Life Of Franklin D. Roosevelt Essay, Research Paper
Franklin D. Roosevelt served longer than any other president of the United States. He held office from 1933 until his death in 1945, at the beginning of his fourth term. During his presidency he led the United States through two great crises; the great depression of the 1930 s and World War II. FDR is considered the greatest president the U.S.A. ever had.
FDR had a very easy early life. He was born on January 30, 1882 in Hyde Park, New York. He was born into a well to do, family of three. James, his father, was a well-to-do investor and the vice president of a small railroad company. His mother, Sarah came from a rich New England family. (Hickok 1-7)
A governess taught Franklin until he was fourteen, then he entered Groton School in Massachusetts. When he graduated from Groton he then went to Harvard to study law where he was chief editor of the school newspaper. He finished Harvard in 1904 and then he went to Columbia Law School. He studied there until he passed his bar exam and then he quit. In this time he met a woman who was his distant cousin. Her name was Eleanor and they fell in love. The got married in 1905. (Rawcliffe 11-13)
Franklin got involved in politics when he was 28 in 1910. Even though hopes were dim Democratic leaders persuade him to run. Luckily the Republican vote was split that year and Roosevelt won a State senate seat. Roosevelt supported Wilson for the Presidential nomination in 1912 so when Wilson won in 1913 he appointed FDR Assistant Secretary of the Navy. Many thought that Roosevelt was a bad choice because he seemed too unpredictable but he served as a successful administrator during WWI. In 1920, at age 38 he won the Democratic nomination for Vice President to run with James Cox. The campaign was a terrible loss. Warren G. Harding won in a landslide victory. (Sullivan 22-29)
After the loss to Harding, Roosevelt went into private business to pass the time. In the summer of 1921, while vacationing at Campobello Island in Canada, he was suddenly stricken with polio. The disease crippled him from the waist down. It seemed as though he was done with politics but his wife Eleanor kept him in politics by making appearances for him. Despite illness Roosevelt remained a dominant figure in the Democratic Party.
In 1928 FDR ran for governor of New York and won by a narrow margin. In 1930 he was re-elected by an overwhelming majority, which made him the leading candidate for the Presidential race of 1932. In the 1932 campaign the Great depression overshadowed all other issues. Roosevelt promised the Americans a new deal and the people took it. Roosevelt won by an astounding 7 million votes. (Hickok 118-129)
Conditions got steadily worst from his election to his inauguration in March of 1933. Thousands of banks failed, a quarter of the nations wage earners were unemployed and farmers were desperate because of low priced crops.
Roosevelt s first step was to close all banks to prevent any further collapse and he called congress to pass emergency legislation. Most banks were opened a few days later and the FDIC (Federal Deposit Insurance Corporation) was established to insure deposits and people s savings.
During the first one hundred days FDR presented a wide variety of legislation that was known as the first New Deal program. This program contained reforms such as the TVA (Tennessee Valley Authority) that provided flood control, cheap electricity and better use of land for the poor valley region. The Civilian Conservation Corps was established to provide young men with jobs in forest conservation and road construction. For the most part early measures like these were to bring immediate relief. Other notable programs were the Agriculture Adjustment Act, which brought much needed relief to farmers, and the National Industrial Recovery act of 1933, which aided business and labor.
Although these acts helped, employment was still high. In 1935 Roosevelt passed the WPA or the Works Progress Administration a large scale work program, the Revenue Act which taxed the rich even more and the Public Utility Holding Company act, which restricted gas and electric utilities but the most important of all these was the Social Security Act which does many things. (Rawcliffe 46-47)
In the 1936 Presidential election Roosevelt demolished Republican candidate Alfred M. Landon sweeping every state except for Maine and Vermont. In 1937 the prosperity levels of the U.S. were at their highest in a decade. In 1938 Roosevelt passed the Fair Labor Standards Act that set up our first minimum wage and maximum hours plus it abolished child labor.
When WWII started he wished to remain neutral, although he secretly sent munitions to England and France. He tried to keep it a secret because he didn t want to risk further involvement.
FDR swept the election in 1940 over Wendle Willkie and passed the Lend-Lease Act in 1941, which enabled the U.S. to supply Britain with more weapons. On December 7, 1941 the U.S. was drawn into war when Japan attacked Pearl Harbor. The next day we declared war on Japan. During the war Roosevelt helped plan major offensives and converted the U.S. into wartime production. (Rawcliffe 56-68)
In 1944 a thin and weak Roosevelt crushed Thomas E. Dewy by 4 million votes in the Presidential election. After he returned from the Yalta Conference he went to Warm Springs, Georgia to rest ( New Book 8). On April 12, 1945 he died of a cerebral hemerage only a month before the end of WWII.
FDR is considered the greatest president the U.S.A. ever had. His legislation changed our whole country. Without the New Deal programs our country could still be in poverty today. He also guided us through a world war, which saved Europe from German defeat. He is also the only president to be elected more than twice, he was elected four times. In all, Roosevelt was a great man whose great ideas saved a country from collapse.