Franklin Delano Roosevelt became our thirty-second President in one of the most critical times in the history of the United States since the Civil War. Born to wealth, FDR held a sense of social importance at an early age. This attribute would soon become an important part of his political career. He was also faced with the despair of a devastating disease. Roosevelt was forced to view himself in a different perspective, however he took his illness and turned it into a way of helping others that were stricken with the same misfortune.
This showed tremendous integrity in Roosevelt not only as a man but as a great President. During his tenure as Vice President, Roosevelt contracted the disease poliomyelitis and became completely paralyzed. This was one of the greatest obstacles that he had to face in his life, but he quickly overcame this hurdle and worked diligently to establish a foundation known as the March of Dimes to help other polio victims. Eventually, an effective vaccination was introduced. Roosevelt had married a distant cousin, Anna Eleanor Roosevelt, who was able to provide much support in both his personal and political lives.
The United States at the time was going through a critical period and the American family was important to everyone. Having a supportive first lady Roosevelt quickly gained the admiration of many Americans. The Great Depression had been present for almost three years and FDR had his work cut out for him. He had used the Great Depression as the back drop of his Presidential campaign and when he took office, he quickly set out to reform the economy and “undertook immediate actions to initiate his New Deal. ”(fdrlibrary. marist. edu)
There were some critics, but the majority of Americans welcomed Roosevelt’s policies. He set up a special session of congress that lasted 100 days and was geared towards the passage of legislation that created the Agriculture Adjustment Administration, to support farm prices, and the Civilian Conversation Corps, to employ young men. The country was faced with an unemployment rate of 30%, but FDR’s efforts proved his compassion for the American people and his empathy despite the fact of his privileged birth.
Roosevelt had gained extreme popularity with the American people and easily attained the Presidency for a second term. Roosevelt was faced with offense from the Supreme Court stating that some of his New Deal policies went against the principles of the United States Constitution. Roosevelt attempted to add new justices to the Supreme Court that would be more tolerant of his policies. “However, many even in his own party opposed him in this attempt to pack the court, and the Congress defeated it. ”(notablebiographies. com/Ro-Sc/Roosevelt-Franklin-D. html)
This developed a bitter rapport between FDR and Congress. But, despite this scarred relationship, FDR ran for a third term. “The presidential campaign of 1940 was the climax of Roosevelt’s plea that Americans set themselves against the Nazi threat. ”(notablebiographies. com/Ro-Sc/Roosevelt-Franklin-D. html) Roosevelt was certain that Adolf Hitler was a dangerous man who intended to conquer all of Europe. Americans remembered their disappointment after World War I, and there were many of them who leaned toward supporting the Germans rather than the group of countries known as the Allies.
The Allied force consisted of: Great Britain, France, and the Soviet Union. Roosevelt had to promise the American people that young Americans would not be sent overseas in battle. Roosevelt won the third election but very narrowly. Not long into the third presidential term the United States was attacked. “On December 7, 1941, the Japanese attacked the Pearl Harbor naval base in Hawaii, causing serious losses to American forces. ”(notablebiographies. com/Ro-Sc/Roosevelt-Franklin-D. html)
Four days later Germany and Italy declared war against the United States. Although Roosevelt had set out to engage the United States in the war, he now had no choice. The mood of the American people also quickly changed. Congress immediately “enacted a draft for military service and the “lend-lease” bill in March 1941 to enable the nation to furnish aid to nations at war with Germany and Italy. ”(fdrlibrary. marist. edu) The factories in the United States began producing as they had before the Great Depression.
Roosevelt worked diligently with his military advisors exercising his powers as Commander-in-Chief. On January 1, 1942, the “Grand Alliance” was created through a declaration of the United Nations. “The United States and its allies invaded North Africa in November 1942 and Sicily and Italy in 1943. The D-Day landings on the Normandy beaches in France, June 6, 1944, were followed by the allied invasion of Germany six months later. ”(americanhistory. about. com/od/franklinroosevelt/p/pfdroosevelt. htm)
In his third term as president, the Great Depression would come to an end, but FDR wanted to ensure that this devastation would not happen again. In 1934, he proposed a national social security system that, he hoped, would prevent another such depression. Citizens would never be without at least minimum incomes again, because the social security system (still used today) used money paid by employees and employers to provide support to those who were unemployed, retired, and disabled.
” (notablebiographies. com/Ro-Sc/Roosevelt-Franklin-D. html) Although Roosevelt had not actually fought in the war, he fought tremendously for it. By early 1944 Roosevelt had literally worn himself out. He won a fourth re-election easily, but because of his failing health, while vacationing in Warm Springs, Georgia, on April 12, 1945, he suffered a massive stroke and died. The United States, during Franklin Delano Roosevelt’s presidency, faced many similar situations that our county is once again facing.
Because of FDR’s compassion, strength, character, and perseverance, we were able to overcome those obstacles and become a stronger nation. I can only hope that our current leadership will use the past as a guide to steer their actions and, once again, lead our country to more prosperous times.
www. fdrlibrary. marist. edu www. americanhistory. about. com/od/franklinroosevelt/p/pfdroosevelt. htm www. notablebiographies. com/Ro-Sc/Roosevelt-Franklin-D. html http://www. whitehouse. gov/about/presidents/franklindroosevelt/ http://www. fdr. net/