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Picture of Dwight David Eisenhower
[Library of Congress]


34th President (1953-1961)

Biographical Data
Religious Views
References, Links, & Further Reading

Education: U.S. Military Academy, West Point

Occupation: soldier

Political Affiliation: Republican

Religious Affiliation: Presbyterian

Summary of Religious Views:

Eisenhower's family background was Mennonite (River Brethren), and he was raised in an intensely religious home environment. There are stories in circulation that when Eisenhower, as youth, suffered a life-threatening infection, the family prayed day and night over him, but family members insist such stories are greatly exaggerated, and that the overall level of prayer did not appreciably increase. Eisenhower himself called such accounts "ridiculous."
Eisenhower was the first president to officially join a church while in office: on 1 February 1953, he became a member of the National Presbyterian Church.

Views on Religion & Politics:

The words "under God" were added to the Pledge of Allegiance during the Eisenhower administration.


"When we came to that turning point in history, when we intended to establish a government for free men and a Declaration and Constitution to make it last, in order to explain such a system we had to say: "We hold that all men are endowed by their Creator."
"In one sentence we established that every free government is imbedded soundly in a deeply-felt religious faith or it makes no sense. Today if we recall those things and if, in that sense, we can back off from our problems and depend upon a power greater than ourselves, I believe that we begin to draw these problems into focus.
"As Benjamin Franklin said at one time during the course of the stormy consultation at the Constitutional Convention, because he sensed that the convention was on the point of breaking up: "Gentlemen, I suggest that we have a word of prayer." And strangely enough, after a bit of prayer the problems began to smooth out and the convention moved to the great triumph that we enjoy today--the writing of our Constitution.
"Today I think that prayer is just simply a necessity, because by prayer I believe we mean an effort to get in touch with the Infinite. We know that even our prayers are imperfect. Even our supplications are imperfect. Of course they are. We are imperfect human beings. But if we can back off from those problems and make the effort, then there is something that ties us all together. We have begun in our grasp of that basis of understanding, which is that all free government is firmly founded in a deeply-felt religious faith." -- Remarks at the Dedicatory Prayer Breakfast of the International Christian Leadership, 5 February 1953

"In this way we are reaffirming the transcendence of religious faith in America's heritage and future; in this way we shall constantly strengthen those spiritual weapons which forever will be our country's most powerful resource, in peace or in war." -- Flag Day speech, signing bill authorizing addition of the words "under God" to the Pledge of Allegiance, 14 June 1954

Q. Hazel Markel, Mutual Broadcasting System: "Mr. President, I have a biographical question. I think it is pretty generally known that your parents were deeply religious, and I think a number of articles which have been written on your family have stated that they were very strong pacifists, and some other statements have been made that both of them objected to your being a soldier. I interviewed a gentleman yesterday who said that you had corrected him on that; that your father had not objected at all, that it was only your mother who had objected. I wonder if that is true, if you care to comment, and also if she finally was reconciled to it."
THE PRESIDENT: "Well, of all the kinds of questions that I never expected to go into here--[laughter]--would be to go back that far into my family life.
"All such things are normally exaggerated, except the one that they were deeply religious people. They were also rebels in religion. They would join here, and go out to some other place very soon. They had their own religion. It is true that my mother finally became a member of an organization which had definitely pacifistic tenets in its program; but I think that it would be enough to say about my father's belligerency that he was Pennsylvania Dutch and he had all the temper of a Pennsylvania Dutchman; there was nothing pacifist about him. [Laughter]
"I have also heard that my mother objected strenuously to my going to West Point. I know that she even at that time believed that the world didn't have to go to war, believed it very passionately; but she never said one single word to me." -- News Conference, 7 July 1954

"Well, of course we do have this in our Constitution: the church and the state are not to be brought together; therefore there have been all sorts of rulings that affect the teaching of religion in school. However, I have always felt that the history of religion ought to be taught, because as a historical fact religion has had the effect with us of giving us the undergirding for our whole system of civilization." -- Television Broadcast: "The People Ask the President", 12 October 1956

References, Links, & Further Reading: Books, Articles, Links


Works by Dwight David Eisenhower

At Ease: Stories I Tell to Friends, Doubleday, 1967
Crusade in Europe, 1948; reprint, Da Capo, 1977
ed. by Robert H. Ferrell, Eisenhower Diaries, W.W. Norton 1981
ed. by Rudolph L. Trevenfels, Eisenhower Speaks: A Selection of His Speeches and Messages, Farrar, Straus, 1948
Mandate for Change, Doubleday, 1963
ed. by Alfred D. Chandler, Jr., Stephen E. Ambrose, et al., The Papers of Dwight David Eisenhower, 21 vols., Johns Hopkins Univ. Press, 1970-1980
Waging Peace, 1956-1961; The White House Years, Doubleday, 1965


