Harry S. Truman Presidential Library & Museum

Constitutional amendments; Politicians

Longhand Note of President Harry S. Truman, ca. 1952. President's Secretary's Files - Longhand Notes.

[Undated, 1952]

Politics in our free country is "Government." The Xth (tenth) Amendment to the Constitution of the United States provides that the powers not delegated to the United States by the Constitution, nor prohibited by it to the States, are reserved to the States respectively, or to the people."

That last phrase implies that all powers of government under the Constitution of the United States come from the people, and unless the people delegate those powers to the execu-the Legislative and the Judicial branch of the Government then the powers of Government remain with the people. The implication is there too that the people may revoke granted powers by certain procedure [sic]. Hence politics is "the science and art of government." Under our Constitution the "art of government" is the art of understanding and working for the interest of the people.

The good word politics which really means the science of government has been abused in our time and has been given a definition meaning dishonest management to win an election for a party or a candidate. The use of the latter definition by newspapers and those who like to turn their noses up at every day people, has obscured the real meaning of the word politics.

A politician is a man who is interested in good government. There is a saying in the Senate that a Statesman is a dead Politician. A Statesman must be an honorable man and he must be a good politician in order to become a statesman under our form of government. If you will study the history of our country you'll find that our greatest presidents and congressional leaders have been the ones who have been vilified most by the current press. But history justifies the honorable politician when he works for the welfare of the country.

I would risk my reputation and my fortune with a professional politician sooner that I would with the banker or the business man or the publisher of a daily paper! More young men and women should fit themselves for politics and government.


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