagination, and unbeatable determination to do the job at hand.” ― Harry S. Truman

10. “Experience has shown how deeply the seeds of war are planted by economic rivalry and social injustice.” ― Harry S. Truman

11. “I doubt if there is any problem in the world today – social, political, or economic – that would not find a happy solution if approached in the spirit of the sermon on the mount.” ― Harry S. Truman

Harry S. Truman quotes for when life is a struggle

12. “It’s a recession when your neighbor loses his job; it’s a depression when you lose your own.” ― Harry S. Truman

13. “Selfishness and greed, individual or national, cause most of our troubles.” ― Harry S. Truman

14. “Fame is a vapor, popularity is an accident, riches take wings, those who cheer today may curse tomorrow and only one thing endures – character.” ― Harry S. Truman

15. “I never did give them hell. I just told the truth, and they thought it was hell.” ― Harry S. Truman

16. “Once a decision was made, I didn’t worry about it afterward.” ― Harry S. Truman

17. “The reward of suffering is experience.” ― Harry S. Truman

18. “A pessimist is one who makes difficulties of his opportunities and an optimist is one who makes opportunities of his difficulties.” ― Harry S. Truman

Harry S. Truman quotes on life advice

19. “It is amazing what you can accomplish if you do not care who gets the credit.” ― Harry S. Truman

20. “If you can’t convince them, confuse them.” ― Harry S. Truman

21. “Tact is the ability to step on a man’s toes without messing up the shine on his shoes.” ― Harry S. Truman

22. “I have found the best way to give advice to your children is to find out what they want and then advise them to do it.” ― Harry S. Truman

23. “Never kick a fresh turd on a hot day.” ― Harry S. Truman

24. “There’s nothing better than cake but more cake.” ― Harry S. Truman

25. “I come to the office each morning and stay for long hours doing what has to be done to the best of my ability. And when you’ve done the best you can, you can’t do any better.” ― Harry S. Truman

If you’re enjoying these quotes, make sure to read our collection of The Office quotes from the iconic hit show.

What did you learn from these Harry S. Truman quotes?

There was economic strife following WWII due in part to the military expense of war. Truman’s response to handling the post-war struggles led to opposition from Congress and public opinion was that it was ineffectual at best.

During the railroad strike, Truman took control of the railways in an attempt to solve the problem, but the unions still chose to strike. There was also a major steel strike.

He didn’t have much experience in foreign policy, so he listened mostly to his advisors. Truman’s response to civil unrest in China was viewed as a loss when the plan didn’t work as intended and we ended up being an enemy of Asia.

He also went against the advice given to him and recognized Isreal after it declared itself a nation, saying, “Hitler had been murdering Jews right and left. I saw it, and I dream about it even to this day. The Jews needed someplace where they could go. It is my attitude that the American government couldn’t stand idly by while the victims [of] Hitler’s madness are not allowed to build new lives.”

Truman also ordered an unpopular addition to the White House, and while it was being renovated moved into Blair House. Puerto Rican Nationalists attempted to assassinate him on his daily commute. There were also scandals involving corruption, which resulted in 166 employees being fired or resigning from their posts.

What’s your biggest takeaway from these Harry S. Truman quotes and sayings? Let us know your opinion. Feel free to also share any other quotes you like in the comments below!


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