CHAPTER 28. PRESIDENT GEORGE BUSH OF GREENWICH

 

George Bush was Vice-president of the United States under President Ronald Reagan, who served two terms in the presidency (from 1981 to 1989). The American electorate chose Bush for the presidency in 1988. The themes of the Reagan-Bush era were very popular and consisted of various anti-welfare state and anti-Great Society feelings. The nation experienced good economic times under President Reagan, but this was purchased at the price of considerable growth in the national debt. Subsequent economic recession hurt the popularity of President Bush. This is somewhat reminiscent of the economic difficulties of President Martin van Buren with the depression of 1837 following the highly popular, but fiscally questionable, policies of President Andrew Jackson.

George Herbert Walker Bush (his mother could not make up her mind which of her father's names to use when naming her son) was born at Milton, Massachusetts in 1924. His father, Prescott Bush, worked in the investment banking house of W. A. Harriman, later becoming Brown Brothers, Harriman. (His father-in-law, George Herbert Walker, was the head of the company.) Prescott Bush invested in many companies such as Pan American Airways and Dresser Industries, and joined their boards.

At a young age George moved with his family to Greenwich, Connecticut. He attended the Greenwich Country Day School. In 1936 he attended Phillips Academy, one of the nation's largest all-male college preparatory schools, located in Andover, Massachusetts. Following his graduation he joined the United States Navy, 1942 to 1945. He became in the spring of 1944 the youngest pilot in the navy. He saw action in the attack on the Mariana Islands in the Pacific, his plane being shot down by enemy fire. Bush lost a second plane over Chichi Jima in the Bonin Islands about 600 miles south of Tokyo.

Bush married Barbara Pierce at the beginning of the year 1945. He then attended Yale University from 1945 to 1948. Following graduation he worked as a businessman in the Texas oil industry with his father's Dresser Industries. Becoming involved in politics he served in the United States House of Representatives from 1967 to 1970. Other jobs he held were U.S. ambassador to the United Nations (1970-1973); chairman of the Republican National Committee (1973); U.S. ambassador to China (1974); director of the Central Intelligence Agency (1975-1980); and, finally, Vice-president of the United States (1981-1989).

Greenwich, CT

This brown-shingled house sitting on a couple of acres of land is the childhood home of the future president of the United States. George grew up with three brothers and one sister. His uncles called his father "Pop," and they soon began calling George "Little Pop," subsequently shortened to "Poppy." This nickname stuck with George all the way to the beginning of his adult life. He was very close to his older brother, Prescott, Jr.

Greenwich Country Day School
Greenwich, CT

All the Bush children attended this school. His father let him attend school one year early because George missed his older brother, Prescott, so much. He was a good student and a better athlete. He especially like baseball.

The family spent every summer vacation at their house in Kennebunkport on the coast of Maine. The town was a popular summer resort for the wealthy of Boston, New York City, Philadelphia, and other east coast cities.

Greenwich Country Club
Greenwich, CT

At a "Get Together" dance at the Greenwich Country Club during the Christmas holiday, 1941, George virtually fell in love at first sight with Barbara Pierce. Her father, Marvin Pierce, chaired the McCall Corporation, which published women's magazines. The family lived in the town south of Greenwich, Rye, New York, in Westchester County. She was a student at Ashley, another prep school.

 

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