Franklin D. Roosevelt was the 32nd President of the United States. While being president he was trying to lead our country through a time of economic depression and total war. Franklin D. Roosevelt was one of the most important leaders of the 20th century. Alan Brinkley, the author of Franklin Delano Roosevelt, wrote this biography in order to show Roosevelt’s life from childhood to presidency and all the trials and tribulations that occurred. Brinkley wrote this book to be able to show Roosevelt’s life from when he was born to him leading our country through the war.
Not only just showing what happened in his life but also being able to show what he had to go through and what kind of decisions he had to make when running this country. This book was a great way to teach an audience about Roosevelt and was very effective in getting the point across. Brinkley used an immense amount of sources to be able to write this book. He used anywhere from other biographies to memoirs and diaries of the people who served with Roosevelt.
He was not writing this book in order to criticize what all Roosevelt did wrong, but to show the magnitude and importance of everything he did right, such as the reshaping of American Government to the successful leadership of the United States. The New York Times wrote the day after Roosevelt died, “It will honor him above all else because he had the vision to see clearly the supreme crisis of our times and the courage to meet that crisis boldly. Men will thank God on their knees, a hundred years from now, that Franklin D. Roosevelt was in the White House” (99).
This shows that not only was Franklin D. Roosevelt a great man he was also a great leader of our country. Brinkley did an amazing job with being able to show all of Roosevelt’s accomplishes and all the trials and tribulations he overcame during presidency and also during his life. Roosevelt was born into a very privileged family with his father James Roosevelt being extremely wealthy and his mother Sara Delano, being very wealthy herself as well. He went to Groton at fourteen years old granted he gradated doing very well academically, he went his whole four years there as a lonely outsider.
He entered Harvard in 1900 with a new outlook look on life and tried hard to make friends. Roosevelt found himself being attracted to his distant cousin Eleanor Roosevelt while attending Harvard. In 1905 he married Eleanor and they together had six children. Roosevelt attended Columbia Law School, although he did not meet all the requirements he passed his bar exams and started practicing law in New York. Later, Franklin had an affair with his wife’s social secretary Lucy Mercer. Eleanor discovered their relationship in 1918 by finding letters between the two of them.
Roosevelt served eight years as Assistant Secretary of the Navy in 1910 in New York. He was also governor of New York in 1928 and again in 1930. Roosevelt was paralyzed in both legs due to him having polio in 1921 ceasing him to be able to enjoy his favorite activities. Roosevelt would try to disguise his paralysis in public by wearing heavy leg braces to help him walk. In 1932 he was nominated for president with his opponent being Herbert Hoover. Winning the election he promised that he would conduct the war against the depression.
When winning presidency Roosevelt took on an immense amount of stress all at once. The world was in an incredible crisis due to the economy depression. Roosevelt tried and tried to steadily bring back this nation, with what was called the “hundred days” where he won a series of bills that began to reform the role of the federal government in the workings of the economy. Roosevelt had what was called “The New Deal” which was a series of economic programs that involved orders or laws passed by Congress in response to the Great Depression.
Roosevelt was reelected in 1936 as he campaigned on his idea of a New Deal. When Roosevelt was reelected World War II had already started. Japan had launched an invasion of Manchuria in 1922. Roosevelt began to get his country ready for war. In 1932 Hitler declared himself as the most powerful political person in Germany. By the spring of 1940 the war had spread quickly through Western Europe, with almost all of Europe being under complete Nazi control. Roosevelt had to lead our country through World War II.
Rebounding from the surprise of Pearl Harbor and winning almost every victory in Europe and the Pacific. With the war and Roosevelt being paralyzed he spend most of his days in the White House. Roosevelt tried to reconnect with his distant wife and tried to have a real marriage again, but Eleanor refused and spent most of her days traveling or in her home in Duchess County. Roosevelt began seeing his long lost mistress Lucy with meetings that took place for the most part outside the White House.
In January of 1945 Roosevelt met with Stalin and Churchill agreeing on the postwar occupation of Germany, which was going to be divided between the three leaders. Stalin was already ready to occupy Poland and there was no way Churchill and Roosevelt could stop him. When leaving Roosevelt hoped he could come to agreement with Stalin. In April of 1945 Roosevelt went on vacation with cousins and aids in Warm Springs, Georgia. Lucy Rutherford visited with an artist to paint Roosevelt when he complained of a “terrific headache” he collapsed and never regained consciousness, dying several hours later.
Brinkley was able to show Franklin D. Roosevelt’s life and all his trials and tribulations that he had to overcome. With everything from not making friends in college, to leading our country through World War II, this biography was a very effective way to teach an audience about Franklin D. Roosevelt and how great of a leader he was. Roosevelt was criticized for some of his decisions, but this biography was able to show how many important decisions he made and how great of a president he was.
Courtney from Study Moose
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