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The Success Of Franklin Roosevelt Essay

2144 words - 9 pages

The Success of Franklin Roosevelt

Franklin Delano Roosevelt was President of the USA during a period
encompassed two of the most significant events of recent history- the
American Depression and the Second World War. In this essay we will
look at the qualities that made FDR such a notable President; we will
also examine some of the circumstances surrounding the Presidency to
discover if perhaps that also had an impact on perceptions of both the
man and his Presidency.

We will also be looking at Eleanor Roosevelt, his wife and one of his
strongest political assets. Eleanor’s terms in the White House formed
a bridge between the First Ladies of the past, where domesticity and
duty to family were the main requirements, and modern day First
Ladies such as Hilary Clinton who have successful careers and
ambitions of their own. We will Eleanor’s role as First Lady, whether
it changed over the twelve years her Husband was in office, and how
(and whether) she redefined it.

Franklin Delano Roosevelt was in many ways fortunate to inherit a
country desperate for a leader. Herbert Hoover, President 1929 -1932,
was a straight laced, prohibition supporting President who favoured
the Laissez Faire approach to governing the country. He took up
office at a time when America was complacent over it’s economic
future, and did not regard economic policy as of major importance in
the elections. He did have a humanitarian side, having been President
of the American Citizens’ Relief Committee in London during the war
(Peter Clements, Access to History). However, he lacked the
imagination and flexibility to cope with the demands placed upon him
by the Great Depression.

Roosevelt, however, was created differently. Always photographed in
possession of a warm smile, he gave the impression he was happy and
confident of a successful future. “Even through the grainy newsreels
we can see what people at the time saw: the radiant smile, the eyes
flashing with good humour, the cigarette holder held at a jaunty
angle, the good natured toss of the head, the buoyant optimism and the
serene confidence with which he met economic catastrophe and
international crises”. (Time Magazine, Person Of The Century). In
fact, this confidence was probably hard won from his own personal
fights against the effects of poliomyelitis. At the age of 39,
Roosevelt became a paraplegic. However, where many would have simply
accepted their fate, he either had or developed the resilience and
optimism to spend seven years of his life undertaking gruelling
physiotherapy, a course he only gave up in order to accept the
nomination for Governor of New York (www. Whitehouse. Gov). Eleanor
referred to the period as his ‘trial by fire’ (Time Magazine Person Of
The Century). It may be the greatest irony of Roosevelt’s...

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