FDR's Influence on America
By; Alec Parkin
Franklin Roosevelt Thesis
Franklin Roosevelt was president for an astonishing twelve years, even though he had a physical disability. During these times he led America through tough times like The Great Depression and the Pearl Harbor attack. Also during these times he gave America hope by using influential speeches and the administrations he created.
Roosevelt grew up in a atmosphere of privilege. After being educated at home by private tutors, he entered Groton, an elite private school in Massachusetts in 1896. Endicott Peabody the head of the school, became a important influence in FDR's life giving him a strong sense of responsibility.
Franklin had a distant cousin, Theodore Roosevelt, who Franklin greatly admired and went on to emulate in his political career. Also, reportedly when James Roosevelt went to visit Grover Cleveland in the White House the busy president told Franklin "I have one wish for you,that you will never be president of the United States."
But FDR's whole life was not all work, for fun he learned to shoot, ride, play polo, and lawn tennis.
Polio Strikes Franklin
It's no secret FDR's family was wealthy. So Franklin spent his summers at his family's luxury Campobello Island cottage, purchased by his parents. But what does this have to do with FDR and his physical disability?
Campobello is where FDR was stricken with paralysis. No one is sure of the circumstance leading to the contraction of his polio but many believe it was because of a virus he conducted at boy scout camp just before going to Campobello.
There were many events leading up to his diagnosis. FDR was enjoying a sailing on his yacht and suddenly fell overboard into icy waters which ironically felt paralyzing to his body. Then, the next day Franklin complained of pain in his lower back so he went for a swim to hopefully ease his pain but he had no luck. He could feel his legs becoming weaker and by the third day he couldn't even hold his own weight. the issue became so bad his skin was in distress even when a breeze struck it.
FDR found it was official that he had polio when he went to Presbyterian Hospital. Sadly this would effect FDR for the rest of his life.
FDR as the Govenor of New York
But after Smith talked with Eleanor, Franklin's wife, she encouraged him to jump in the election. So, after his Democratic Party Nomination Roosevelt was officially in the race! Knowing his health might become a issue FDR still conducted on the the most successful and vigorous races of his entire political career.
Town after town, Roosevelt hammered away at his opponent, whenever possible he would do it standing up. This was not easy for Roosevelt, he had to lock in steel braces to his legs and firmly grip the arm of a chair and then acting tall and strong he would ask the public to come to a conclusion about his health.
Wow! This must have worked because Roosevelt and the Democrats won the election by a colossal landslide. Franklin not only won Governorship but also the administration of National Democratic Party leadership,who targeted FDR as a possible President candidate of 1932.
1932 FDR's Big Year
The Democratic campaign was based on an all out attack on Hoover's failures and the incumbent president was hard pressed to protect himself. FDR blamed the Depression on Hoover and his policies, Prohibition was also a favorite Democratic target as few Republicans tried to defend it. There was a significant demand to end Prohibition and bring back alcohol. These main issues helped FDR to win the election in 1932.
FDR's Big Plan: The New Deal
The term "New Deal" was coined during Roosevelt's 1932 Democratic Presidential nomination acceptance speech when he said,"I pledge you, I pledge myself, to a New Deal for the American people." FDR narrowed the New Deal down to Relief, Recovery and Reform programs to help Americans and the economy.
FDR also established the WPA, the Works Progress Administration, which put millions of Americans back to work building roads, bridges and public buildings. FDR also created Social Security which made sure elderly Americans have some money during retirement.
The Plans: Social Security and W.P.A
The W.P.A: The W.P.A was established in 1933 and stood for Worker Progress Administration.it was made to make the unemployed, employed workers and also to give them money while working. From its advent in 1933, the W.P.A employed most workers in construction, but it also employed some women workers in sewing rooms which almost every town had. The W.P.A employed more than 8.5 million on more than 1.4 public projects.
Round Two : 1936
Roosevelt was heavily favored because people thought he would continue to improve the economy and lower the unemployment as he did after his first term. The nation was persuaded "to move forward with Roosevelt".
Round Three: 1940
War Breaks Out
But then on the morning of December 7, 1941 the Japanese struck the U.S. naval base of Pearl Harbor knocking out the the main American battleship fleet and killing 2,403 American servicemen and civilians. then America declared war for days later Italy and Germany declared war on the U.S. and Roosevelt made his declaration of war speech stating, "December 7, 1941 a date that will live in infamy..."
The Fireside Chats
Roosevelt was not sitting at the fireside delivering the chats but he was sitting at his White house desk that was covered in microphones! Harry Butcher of CBS News came up with the name "Fireside Chat" on a release to the press before a speech in May 7,1933 and the name stuck. Roosevelt usually started the chats with a intro like "Hello friends" and he referred to himself by saying "I" and the people as "you", as if he was talking to the person face-to -face. Also at the end of a speech he would play the Star Spangled Banner displaying the talk was a patriotic message. Finally, he would appeal to god trying to make the American people face their problems with patience.
So through the Depression and war the fireside chats boosted moral and confidence (also Roosevelt approval rates), and without a doubt contributed to Roosevelt's election wins.
The Final Round: 1944
During the campaign it was a rumored FDR suffered a stroke and that Franklin could not make it to office even if he did win. Dewey however was often considered humorless and prim, because he did not shake hands with the crowd or kiss babies heads. Even though Roosevelt was considered a walking dead man, he was able to win reelection in 1944.
A Life Is Lost
It was about 1 p.m. that the President suddenly complained of a terrific pain in the back of his head and collapsed unconscious. One of the women summoned a doctor, who immediately recognized the symptoms of a massive cerebral hemorrhage and gave the president a shot of adrenaline into the heart in a vain attempt to revive him. Shoumatoff quickly left the house, expecting FDR’s family to arrive as soon as word got out. Another doctor phoned First Lady Eleanor Roosevelt in Washington D.C., informing her that FDR had fainted. She told the doctor she would travel to Georgia that evening after a scheduled speaking engagement. By 3:30 p.m., though, doctors in Warm Springs had pronounced the president dead.
The Influence Of Greatness
Why I Chose FDR
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Hallofgovernors.ny.gPolio: Franklin D. Roosevelt." NMAH | Polio: Franklin D. Roosevelt. N.p., n.d. Web. 09 Apr. 2015. ov." Hallofgovernors.ny.gov. N.p., n.d. Web. 09 Apr. 2015.