Franklin D. Roosevelt: a Great American Leader

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Franklin D. Roosevelt: A Great American Leader
Kevin J. Keller
Edison State College

Abstract
I have chosen to focus my research on Franklin Delano Roosevelt, the 32nd president of the United States of America. I feel that Franklin D. Roosevelt provides an excellent example of everything that a leader should be. Arguably one of the greatest presidents in United States history, Franklin D. Roosevelt is the only American president to be elected to four terms. In this paper I will discuss the history of Roosevelt’s life prior to him initially being elected president in 1932. I will discuss the traits, motives, and characteristics that inspired Roosevelt to be an effective leader, along with his behaviors, attitudes, and leadership style. I will describe Roosevelt as a transformational leader and I will explain my reasoning for doing so. I will also discuss the contingency approach to leadership, and I will explain how it relates to Roosevelt. I will proceed to discuss Roosevelt’s ethics as a leader, as well as his approach to power. I will give examples of the ways that Roosevelt was capable of motivating those around him, and inspiring them to work as a team. I will then conclude with a summary of Roosevelt’s leadership style and I will explain how his style compares to my own.

Franklin D. Roosevelt: A Great American Leader
Franklin Delano Roosevelt was the 32nd president of the United States of America. He is one of the most influential leaders in not only American history, but in the history of the modern world. Franklin D. Roosevelt is the only United States president to have been elected to four terms. During his time in office, Roosevelt presided over two of the most significant events of the twentieth century, the Great Depression and World War II, successfully leading our country out of each. Roosevelt is responsible for creating the New Deal and the United Nations, both of which have had significant, lasting effects on our world to this day. Roosevelt was able to bridge differences between individuals both at home and abroad due to his ability to relate to others, and he was able to use this ability to lead and inspire not only the citizens of the United States, but people all across the globe.

Franklin D. Roosevelt was born in Dutchess County, New York on January 30, 1882; the only child of James Roosevelt and Sara Delano. He grew up in a wealthy family, where he lived a somewhat sheltered life, in comparison to his peers. His family raised him with the intentions of having him follow in the footsteps of his father; living the life of a landowner and gentlemen (Brinkley, 2000). Through his upbringing, Franklin Roosevelt developed many of the traits that contributed to his success as a leader; traits such as warmth, authenticity, and trustworthiness.

In 1891, James Roosevelt fell victim to the first of what would become multiple heart attacks, which left him as a semi-invalid (Brinkley, 2000). Instead of allowing for these events to affect him in a visible manner, Franklin chose to project a strong appearance for the sake of his parents. This ability to remain calm in troubling times is one that Franklin Roosevelt would turn to many times over throughout his presidential career (Brinkley, 2000).

In 1896, Franklin left the comforts of his home and his family, and went off to attend Groton, a rigorous private school in Massachusetts. This would be the first time that Franklin would be away from his family (Brinkley, 2000). Being that Franklin had no experience as far as being social was concerned, he found it difficult to assimilate with those around him, and spent much of his time at Groton as somewhat of a loner (Brinkley, 2000).

After graduating from Groton, Franklin Roosevelt went on to continue his studies at Harvard University. While here, Franklin made it his goal to overcome his social shortcomings, and found great success in doing so, running for class office and becoming...
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