The name Franklyn D. Roosevelt is one that rings a bell among Americans. To many, he was one of the greatest presidents to ever lead the greatest nation on earth. He came from the Roosevelt family which was very wealthy. His intervention during the great depression was to help people to believe that only the government could offer such.
People believe that FDR was one of the most important presidents in the first part of the 20th century and some believe he was the most important. FDR holds a unique record of serving three full terms in office while he got elected for a fourth. He came in as president at a time when the economy was nothing to write home about. He is also on record to have to lead the country into war at a time when it was not prepared for such.
Was FDR a good president?
FDR was one of the best presidents America ever produced. This belief was about his cult following rather than the policies he enacted and implemented. Roosevelt came into office in the year 1933 at a time when America was battling with the great depression. His policies were to assist the nation’s economy to recover fast. Many of these policies got viewed as anti-constitution and as such, they got struck out. In a big to push through these policies, Roosevelt packed the Supreme Court bench with people he felt would be more sympathetic to his cause. This move ended a failure.
He was a rather charismatic leader who chaperoned America through the dangerous depression and the war. He was not without his flaws though.
FDR: The Road To Greatness
Franklin D. Roosevelt was serving his second term as the governor of the state of New York when the mantle of leadership fell on him as the president of America. He got elected as the 32nd president of America back in 1932. This was at a time when the country was deep in a mess. America was grappling with the great depression among other issues. He soon took steps aimed at restoring public confidence by declaring a holiday and addressing the public through a series of media.
He got re-elected with wide margins in 1936, 1940 and 1944. He was the man in charge when America routed Germany and its allies in the Second World War. He was at the forefront in the alliance with the British and Soviet Union which lead to the creation of the United Nations. He is on record the only American president elected a record four times.
What Was His Early Life Like?
FDR was born on the 30th of January 1882 in New York as the only child of very rich parents James and Sara D Roosevelt. He received his education through the help of private tutors and elite institutions. He grew up admiring his cousin Theodore Roosevelt who got elected as the president of the United States in 1901. He got married to Eleanor Roosevelt who was his distant cousin in 1905 and they had a daughter and five sons. FDR got credited with encouraging him to appoint more women in federal positions. It is also believed that she was the brain behind the appointment of more black people in federal positions.
FDR graduated from the Colombia Law School and served several years as a clerk in one of the top firms in Wall Street. The year 1910 saw his entrance into the world of politics with a state senate seat in a Republican-dominated district. This was even though he was a Democratic candidate. The year 1913, saw the then-president Woodrow Wilson appointed as the Assistant Secretary of the Navy. He held this position for about 7 years with trips to Europe during the First World War.
How Did FDR Become President?
Coming on the back of his re-election as the governor of New-York in 1930, FDR became the front-line aspirant for the Democratic ticket for president. He went to Chicago to accept the nomination by himself thus breaking a long-standing tradition. In the general elections, FDR defeated his opponent who was the incumbent president by a wide margin. This may have been the result of the people towards Hoover who was a symbol of the great depression.
By the time he was sworn in as president, the country was at a point where the depression had lead to 13 million unemployed people. He began his reign as president by ordering the closure of banks for several days in a bid to force Congress to pass the needed reforms.
What Was Roosevelt’s Style Of Leadership?
Roosevelt enjoyed cult-like follower-ship while he was the president of America. During his early days as president, he began holding press conferences while also addressing the people on the radio. His first broadcast on radio saw over 60 million people glued to the radio. This singular act went on to increase the confidence levels of the American people and as such prevented a collapse of the banking sector. By the time the Emergency Banking Relief Act got passed, 70 percent of the banks got re-opened within a week.
What Role Did FDR Play In The Second World War?
FDR had made known his views about the hard-line regimes that existed in Japan, Germany, and Italy as far back as 1937. At the break-out of the Second World War, he called for a special session with Congress to review the neutrality stance of the country on international matters. This saw the country selling arms to France and Britain.
The end of June 1940 saw France captured by Germany and this made Roosevelt convince Congress to give more support to the U.K. His support for Britain saw him pass the Lend-Lease-Act in 1941 and this saw him meeting Winston Churchill on a battleship. It was in this meeting that the four freedoms upon which the new world would get founded got created. These Freedoms included the freedom of religion, freedom of speech, freedom and from fear and freedom from want.
On the day after Japan bombed Pearl Harbor, Roosevelt came before a joint session of Congress and made a declaration of war against Japan. He was at the forefront of the war with his constant moves to form strong alliances with the leaders of Britain and the Soviet Union.
Fun Facts About Franklin D. Roosevelt
Aside from being one of the best presidents America ever had, several fun facts make him rather interesting.
1. He had no love for the law
Upon graduation from Harvard, FDR proceeded to the Columbia Law School. There he failed at civil procedure and contracts, and this made him take up classes during the summer. It is on record that he didn’t even wait to get his degree. He soon landed a job with Carter Ledyard and Milburn via family connections. He never quite made a mark at the law firm as he instead took up a strong interest in politics.
His family origins soon got him a connection to democratic leaders and it was these leaders that supported his move to become a state Senator.
2. He remains the longest-serving president
Except for a constitutional amendment that occurs, FDR remains the longest-serving president in American History. The 22nd Amendment made sure that no one apart from him could run for more than 2 terms of four years.
3. He was relative to his wife
As stated earlier, Roosevelt was an only child that had roots that were traceable to the Mayflower. He spent his early days in New York before he attended one of the best boarding schools in Massachusetts. He later went on to Harvard where he started dating the elegant Anna who was also a Roosevelt. She was his fifth cousin who was also the niece to his fifth cousin who was then the American president. It was Theodore that gave Eleanor away instead of her late father.
4. He approved the imprisonment of Japanese-Americans
The Anti-Japanese era was at its peak soon after the attack by the Japanese on Pearl Habor. In a state like California for instance, the Governor and other officials demanded the removal of the Japanese from among them. This was to avert any future case of espionage. In 1942, Roosevelt signed an executive order that detailed the places some categories of people could get excluded. This saw many Japanese moved to various camps and their properties sold.
5. He was the first president on a plane
During a time when traveling by air was risky. Roosevelt took a flight to Chicago to accept his nomination as the Democratic presidential flag bearer. He was also the first president to leave the country during a time of war.
FDR wasn’t without his failings, but he was a president who sought to effect positive changes during a rather complicated time. His efforts during the great depression and the World War earned him a place in the history books as one of the greatest presidents to ever rule America.