Franklin Delano Roosevelt: from Polio, to the Inauguration, to the First New Deal

Only available on StudyMode
  • Download(s) : 338
  • Published : February 14, 2012
Open Document
Text Preview
Franklin Delano Roosevelt is considered by many to be one of the greatest American Presidents of all time. He was a man challenged by one of the most tumultuous times in American history. Roosevelt’s first one hundred days as president were unprecedented and still serve as a measuring stick for American Presidents today. Roosevelt’s story is quite impressive. This essay will cover Franklin Roosevelt from his polio diagnosis to his first 100 days, with an emphasis on his Inauguration and the first New Deal. Franklin Delano Roosevelt burst on to the political scene in 1920 as a vice presidential candidate on James Cox’s ticket. Despite losing the 1920 election, Roosevelt constructed a strong political base. In 1921 Roosevelt was diagnosed with Polio. Before his diagnosis, Roosevelt was only familiar with the privilege and contentment of the upper-class life in which he was born. Instead of giving up and surrendering to this horrible disease, he fought tirelessly to strengthen his body and mind. It is evident that FDR’s struggle against Polio showed him what it meant to endure pain and hardship, feelings that were common amongst the majority of Americans. At the same time, FDR and his political companions were attempting to keep his disease a secret, for it could possibly prove to ruin his career. This is where Eleanor and Louis Howe came into play. They both kept his name alive in the political arena, with Howe acting as his political liaison with Democratic leaders. Eleanor attended political rallies, social affairs, speeches, and reported back to Roosevelt with important issues. His return to politics began with his relationship with Al Smith, whose political connections made his election of governor possible. During his governorship of New York, he demonstrated his progressive ideals by supporting tax relief for farmers, conservation, cheap electricity, and reforestation. When Roosevelt won the democratic nomination in 1932 he began to speak publicly of Herbert Hoover. He felt Hoover was a reckless spender who concentrated too much power in Washington. Republicans: Harding, Coolidge, and Hoover controlled the Presidency all throughout the 1920’s, but in 1932, FDR won the election over Hoover in a landslide. The great depression called for a leader with great strength. A leader who had seen adversity—just as the American public had seen through the depression. A leader who understood struggle, but never gave up. On March 4, 1933, Franklin Delano Roosevelt took his oath of office in front of Chief Justice, Charles Evans Hughes and used the radio to address the American public about his New Deal plan. The new president’s “fear” speech is one of the most recognizable Presidential Inauguration speeches1—along with Kennedy’s “ask what you can do for your country” speech2—and was done at a time before Roosevelt was considered in such high regard. On that fateful Saturday, the American public gained some insight into the strong, motivating, innovative person who would become the only American President to serve more than two terms. Roosevelt’s most famous quote came from this inaugural speech—“So, first of all, let me assert my firm belief that the only thing we have to fear is fear itself.”1 He, of course, was talking about the abysmal state of the economy. On October 29, 1929, better known as Black Tuesday, the stock market crashed sending America into, arguably, its most devastating time period. Throughout the following two months, the stock market lost 40% of its value. “This great nation will endure as it has endured, will revive and prosper,” proclaims Roosevelt. “In every dark hour of our national life, a leadership of frankness and vigor has met with that understanding and support of the people themselves which is essential to victory”.1 Roosevelt made an earnest attempt to instill hope for the future. Another point Roosevelt was attempting to illustrate was that in order to get the economy functioning properly,...
tracking img