Sherman Adams, Firsthand Report: The Story of the Eisenhower Administration, 1961; reprint, Greenwood Press, 1974
Craig Allen, Eisenhower and the Mass Media: Peace, Prosperity, and Prime-Time TV, Univ. of North Carolina Press, 1993
Stephen E. Ambrose, Eisenhower: Soldier and President, Simon & Schuster, 1983-1984
Stephen E. Ambrose, Eisenhower and Berlin, 1945: The Decision to Halt at the Elbe, W.W. Norton, 1967
Stephen E. Ambrose, The Supreme Commander: The War Years of Dwight D. Eisenhower, Doubleday, 1970
Michael R. Beschloss, Mayday: Eisenhower, Khrushchev and the U-2 Affair, Harper, 1987
Melanie Billings-Yun, Decision Against War: Eisenhower and Dien Bien Phu 1954, Columbia Univ. Press, 1988
Peirse Brendon, Ike: His Life and Times, Harper, 1986
Jeff Broadwater, Eisenhower and the Anti-Communist Crusade, Univ. of North Carolina Press, 1992
Carlo D'Este, Eisenhower: A Soldier's Life, Henry Holt & Company, 2002
Robert A. Divine, Eisenhower and the Cold War, Oxford Univ. Press, 1981
David Eisenhower, Eisenhower at War 1943-1945, Random House, 1986
ed. by Carol B. Fitzgerald, Dwight D. Eisenhower, 2 vols., Meckler Pub., 1989
Fred Greenstein, The Hidden-Hand Presidency: Eisenhower as Leader, Basic Books, 1982
Philip G. Henderson, Managing the Presidency: The Eisenhower Legacy-From Kennedy to Reagan (Transforming American Politics), Westview Press, 1988
Audrey R. Kahn and George Kahin, Subversion as Foreign Policy: The Secret Eisenhower and Dulles Debacle in Indonesia, New Press, 1995
Bela Kornitzer, The Great American Heritage: the Story of the Five Eisenhower Brothers , Farrar, Straus, and Cudahy, 1955
Clarence G. Lasby, Eisenhower's Heart Attack: How Ike Beat Heart Disease and Held on to the Presidency, Univ. Press of Kansas, 1997
R. Alton Lee, Dwight D. Eisenhower Soldier and Statesman, Nelson-Hall, 1981
R. Alton Lee, Eisenhower and Landrum-Griffin: A Study in Labor-Management Politics, Univ. Press of Kentucky, 1989
Kevin McCann, Man from Abilene, Doubleday, 1952
ed. by Richard A. Melanson and David Mayer, Reevaluating Eisenhower: American Foreign Policy in the Fifties, Univ. of Illinois Press, 1987
Chester J. Pach and Elmo Richardson, Presidency of Dwight D. Eisenhower (American Presidency Series), Univ. Press of Kansas, 1991
William B. Pickett, Dwight David Eisenhower and American Power (American Biographical History Series), Harlan Davidson, 1995
Andrew Polsky, The Eisenhower Presidency: Lessons for the Twenty-First Century, Lexington Books, 2015
Peter J. Roman, Eisenhower and the Missile Gap (Cornell Studies in Security Affairs), Cornell Univ. Press, 1995
E. K. Sixsmith, Eisenhower as Military Commander (Military Commander Series), Scarborough House, 1983
Jean Edward Smith, Eisenhower in War and Peace, Random House, 2012
Evan Thomas, Ike's Bluff: President Eisenhower's Secret Battle to Save the World, Little, Brown and Company, 2012
ed. by Shirley Anne Warshaw, Re-examining the Eisenhower Presidency, Greenwood, 1993



Works by Dwight David Eisenhower

Papers of Dwight D. Eisenhower (Avalon Project -- Yale Law School)
Dwight D. Eisenhower: Historic Speeches (Presidential Rhetoric)
Dwight D. Eisenhower: Selected Works (Humanities Web)
Document Library (TeachingAmericanHistory.org)
First Inaugural Address (American Rhetoric)
First Inaugural Address (AMDOCS)
First Inaugural Address (Bartleby)
Dwight D. Eisenhower -- From his 1953 inaugural address (Vincent Voice Library -- Michigan State University Libraries)
Second Inaugural Address (AMDOCS)
Second Inaugural Address (Bartleby)
State of the Union, 1954 (AMDOCS)
State of the Union, 1955 (AMDOCS)
State of the Union, 1956 (AMDOCS)
State of the Union, 1957 (AMDOCS)
State of the Union, 1958 (AMDOCS)
State of the Union, 1959 (AMDOCS)
State of the Union, 1960 (AMDOCS)
Farewell Address (American Rhetoric)
Atoms for Peace -- 8 December 1953, United Nations General Assembly (American Rhetoric)
The Chance for Peace -- Washington, D.C., 16 April 1953
Federal Court Orders Must Be Upheld -- 24 September 1957
Order of the Day -- 6 June 1944 (American Rhetoric)
Remarks of the President at the 150th Anniversary Dinner of the Coast and Geodetic Survey, Statler Hotel, Washington, D.C., February 5, 1957 (NOAA History)

Biographical Sites

Dwight David Eisenhower [alternate site] (POTUS)
Dwight D. Eisenhower (White House)
Dwight D. Eisenhower (USA Presidents)
Dwight Eisenhower (American President)
Eisenhower (The American Experience -- PBS)
Eisenhower Center
Dwight D. Eisenhower Library
Dwight David Eisenhower: The Centennial (U.S. Army Center of Military History)
Dwight David Eisenhower (Spartacus Encyclopedia)
Eisenhower (Eisenhower Foundation)
Eisenhower, Dwight David (Handbook of Texas Online)
Life Portrait of Dwight D. Eisenhower (C-SPAN)
Dwight D. Eisenhower (Character Above All -- PBS)
Eisenhower Years, 1953-1961 (Historical Text Archive)
Dwight Eisenhower, President, 1953-1961 (From Roosevelt to Bush: The American Presidency: Transformation and Change -- lecture by Vernon Bogdanor, Gresham College)
President Eisenhower's Changing Search for Peace (Jerome B. Wiesner, From A Random Walk Through the 20th Century)
Dwight Eisenhower (Medical History of the Presidents of the United States)
Why President Eisenhower Hid His Jehovah's Witness Upbringing, by Jerry Bergman

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