Dwight D. Eisenhower

Dwight D. Eisenhower was born on October 14, 1890, in Denison, Texas. He spent most of his childhood in Abilene, Kansas where he graduated high school in 1909. He started attending West Point Military Academy in 1911 due to his interests in military history, and in 1915 as a Second Lieutenant. The next year, he married Mamie Geneva Doud[1]. The couple moved many times as Eisenhower’s military career began to launch.

Eisenhower received his first military assignment in 1917. After U.S. entry in World War I, he began an assignment at Fort Sam Houston, Texas. After the war, he served in Panama, and later graduated from the General Staff School at Fort Leavenworth, Kansas, in 1926. Before the outbreak of World War II, he accompanied Gen. Douglas MacArthur to the Philippines as an assistant military advisor. After the Japanese attack on Pearl Harbor, in 1941, Eisenhower re-stationed to Europe until the end of the war, in 1945, where he received an appointment as the Supreme Allied Commander in Europe[2]. Due to Eisenhower’s role in the successful invasions of North Africa and Europe, he received many honors and awards from the Allies.

After his service in Europe, Eisenhower became the president of Columbia University, in 1948, and later the Supreme Commander of the North Atlantic Treaty Agreement (NATO) forces. Shortly after, Eisenhower was approached by the Republican Party, as a potential presidential candidate for the next election[3]. Since he had been a war hero during WWII, many saw Eisenhower as a leader that could ease the Cold War tensions between the United States and the Soviet Union.

While campaigning for the 1952 election, Eisenhower stated that he would sign over the Tideland titles to Texas, which President Harry Truman had denied in 1948[4]. With this announcement, Allan Shivers, the Governor of Texas, began campaigning for Eisenhower since his opponent, Adali Stevenson, opposed the title grant. Because of Eisenhower, a Republican, carrying Texas in the election, the Democratic Party in Texas became tensely divided afterwards. Despite the political tension, Eisenhower and Shivers became closely acquainted, due to their aligning political philosophies on states’ rights. The two exchanged many letters, planning golf trips, spending a weekend at Shivers estate, sending gifts, and anything that was not related to politics.         

 

State of the Union Speech 1956-01

Eisenhower discusses civil right issues the same year he begins to campaign for a second term as president 

State of the Union comments by cabinet members 1955-12-02

Eisenhower's cabinet memebrs of the White House give thier imput on civil rights issues, before Eisenhower makes his State of the Union address, in 1956.  

Eisenhower appointed Earl Warren, former governor of California, as the new chief justice of the Supreme Court, in 1954, due to their similar “philosophies on government” pertaining to states’ rights, but this turned out to be a misinterpretation by Eisenhower[5].” On May 17 of the same year, in the Brown vs. Board of Education case, the court ruled unanimously that “separate, but equal” was unconstitutional, therefore rejecting the “separate, but equal” doctrine that was ruled after Plessy vs. Ferguson (1897) case[6].  However, Eisenhower disagreed with the Brown decision, and would later characterize the appointment of Warren as “the biggest damfool mistake I ever made”[7] Also, a year prior his acquaintance, Shivers had similar feelings towards Brown and made it clear to Eisenhower, “I see in this unusual Supreme Court invitation an attempt to embarrass you and your Attorney General. There is nothing more local than the public school system”.[8]

Dwight D. Eisenhower