A Public Man

Truman, Harry S. 1954-06-14

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And now, This I Believe, the living philosophies of thoughtful men and women, presented in the hope they may strengthen your beliefs so that your life may be richer, fuller, happier. Here is Edward R. Murrow.
This I Believe. Former President Harry S. Truman has been railroad man, bank clerk, farmer, artillery officer, storekeeper, judge, senator, and Vice President. On April 12, 1945, he was thrust into the immense responsibility of guiding his country through to victory in war. For almost eight years, he was president of the United States, leading the world in efforts to secure peace. It is my privilege to bring you the former President of the United States, Harry S. Truman.
I believe in a moral code based on the Ten Commandments found in the 20th chapter of Exodus, and on the fifth, sixth, and seventh chapters of the Gospel according to St. Matthew, which is the Sermon on the Mount. I believe that a man ought to live by those precepts, and if followed, it will enable him to do right. I don't know whether I have followed these precepts or not, but I have tried.
I believe that the fundamental basis for a happy life with family and friends is to treat others as you would like to be treated, speak truthfully, act honorably, and keep commitments to the letter.
In public life I have always believed that right will prevail. It has been my policy to obtain the facts--all the facts possible--then to make the decision in the public interest and to carry it out.
If the facts justify the decision at the time it is made, it will always be right. A public man should not worry constantly about the verdict of history or what future generations will say about him. He must live in the present; make his decisions for the right on the facts as he sees them, and history will take care of itself.
I believe a public man must know the history and the background of his state and his nation to enable him to come more nearly to a proper decision in the public interest. In my opinion, a man in public life must think always of the public welfare. He must be careful not to mix his private and personal interests with his public actions.
The ethics of a public man must be unimpeachable. He must learn to reject unwise or imprudent requests from friends and associates without losing their friendship or loyalty.
I believe that our Bill of Rights must be implemented in factÐthat it is the duty of every government--state, local, or federal--to preserve the rights of the individual.
I believe that a civil rights program, as we must practice it today, involves not so much the protection of the people against the government, but the protection of the people by the government. And for this reason we must make the federal government a friendly, vigilant defender of the rights and equalities of all Americans; and that every man should be free to live his life as he wishes. He should
be limited only by his responsibility to his fellow man.
I believe that we should remove the last barriers which stand between millions of our people and their birthright. There can be no justifiable reason for discrimination because of ancestry, or religion, or race, or color.
I believe that to inspire the people of the world whose freedom is in jeopardy, and to restore hope to those who have already lost their civil liberties, we must correct the remaining imperfections in our own democracy.
We know the way--we only need the will.
Those were the personal beliefs of Harry S. Truman. And here's news: a brand new This I Believe book with 100 new beliefs now at your bookstore. Of these 100 new beliefs, 80 are from living men and women from all walks of life, 20 are the beliefs of immortals, the 20 men and women selected from all history whose beliefs would most interest and help you. The world's leading biographer of each immortal has written his belief from his own writings and sayings, forward by Edward R. Murrow. For yourself and for a gift, get Volume Two, the new book This I Believe.
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