A FREEDOM TRAIN ?
The 1947 - 1949
Freedom Train was conceived as an opportunity to reflect on the
meaning of American citizenship at a time when the nation was finding
a new and central role in world affairs. Americans had experienced
a decade of pre-war economic Depression. They made sacrifices in
foreign lands throughout World War II. They were entering an age
of post-war prosperity with opportunities unknown in all of human
history. And they were unsure of the reassurances at the sudden
dawn of the nuclear age and Soviet expansion into countries just
liberated from fascist oppression in Europe and Asia.
Harry Truman in the lead, some in the national government believed
Americans should pause and reflect, to experience a "rededication"
to the principles that founded their country.
loved trains, and his use of the "whistle stop" campaign train still
epitomizes this icon of the electoral process. Attorney General
Tom Clark and his staff proposed a train that would travel to communities
in every state of the nation, taking with it dozens of "documents
they hoped, would enable Americans to rediscover for themselves
just how hard-won their freedoms were. Clearly, they hoped to enable
personal reconciliations with the still-fresh sacrifices and human
costs of war, and to impart a sense of meaning and worth to those
Text by Mr.
to Freedom Train...