In the 1948 election, Thomas E. Dewey was projected to trounce President Harry S. Truman by a wide margin. Dewey was then the Governor of New York, and was considered stiff and pompous, "...the only man who could strut sitting down," some said. None the less, the polls were predicting a landslide in his favor.
The Chicago Tribune would be the first to report it in their early edition, with the famous headline, "Dewey Defeats Truman." Instead Truman won by more than two million popular and 114 electoral votes.
It's 6:45 p.m. You're tired from a long day at work, and have just finished throwing something together for a quick dinner when the phone rings. It could be a telemarketer? A scam?
Or it could be Gallup Polls. Meet Ed Dubas. He works at the Gallup call center in Omaha, Nebraska, making polling phone calls for various organizations. A former used car salesman, Ed has been their best interviewer in the world for five years. He loves what he does, despite the hang-ups and four letter words. For him working for Gallup is about 'documenting the will of the people.' Gallup is especially well known for the quality of their political polls.
In 1776, some of the founding fathers borrowed money from France and the Netherlands to help fund the American Revolution. We owed $43 million by January 1, 1783. Congress voted to raise taxes, as well as to assume some public debt.
In 1790, with a debt estimated at $77.1 million, interest-bearing bonds were issued and the government established its good credit. Alexander Hamilton became our first Secretary of the Treasury. He helped design the strong centralized funding of the United States, including tariffs and taxes. The Louisiana Purchase cost $15 million, at just 4 cents per acre, but it derailed efforts to pay down the debt at that time.
With the debate in Denver and the presidential elections coming soon, children might be interested in learning more about the presidency, life in the White House, and the election process. Here are some recommended fiction and nonfiction books and websites for a variety of ages. Read them together or give them to your child for independent reading and then start a discussion about the government.