Sources of Freedom Exercises

This chapter concentrates on the history of the early Cold War period and the Truman administration. The chapter opens with the national tour of the Freedom Train, which celebrated the freedom of America in contrast to the tyranny of Hitler. The chapter continues by explaining the origins of the Cold War, the roots of containment as outlined by George Kennan and implemented through the Truman Doctrine, Marshall Plan, Berlin Airlift, and Korean War. Many critics, including Walter Lippmann, questioned the wisdom of viewing the Cold War through the narrow lens of "free versus slave."

Next, freedom and the Cold War are explored by comparing freedom with totalitarianism. The quest for an international human rights movement begins with the United Nation’s Universal Declaration of Human Rights, a document that the United States has still not completely ratified. Truman’s domestic policy, the Fair Deal, is an attempt to continue the expansion of government under the New Deal. Truman wished to extend rights to labor and blacks, as well as create a comprehensive national health insurance and housing plans. Most of Truman’s agenda was stopped by the Republican resurgence led by Senator Taft. The Democratic Party was disrupted with the Dixiecrat revolt and Henry Wallace’s Progressive Party, but Truman was still able to steal the 1948 election away from the Republican Thomas Dewey.

The chapter concludes with the anticommunist crusade, looking at the HUAC investigations, the arrest of the Rosenbergs, and the rise of Senator Joseph McCarthy. The loyalty of every American came under suspicion during the Red Scare. As such, critics such as historian Henry Steele Commager spoke out against the blatant violations of the First Amendment. His article "Who is Loyal to America?" is highlighted in Voices of Freedom.

Connect to Sources of Freedom: