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Ratings; the Good, the Bad and the Ugly

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Ratings; The Good, the Bad and the Ugly

The fear of a communistic take over of American society slowly crept into the United States in the late 1940's. Relations between the U.S. and the Soviet Union (USSR) had chilled after World War II and in the U.S. there was fear that home grown communist and foreign spies were stealing top secret government information. The Country counted on President Harry Truman to make sure these nightmares never came true. To address the public's concerns Truman started a security program that would allow the government to unmask these spies and communists.

The House Committee on Un-American Activists launched an investigation of Hollywood screenwriters and directors (Miller Center). While the government searched for Communists in the entertainment industry, the public's worst fear was realized when a Whitaker Chambers came forward and indentified a Russian spy that was living in the White House. The House Committee on Un-American Activities launched an investigation against Alger Hiss and he was later convicted of lying under oath. Then Klaus Fuchs, along with several other men, were convicted of passing our atomic bomb secrets to the Soviet Union and what's even worse is the Soviet Union eventually was able to build a working atomic weapon from these secrets. Even with the foreign spies in prison or executed, nothing could put the people's trust back in the President with what took place next. Senator Joseph McCarthy stirred up American politics when he stated that the Department of State was overflowing with Communists. With officials working closest to Truman and in the government being convicted of numerous illegal activities, this era of McCarthyism sent the public into mass hysteria. Everyone working around the President was being investigated yet it was only Truman who was the center of the scandal and with the public watching his every move. According to Truman's final approval ratings, only thirty-two percent of the public approved of Truman's work in office, which meant that these scandals had ruined his presidency and chance of running for re-election.

One of the general indicators of how well a President is doing in the eyes of Americans is the state of the economy. When the U.S. experiences low unemployment, low gas prices, low inflation, good wages, and low unemployment, the American public is generally satisfied with the President's job performance. A good example of this was when President Dwight Eisenhower was in office and the U.S. economy exhibited all of these types of positive economic indicators. Under President Eisenhower, Americans relished an expanding economy and supported his perseverance in working for the greater good of the people. Eisenhower did this by expanding Social Security, increasing the minimum wage and by creating



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