Top Five Masonic Presidents: Harry S. Truman

Born on May 8, 1884, in Lamar, Missouri, to John and Martha Truman, Harry S. Truman grew up in Independence, Missouri. Truman attended Independence High School and graduated in 1901, his highest level of education. He joined the Missouri National Guard in 1905 and served in a Kansas City based artillery battery until 1911. When the United States entered the first World War he re-enlisted and was promoted to First Lieutenant before his deployment to France. In July of 1918 he was promoted to the rank of Captain and assumed command of Battery D, 129th Field Artillery, 60th Artillery Brigade, 35th Division. Truman lead the Battery through many victories in World War I until he was discharged as a Major in May 1919.
 
Upon returning home, Brother Truman’s first order of business was to marry Bess Wallace, the mother of his only child; Mary Margaret Truman. Between 1919 and 1934, Bro. Truman owned a haberdashery and served as a Judge for Jackson county. In 1934, he was elected U.S. Senator from Missouri and he won reelection in 1940. During his time in the Senate he made a name for himself as the chairman of a special committee that investigated the national defense program. On November 7, 1944, he was elected Vice President on a ticket with Franklin D. Roosevelt. He served as Vice President for 82 days before the death of President Roosevelt.
 
President Truman’s first term in office was highlighted by the end of the Second World War and several new American agencies. Truman signed the National Security Act of 1947, which created the Department of Defense, the U.S. Air Force and the CIA. On an international level, Truman became known for his strong stand against the spread of Communism and the recognition of Israel as a state. After winning a surprising reelection against Thomas E. Dewey in 1948, the second inauguration of President Truman was the first to ever be televised nationally. His second term was far less favorable in terms of public opinion. It saw an escalation in the Cold War and an increase in steel and coal strikes. However, it was not without it out positives. Truman’s second term saw immense progress in the fight for Civil Rights. Truman enacted Executive Order 9981 which desegregated the Armed forces, and Executive Order 9980 which made it illegal to discriminate civil service positions based on race.
 
Harry Truman first petitioned Belton Lodge No. 450 in Grandview, MO, in December of 1908 at the age of 24. On February 9, 1909, he was elected to the lodge and received his first degree that night. He was passed on March 9 and raised on March 18, 1909. In 1911 he and several other members of Belton Lodge broke off to form Grandview Lodge No. 618, where Truman served as the first Master. During the time of his second campaign for Senator, the Grand Lodge elected Bro. Truman to the office of Grand Master. While Grand Master, Congress was almost always in session but Truman still found time to visit 19 Missouri lodges, both conferences for District Deputies, visit two other jurisdictions, and much more. President Truman also raised more than 30 brethren during his time as President. However, he did so under the condition that it never be made public that he did so. He took his Scottish Rite degrees in Kansas City on January 24, March 27, 30 and 31 in 1917 and he received his 33° while President on October 19, 1945.

Most Worshipful Truman had an eventful term as President and an eventful life, full of far more information than what could be packed into this article. To read more about him, click here. To read about our #4 President, click here!


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