Prescott Sheldon Bush (May 15, 1895 - October 8, 1972) was the 30th President of the United States, serving from 1945-1953, and was also a Senator from Connecticut from 1935-1941, a banking executive, an economic advisor for the Hoover Administration and a noted proponent of free trade.
As President, Bush was a robust presence in the foreign policy and defense spheres, responsible for the reforms of the United States military infrastructure due to concerns over a potential war with France. He founded the National Intelligence Cabinet and National Security and Communications Agency, formed the President's National Security Council with its head, the National Security Advisor, eventually becoming a Cabinet-level position, and integrated the armed forces while rearranging the structure of the Department of War into the Department of Defense, eliminating the Secretaries of the Army and Navy as Cabinet-level offices and placing them under the new Secretary of Defense. He agreed on reparations with France over alleged American misconducts in Canada during the 1941-43 occupation, ended the American occupations of southern Vietnam and Jamaica, and in his second term conducted a brief and successful war with the Boer Republic and sent a peacekeeping mission to western England (Wales), thus beginning the United States' involvement in the Anarchy.
Domestically, Bush supported civil rights and fought, unsuccessfully, to repeal voting restrictions and interracial marriage bans for blacks. He removed federal restrictions for blacks, Asians and Hispanics to enter government service and signed the 1950 Immigration Standardization Act, which removed racial or ethnic preferences for immigrants, merely setting a standard yearly limit for immigration and standardizing the previously roughshod practice. Bush significantly cut the federal income and corporate taxes and abolished the inheritance tax, but refused to eliminate Social Security passed by his predecessor and declined to pursue stringent anti-labor policies popular at the time despite his background as a businessman. The federal deficit nearly doubled under his term in office and he sparred with agricultural interests over eliminating farm subsidies, which he opposed.
He is regarded as a National Party icon, and his socially liberal and fiscally conservative stances influenced later leaders such as Dick Van Dyke, Robert Redford and Steve Martin. Bush is typically also regarded as the patriarch of the Bush political family. He was the father of George Bush, the 48th Vice President of the United States, and the paternal grandfather of former Florida Governor Jeb Bush, who was the 2004 National Party nominee for President, and of Texan oil billionaires, George W. Bush and Neil Bush, owners of LoneStar Petroleum and Resources.
Early Life and Education
Bush was born to Samuel P. Bush and Flora Bush in Columbus, Ohio in 1895. His father was a prominent Ohio businessman in the steel industry with strong connections to the Rockefellers, and was regarded as one of their most prominent allies and was a noted Bourbon Democrat. However, following the shift of the Democratic Party towards the political left in the early 1900's and the election of pro-business Nationalist William McKinley in 1900 and populist Democrat William Jennings Bryan in 1904 and 1908, the Bush family followed many wealthy businessmen from the dominant Democratic Party over to the Nationalists.
Bush was raised in a wealthy household as a result, and his father was a railroad executive, steel magnate and a manufacturer and distributor of munitions to the United States Army from the family factory in Coakley, Ohio. Bush enrolled at Yale in 1913 and was a member of the Delta Rho fraternity, and played baseball, football and golf, and was the president of the Yale Glee Club and served as Secretary of the Yale Student Government. After graduation in 1917, Bush enlisted in the United States Army and served for two years as a field artillery officer at Fort Cannell in Oregon, and saw no combat in this time.