THE PRESIDENCY: Machine Triumph

There was still plenty of doubt about Harry Truman's political shrewdness in national politics, but at the congressional district level—and in his own Missouri stamping grounds—he had proved that he could still figure out where the power lay. His personally picked candidate for Congress in Missouri's Fifth District, a political novice named Enos Axtell, scored a decisive victory in the Democratic primary over Princeton-bred Representative Roger Slaughter, who had hacked away mercilessly at the Truman program in Congress.

Harry Truman's triumph was less significant than a defeat would have been. Had...

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