Truman faced a tremendous outcry from the press and the general population. Many saw the issue as a symbol of his "blustery presidential style, his hardheadedness, his unbending certainty that he was right." The greater the opposition to his plan, the harder he worked to defend it. When the job was finished, Truman predicted, everyone would like it.
See the letters and political cartoons below for
a sample of the public and press response
to Truman's balcony plan.
Letter 1 Letter 2 Letter 3 Letter 4
Cartoon 1 Cartoon 2 Cartoon 3 Cartoon 4
See Roy Keeland's unit for more
information on teaching with political cartoons.
In the end, Truman got his balcony. He didn't need to ask Congress for the estimated $15,000. Being practical, he had saved money from his household account. In March 1948, the balcony was completed at a total cost of $16,050.74. Truman was proud of it, and over time, the furor died down. Many experts on historical architecture actually praised the addition and most people agreed that it made the White House look even better than before.
The President's House: A History, Vol. II, by William Seale, The White House Historical Association, Washington, D.C., 1986.
The White House and Its Thirty-Four Families, by Amy La Follette Jensen, McGraw-Hill Book Company, 1965.