In Truman, David McCullough asks, "Was Harry Truman an ordinary provincial American sadly miscast in the presidency? Or was he a man of above average, even exceptional qualities and character, who had the makings of greatness?" I believe Harry Truman was a man of exceptional qualities and character, who had the potential for greatness from a very young age.
Harry Truman was a Scott-Irish Baptist, just like most of the other families in Missouri. Born to Martha Ellen Young and John Anderson Truman in 1884, Harry came from a line of frontier settlers on both sides and they were exceptionally wealthy by the time Harry was born. Harry was very well taken care of and had nothing but positive role models from the very beginning of his life. His mother taught him how to read by the age of four and his father showed him determination and the will to keep going no matter how hard things got.
Harry had a loving family, all the food he could imagine on his families farm, books to read, and an exceptional amount of land to play on. He had a thirst for learning from the very start. He was a respectable, likeable, observant little boy that loved to read. Harry Truman has said that he had the happiest childhood ever. He was respected for his knowledge and everyone could see his potential from a young age.
Although he had an amazing childhood, it quickly came to an end and his manhood began when his family went bankrupt in 1901. Harry who graduated from high school could not attend college due to his families finances. Instead, he went to work to help his family. Harry was never into farming but he quit his job and worked on the farm with his father. Despite the fact that everyone doubted him, Harry still persevered at farming. Through the trials and tribulations Harry showed his devotion to his family by quitting his job and helping on the farm. Although he was legally blind in his left eye, Harry enlisted in the National Guard during World War I.