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National Press Club Luncheon Speakers

Dwight D. Eisenhower, January 14, 1959

Image: Dwight D. Eisenhower and John V. Horner
Dwight D. Eisenhower (left) with National Press Club president John V. Horner (right), January 14, 1959. National Press Club Archives

President Dwight D. Eisenhower (1890-1969) answered questions at a National Press Club luncheon in January 1959, halfway into his second term in office during a time of political and diplomatic conflict. The first Republican president in 20 years, Eisenhower won his first election in 1952 espousing a “Middle Way” philosophy of moderation and limited government—somewhere between the “reactionary right” and the “radical left”—to attain goals of a peaceful world and prosperous nation. He sought to halt further expansion of social welfare programs created during the Great Depression that, he felt, threatened personal initiative, but also acknowledged the federal government’s responsibility to, in his words, “prevent or correct abuses springing from the unregulated practice of a private economy” and establish “some kind of security for individuals in a specialized and highly industrialized age.” While holding government responsible for maintaining “a solid floor that keeps all of us from falling into the pit of disaster,” Eisenhower cautioned a campaign crowd, “let’s not interfere with the incentive, the ambition, the right of any of you to build the most glorious structure on top of that floor that you can imagine.” ... More [PDF; 129 KB]

Timings (hh:mm:ss)

Introductions: 00:00-09:04
Q & A: 09:05-59:53

Topics of the Talk

  • U.S. Economy/Federal Taxes: 12:03-17:58
  • Teacher and Education Standards: 17:58-21:03
  • Civil Rights/Voting Rights/School Desegregation Legislation: 21:04-24:34
  • 1960 Presidential Election: 27:28-29:49
  • U.S./Soviet “Missile Gap”: 32:04-36:28
  • Russia and the Future of Germany: 38:19-43:34
  • U.S. and Soviet Approaches to the Future of Germany: 38:19-43:34
  • Communist China: 46:13-48:09
  • Reflections on World War II: 48:10-56:15
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  October 17, 2016
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