Harry Truman: "The Campaign is Ended and We Have a Catholic for President"

November 21, 1960

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Harry Truman: "The Campaign is Ended and We Have a Catholic for President"
Autograph Letter Signed
2 pages | SMC 369

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      Background

      “The campaign is ended and we have a Catholic for President,” Truman writes here.
       
      It makes no difference, in my opinion, what church a man belongs to, if he believes in the oath he takes to support and defend the Constitution of the United States… If our new President works at the job, he'll have no trouble. You know, I wish I'd been young enough to go back to the White House and make Alibi Ike wear a top hat!
       
      Truman’s support of Kennedy had not come naturally. The “boy” was too young, too inexperienced, even too Catholic – but most of all, he was Joe Kennedy’s son, and Truman loathed the isolationist, pro-McCarthy ex-Ambassador to Great Britain. “It’s not the Pope I’m afraid of,” he once famously cracked, “it’s the pop.” But Jack Kennedy kept calling and courting, and ultimately Truman, at the age of 76, campaigned for him in nine states.
       
      The day after Kennedy’s inauguration in January 1961, Truman was welcomed back into the Oval Office for the first time in eight years.


      Autograph Letter Signed (“Harry”), 2 pages, quarto, on his personal letterhead, Independence, Missouri, November 21, 1960. With autograph envelope. To Dean Acheson.
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      Page 1/3

      Page 1 transcript
      FROM THE DESK OF HARRY S. TRUMAN

      11 - 21 - 60

      Dear Dean: -  The campaign is ended and we have a Catholic for President. It makes no difference, in my opinion, what church a man belongs to, if he believes in the oath he takes to support and defend the Constitution of the United States. 

      I have taken it twenty five or thirty times. I didn't have to weigh what I was swearing to in that oath. I believed in it.

      If our new President works at the job, he'll have no trouble. You know, I wish I'd been young enough to go back to the White House and make Alibi Ike wear a top hat! He spent his time after the election in 1952 trying to show how good he could be.

      Page 2/3

      Page 2 transcript
      FROM THE DESK OF HARRY S. TRUMAN

      But why worry about what's past.


      We are faced with a situation equal to any we've been up against in a hundred years. 

      I'm looking forward to a visit when you come out here on November 30th.

      You know what the "Boss" has done? She's torn up the whole second floor of this old 1859 House of ours and we are in a hell of a fix. Mrs. R. had to stay at a hotel and I fear you will too. But maybe you and I can have a better time. Don't tell Alice but let's see what happens.

      Sincerely
      Harry.

      Page 3/3

      Page 3 transcript

      HARRY S. TRUMAN
      INDEPENDENCE, MISSOURI

      Harry Truman [in autograph]

      Honorable Dean Acheson.
      Union Trust Building,
      Washington 5,
      D.C.