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Franklin Delano Roosevelt Essay (Biography)

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Updated: Jun 1st, 2022

Family background

Franklin Delano Roosevelt was born in a wealthy family and married his wife Eleanor who also came from a rich family. He attended Groton School in Massachusetts which was populated with students from rich families (Feinberg 56). Roosevelt learned most of his good temperaments from his headmaster whom he highly regarded. In 1903, he was admitted to Harvard College where he graduated with an A.B. in history (Davis 53). He later received an honorary LL.D from the same college in 1929. His academic pursuit was impressive and he is recorded to have joined the Columbia law school in 1904 although he dropped out three years later.

On March 17, 1905, he married his wife Eleanor whom he met while in college although his mother was opposed to his decision to marry her (Goodwin 62). They had six children: Anna Eleanor, James, Franklin Delano, Elliot, and John Aspinwall. Like many other presidents who came after Roosevelt, his term in office was full of scandals regarding his infidelity and unsteady marriage (Lash 45). However, his situation was quite different because very little was known about his marital problems. It was later established that his wife had offered him a divorce although it never sufficed (Roosevelt 40).

Military service

His ambition to create a bigger and stronger Navy when he served as an assistant secretary in the Navy was incredible. He founded the United States Navy reserve and mobilized budgetary approval from the congressional leadership (Feinberg 57). His leadership gained credit since no single strike occurred during the seven years he served in the navy (Lash 46). However, he had his share of scandalous events with the major one being the Newport sex scandal that caused great damage to his reputation as well as political ambitions.

The economic depression

Roosevelt ruled the United States of America from 1933-1945 as the 32nd president (McJimsey 33). His credits as a leader are tied to his successful leadership amidst the alarming economic depression that was a challenge to his administration. His popularity is further proved by the fact that he is the only president in the history of America to have been elected for more than two terms (Feinberg 22). His twelfth year rule is both historic and iconic. His political achievements, however, do not end with his unique three terms in office. He was also credited for putting together a coalition that dominated and shaped the American political arena for years even after leaving office (Feinberg 23).

Winning against Hoover

FDR as he was popularly called won the election defeating the incumbent republican Herbert Hoover at the climax of the 1932 great economic depression (Schewe 9). His optimistic character and a relentless spirit were the most notable contributors to his success and popularity. He had proudly recovered from a paralytic illness and his victory formed the basis of the national spirit (Schewe 9). Roosevelt’s close allies included the famous Winston Churchill and Joseph Stalin who were very helpful to his administration especially during the World War II.

His unique leadership qualities began to proliferate in the first hundred days in office as the United States’ president. In less than four months, Roosevelt had already put in place executive orders that gave way for the creation of government jobs (McJimsey). In the same period, economic recovery policies were implemented and the economy begun to recover (Feinberg 11). His active involvement in creating a better economy and a strong nation in terms of military defense bestowed immense popularity upon him and his administration.

It is crucial to lay emphasis on the events surrounding Roosevelt’s terms in office. First and foremost, he led the country during a time of war and took the reins of power at the peak of an economic breakdown. Nonetheless, his skills in leadership gave him an upper hand and he always won against his challenges. For instance, in his first term in office, the economy was rapidly growing. Some of the programs formed by his government, such as the Federal Deposit Insurance Corporation, exist to date (McJimsey 112). Others include the Social Security which was passed during his third year in office (Feinberg 10).

Second World War

During the World War II, Roosevelt’s administration was very instrumental in providing financial and diplomatic aid to allies (Nixon and Delano 34). He intended to make the American government an ‘Arsenal of Democracy’ and his decision enjoyed great national support (Schewe 12). During the war, his notable involvement was his financial support for his allies. His military knowledge saw a successful implementation of a war strategy that led to the defeat of the Axis powers not to mention the development of the first world’s atomic bomb (Schewe 15).

His records on employment policies during his administration had a superior influence on the electorate (Black 79). The Works Progress administration alone created employment for two million families reducing the employment rate from 20.6% to about 12.5% (Black 79). This was a significant drop in the unemployment rate and was a very good move which improved his rating as a president who delivered. The social security policy gave the elderly a reason to smile by providing economic security for them. These are just a few of the great thing Roosevelt achieved during his rein in power.

Works Cited

Bardhan-Quallen, Sudipta. Franklin D. Roosevelt: Our National Hero. New York, NY: Sterling, 2007. Print.

Black, Conrad. Franklin Delano Roosevelt: Champion of Freedom. New York, NY: Public Affairs, 2003. Print.

Davis, Kenneth. FDR: The Beckoning of Destiny, 1882-1928. New York, NY: Putnam, 1973. Print.

Feinberg, Barbara Silberdick. Franklin D. Roosevelt: America’s 32nd President. New York, NY: Children’s Press, 2005. Print.

Goodwin, Doris Kearns. No Ordinary Time: Franklin and Eleanor Roosevelt: The Home Front in World War II, New York, NY: Simon & Schuster, 1994. Print.

Lash, Joseph. Eleanor, and Franklin: The Story of Their Relationship, Based on Eleanor Roosevelt’s Private Papers. New York, NY: Norton, 1971. Print.

McJimsey, George. The Presidency of Franklin Delano Roosevelt. Lawrence: University Press of Kansas, 2000. Harness, Cheryl. Franklin & Eleanor. New York, NY: Dutton Children’s Books, 2004. Print.

Nixon, Edgar, and Franklin Delano. Roosevelt and Foreign Affairs, Cambridge, Mass: Belknap Press of Harvard University Press, 1969. Print.

Roosevelt, Elliott. His Personal Letters, New York: Duell, Sloan, and Pearce, 1950. Print.

Schewe, Donald. Franklin D. Roosevelt, and Foreign Affairs, January 1937-August 1939, New York: Garland, 1983. Print.

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